Money and time. The ever-coveted duo that ever appears to lack in supply. Seems like in modern times, if we are lucky to have one, it is close to impossible to have the other. It’s either working ungodly hours to afford a luxurious lifestyle with hardly any time left to enjoy it, or not having enough work to do, watching long days pass by in a state of deprivation. Often times, both are lacking, we work ourselves to death for meager paychecks. Very rarely, both are in abundance, but even then, as numerous studies show, people are not as happy as those of us less fortunate to inhabit palaces would think. Past a certain level, it does not make a difference anymore; in fact some people get more unhappy because now they need to spend their precious time managing all the wealth they’ve accumulated.
I’ve been caught up in the clock-cash flow trepidation at numerous junctions. Coming to live in the U.S. at the age of seventeen and barely speaking the language, I thought I was ahead of my peers who stayed back in my home country and had by far less opportunities. Only later did I start to see that in fact I was the one lagging behind. True, I graduated early (had to in order to continue my education in the New World), drove a nice car and had a fancy job, but when they started sharing pictures from their weddings followed by uploads of smiling babies, I felt I was eons behind, a blow below the belt to an over-achiever like myself. That sense only magnified when I decided to write my first book. I clearly saw the shortages I was up against, English being my second language. Obstacles were springing up like weeds in my path, but I chose to persevere, regardless of the odds.
Because, you see, once I decided to jump in headfirst, and strip myself naked on the paper, everything started to change. The fact that I was childless and single and didn’t drive the newest model of a BMW no longer mattered. What mattered was the keen sense of hopping on the right train, and finding what Paulo Coelho calls, my personal legend. The world became a playground, life turned into a lurid spectacle, and each day was a feast to the senses, regardless of how much cash I had in my pocket. It also didn’t matter if it was 2001 or 2021. I was on a mission to deliver a message to my people, even though I had no clue what that message was or where those people were. All I had was a feeling. But knowing that there was something unique dwelling within me that I came here to express, gave me enough sustenance to take the next step.
I believe this story of finding your mission to be an old archetype that transcends age, gender and geography. We all have a unique voice and hands with which to find the Ariadne’s thread that will lead us to the treasure in the core of the maze, even if it seems that we’re lost and the world is going to hell. Our only obligation is to discover what that is, and thus realize our destiny, one tiny step at a time.
“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell.
It’s been a long road of facing many fears and tirelessly persisting, one that often felt like swimming upstream. But I’m sure that it was thanks to the grit and hardship that I had to face each day, that allowed me to build the strength to climb that mountain. (Dr. Angela Duckworth gave a great TED talk about the power of grit.) Trust me, I know I have a long way to go, but it just feels so refreshing, like enjoying a glass of spring water after running a marathon, to stop here and there, take in the view and celebrate my small successes along the way.
So are time and money really as limited as the world makes us believe? Or have we merely taken on a scarcity point of view, one of many out there, that can be quickly switched like choosing new wardrobe? Because if we move away for a moment from thinking in terms of what may be passing and lacking, and connect with that throbbing sense of uniqueness within us that yearns to be conveyed—be it the quickening pulse of an entrepreneur coming upon a new idea, a vision of a filmmaker or an life-saving epiphany of a medic—that feeling alone has the power to transcend the meaning of figures on bank notes and digits on calendars. Thus money and time become secondary, their inflated rank shrinking in the face of a grand vision.
When we do what we were born to do, all barriers melt away, time stops and we are all millionaires. The inner shift begets the reorganization of the world on outside. As elegantly stated by Dr. Wayne Dyer: when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Resistance evaporates and the glaring truth stares us in the face. There is only this journey, a present moment fecund with endless possibility; a new beginning, a place of self-honoring, a holy commencement. There are no obstacles to realizing our dream. All along, the seemingly insurmountable hurdles were nothing more than figments of our own imagination.