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Gifts and Limitations: the Stuff of Dreams

By KM Huber

In a recent morning meditation from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, he offered a story about his years of playing high school and college basketball. I know Nepo’s work as a poet and philosopher–easily, he is one of the most readable spiritual writers—I tried to envision this soft-spoken man hustling down the basketball court at any age but the image would not stay.

Seems it was not an image that would stay for him either, ultimately. “My gifts were enough to hide my limitations” is how he summed up the demise of his dream of a basketball career.

I, too, have known career dreams. In the late ‘80s, I interviewed for a library cataloger position that I was sure was the ultimate job for me. The library director’s impression of my resume was, “You’ve had many positions that most people would consider careers.”
KMHuberImage; library

Forever naïve, I welcomed her comment as a compliment, freely admitting how wonderful it was to experience as many careers as possible. Not only did I miss her point but I’m not sure that I fully appreciated my own response until I read Nepo’s sentence.

In other words, my gifts were sufficient to let my heart go elsewhere.

The ability to enjoy more than one career seems to be much more accepted in the 21st century. In fact, it may be a necessity. Regardless, there is an emerging awareness that exploring our gifts to their fullest allows us to let go of the dreams that are mere moments of brightness for the one light that is ours alone.

I have been incredibly fortunate in my work as a journalist/editor, a college writing instructor, an administrator and in between, I worked clerical jobs that taught me the immense importance of detail.

For as long as I can remember, writing was in my heart but I never had the courage to claim it. I believed one secured a job to support one’s writing, which wasn’t working out too well for me. Never did I consider “the succession of life’s trials is precisely the unfolding we need to find our bliss and rightful place in the order of things” (Nepo).

Not surprisingly, I did not get the cataloger position but later, I was hired as the branch librarian and went on to become the director of the library system. I loved those library years but I could not make them be my dream nor was I the library system’s dream, ultimately. We both looked elsewhere.

It is not that I have not considered my careers from time to time for I have. I am grateful for all that brought me to this moment, for all the unfolding of my gifts that gave me each dream until another dream emerged. I think it kept me curious.

What I never experienced in any of the dream jobs was the joy I experience every time I write. For me, there is nothing like it, and I am completely serious when I say that I come to the writing to find out what happens next. Whatever happens in the writing, I experience it. No longer clinging to what the writing may or may not be, the words and sentences open into the field of infinite possibilities where joy resides.

Every career brought me moments of happiness but never joy for I was clinging to dreams, which is very like trying to touch the wind.

“The truth is that what we want to dream of doesn’t always last. It tends to serve its purpose…and then fades away, losing its relevance. And we can do enormous damage to ourselves by insisting on carrying that which has died” (Nepo).

Only in pursuing our gifts do we meet our limitations, the stuff of dreams.

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KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.


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