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Vanyu Varma, Unsplash

What truly calls to us would have us go beyond the usual limits. In responding to the call we join the lineage of those who are burning with an inner fire; not simply fired up with the heat of ambition, but awakened to a dream and flame that flickers in one’s heart of hearts. A genuine calling further ignites the eternal spark originally carried into life by the soul and nothing can soothe that inner flame except that we fully respond and follow it through the world.”

- Michael Meade, “Fate and Destiny”

Joseph Campbell has said that we aren’t looking for meaning in life so much as intensity in living, a strong sense of being alive. I think I was in fact looking for that feeling of being alive when I was young, but meaning has become increasingly important as I’ve aged.

The problem in the world now is how to find either one.

Our lives are measured out and rationalized to an extent where passion and deep meaning seem to exist only in fairy tales. I searched in the arts, which is a good way to excite your mind and get your blood moving. I’m a person who can find a lot of substance to a life in the arts. You have to get below the surface of yourself to be any kind of artist.

Travel challenges my fixed notions of the world, too. I always feel I’m learning something when I’m in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar ways of living and communicating.

Reading introduces me to ideas I haven’t thought of myself. Naturally reaching out to the larger world through these ways helps. But then life itself seems to have ideas about what I need to learn because it keeps introducing me to new challenges, with no intention of stopping as far as I can see.

I don’t feel particularly wise or mature, but I’m glad I have had a life outside the norm. My thirty five year marriage has great meaning to me. Living in Mexico offers both beauty and surprises. Creating every day keeps deep parts of me awake. My life is full of beauty. It wasn’t always but it is now.

I recommend swimming against the current if you want to uncover what your soul desires. I recommend listening to your own counsel instead of the usual exhortations of a moribund culture. I recommend searching for both intensity and meaning. I recommend chasing beautiful ideas. Don’t be afraid of looking like a fool.

Being a success and having a lot of possessions may be more disappointing than you expect.

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