When we are young we often think that we are not as good as other people because of inclinations or characteristics that make us different. Those may well be the very characteristics that make you unique, the indicators of a contribution you can make, which will be different from anyone else.
There is a discussion about Grandma Moses in December Living Buddhism, the Guidance Series. She is a perfect example of someone following their own unique path. In her painting she painted what she knew and loved from her life raising children and running a farm. She didn’t compare herself with other people, but taught herself how to paint in a way which was completely different from other painters. She became famous in her old age.
A young man in my home Buddhist group likes to play music. He learned the saxophone in school. As he chanted year after year he has become more and more involved in music as an avocation. Now, he writes songs. He has pulled together a band, where he writes the parts for all the instruments. He plays for the Buddhist center. He is learning his third instrument and has branched out into playing in the community. He feels deeply satisfied, engaged with his music.
How Will You Find Which Path to Take?
You will have subtle inner promptings and interests that will pull you in one direction or another. Many people second guess these, feeling that since these may make them different that they are somehow suspect. But they are what allows you to make a contribution unlike anyone else.
What were you doing when you were your happiest? Were you following an interest, or did you discover you really enjoyed a type of volunteer work? Maybe a class got you hooked.
Notice what you have to have in life to find meaning. That may surprise you.
When I was in my thirties I tried different ways to make money, selling etc. But I couldn’t get into it. I discovered that I was happiest contributing to the growth and development of people. Without that there was no meaning in what I was doing. I found I could do that in a number of ways, teaching, being a mother, or being a counselor. With that realization my life began to assume focus. But it was after I started to chant when I was able to pull together my spirituality and my counseling skills to help people grow through my writing, I found my own niche.
My husband defines his purpose in life is to help people communicate their ideas. He has done that in many ways, through his photography, graphic design work and video.
You may find that when you connect with your direction that it doesn’t conform to what other people do. This may require you to free yourself from constraints that hold you back. Another challenge to chant about.
4 Steps to Finding Your Unique path
Note what you were doing when you were the happiest
Note what you need to have meaning in your life
Develop yourself in the ways that seem congenial and natural to you.
We are like the flowers in a garden. Each one is completely different from any other. All are beautiful with their own special contribution to make.
Chanting over time will move you onto the path particular to you. You will blossom in ways that will be very satisfying and fit you perfectly, as you pursue your abilities, and follow your tendencies and interests. It may not happen overnight. You might need to develop a skill or learn a craft. But it will happen.