To Follow Your Heart, or Not? That Is A Question…

I’ve decided to read more. It’s one way to up my game, infuse the old brain with some new ideas. Finishing a post has become an uphill climb of late, and I’m hoping others’ words will inspire me to make the ascent less arduous.


Also, I’m looking for an answer to a fairly elusive question and so must do some research along the way. The question in question is, “What makes a blog successful?” Hm.

It’s easy to see why topics like travel, food, or fashion, appeal. All gooduns. These blogs feed our fantasies. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want to visit exotic locales and look like Coco Chanel while doing so. And, we have to eat anyway so why not make it an event. Pictures and stories in these categories have the power to divert us from the mundanity of day-to-day life. They instruct us, show us what others do, or have done. I get it. If I change my focus to one of these, or better yet, combine them, maybe I can up my readership. Problem is, I don’t know much about any of them. Neither a foodie nor fashionista, my travel locations are far from exotic. Blah. In hindsight, I should have white boarded a vision before setting off on my blogareer.  All I can do is believe Muse will lead me in the right direction.

To that end, I’ve begun reading as a seeker. First up, a blog recommended by a friend. She really likes this particular writer so I checked him out.

At a glance, his blog is impressive. Diving in, I find he’s a thought provoking writer who deploys humour, his own art, and supportive quotes to create a readable and enjoyable blog. His overall view, however, on one particular article, triggered the crap out of me. Hm. I need to respond! Ah, sweet inspiration.

The post I read dissed a favourite motto and also impugned my experiences. The author contends following one’s heart is a crapshoot at best. His preference? Walk a safe, middle ground. We can, and certainly should, paint, write, sing and dance, but wait until we’re retired. They are not solid careers. Sound familiar?

J. K. Rowling is quoted midway into the blog to support his idea that those who follow their heart toward a career can experience terrible troubles and disappointments. True, she did find aspects of her success very difficult, but at no time has she stated she wanted to give up writing. On the contrary. No, using her as an example of a reason to follow the crowd is laughable.

So according to the author, it’s fun to paint or sing or write once the onerous task of supporting oneself is removed. Do the daily grind and secure yourself with the necessary trappings of hearth, home, and bank account, first. When it’s time to step away from the daily grind, then you can do the things that brought you pleasure when you were young. “Pragmatic juggling” is what he calls it, and I’m not buying what he’s selling.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ~ Martha Graham

As a dancer extraordinaire, Martha Graham’s impact on the craft is compared to “Picasso’s on painting, Stravinsky’s on music and Frank Lloyd Wright’s on architecture”, according to Internet sources. Born in 1894, her parents didn’t support her desire. She conceded, enrolling in a junior college, until her father’s death in 1914 when she felt free to follow her dream. Millions of us are thankful she switched directions, but, of course, we’re not all born with her talent. Or are we? Could it be we are all born with a “unique purpose”?


In fairness to Weiss, (John P., author of the blog) he is correct within a limited context. Plenty of folks live wonderfully full lives in the safety of “middle ground”.  I am not suggesting everyone should buck the system, incapable of stellar contributions unless they do. We can all bring wonderful things to light from wherever we are. Not everyone has to leap into the void. However, having done so, I cannot help but wonder if life, in general, wouldn’t be a more peaceful one if people were encouraged to delight in their passion. Furthermore, if trial and error were regarded as virtuous enterprises, we’d not be so quick to condemn people as failures for sidestepping the status quo. Instead, we would reward those who expand the boundaries of potential and possibility while they are doing it rather than after the fact.

Compromise can be soul-destroying. I did not follow my heart’s call and squandered several gifts and talents, as a result. For decades, my depression strengthened its grasp because my heart ached for what I was told I could not do. I don’t waste energy thinking “if only” too much anymore. I’m still here, you see, so l can make amends. As for the millions who remain committed to the system and find success within, I tip my hat but with an addendum. “Do not judge.” There are millions of others for whom concession led to suppression and whose spirits need freeing.

I’m grateful for the Martha Grahams of the world whose passions were not denied. The “Marthas” from every culture, every socio-economic background, every race, and creed are beacons. The list of those who have held to their vision and made manifest their imagination is a long one. The naysayers tell us how few “make it” and that the fight to succeed is hard won. I want to tell a different story, one that recounts tales of fortitude and tenacity so strong that currents appeared like magic to move them toward their goals. My stories speak of flowing along despite the negativity of others, of listening to the call of a heart and finding divinity in the sound. Steadfast, these seekers stay true to their gifts always saying “yes” instead of “no”.

“Someone said to me, ‘If fifty percent of the experts in Hollywood said you had no talent and should give up, what would you do?’ My answer was then and still is, ‘If a hundred percent told me that, all one hundred percent would be wrong’ ”. Marilyn Monroe.

My wish is that we seek the courage to feel deeply into our doubt with a desire to relinquish its hold on us. That doubt is fear and is a trickster. It tells us our failure is imminent, that possibilities are few, and that we are not good enough, talented enough –not worthy enough – to pursue our heart’s desire. It says, “You’ll end up with no pension, living on the street. You’ll have no security. You can’t buy a house or support a family with dreams.” These warnings may well be true. But, they might not be. Many have followed its advice only to end up with nothing in spite of best efforts. Doubt is a destroyer of hope and when believed, will not keep you safe. The heart, on the other hand, fears nothing and will guide you to safety. Every example – and there are too many to count – proves that to be true. And so now, I’m gonna go dance…


Until tomorrow…










2 thoughts on “To Follow Your Heart, or Not? That Is A Question…

  1. If artists never risked, there would be no art because risk-taking is part of the bargain. It might have been Rilke who said something like if you don’t HAVE to write, you’re not a writer. (If you write only to make money, you’re a crafts-person.) Artists never lose, since we send the essence of ourselves out into the universe we know, there to survive beyond us, perhaps. We face the end of life knowing we didn’t sell out for more STUFF. We did what we came here to do; we fed our souls first. If we find our audience and “succeed,” that’s gravy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frances Sullivan

    Ah, yes. Risk. And agree. It also leads me further into this discussion of security versus passion. Why is it acceptable to get up daily and do a job for money – one that can be stultifying – and yet expect no compensation for our art? Hm. I need to chew on this topic for a bit. I think I’ve confused readers with this post which suggests I’m missing something.


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