Fire and Ice

fire&iceIn yesterday’s post I rather leadingly asked whether I should pursue my passions first, rather than limiting that pursuit for whatever time remains after I’ve covered my expenses. I say “leadingly” because it’s quite clear which direction I’m leaning. Not surprisingly, discovering this has sparked a decidedly split reaction.

On the positive side, I observe the tell-tale excitement that indicates I’m headed toward something I truly want. Frankly, I’m sick of not looking forward to my life, to each coming day, with great eagerness. Sometimes I think I’d rather starve than not spend the bulk of my time doing things I thoroughly enjoy—and by “enjoy,” I don’t mean unrelenting fun or ease, but rather meaningfulness, something to which I’m thrilled to be giving my all. Basically, I want to be driven by fire, not force. I want my days saturated in gratitude and significance, not merely survived.

This is what I wrote about in my post The Fire Inside, about how passion is the driving force in learning at Sudbury schools (indeed, wherever natural curiosity isn’t inhibited). I’ll know I have the right sort of work when I can’t wait to get at it each day, when I’m always coming up with new things to experiment with or do. When the frustration as well as the joys are engaging, when I don’t have to struggle to be present, to stay with the work.

It’s gratifying to be reminded that I haven’t entirely lost touch with my intuition, that I can still navigate by my inner voice. Yet of course, the ghosts and demons of my conditioning aren’t about to give up so easily.

Really, these voices insist, what hubris to imagine you can support yourself through your writing. What makes you think that what you have to contribute to the Sudbury cause will inspire people to throw money in your direction?

As much as I don’t want to heed these doubts, it is true that I don’t quite know what I’m doing, that I’m venturing into uncharted territory. On a personal level, I’ve never run a business on my own. And while I’ve found plenty of freelancing jobs over the years, I’ve never managed to make a lot of money at it. On a Sudbury-wide level, the sort of collaborative and promotional work I have in mind is somewhat unprecedented, to the extent that some within the movement are skeptical of it, to say the least.

Too much time on the ice and I could go numb. On the other hand, with enough fire I should be able to melt that ice. I figure I have at least through the end of the coming school year—assuming I can stick to my bare-bones budget, and no extraordinary expenses arise—before I’d have to shift away from my passion-driven work and take up something, anything, that could give me full-time income (including the savings to eventually come back to this quest).

Ten months.

How exciting—in both the pleasant and chilling senses of the term.

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