Some people are good at math and know it like their own skin. They memorize theories and can solve problems in seconds. If you open any math book, you feel the writer’s love of numbers and it’s as if they have their own language.
I had no idea the degree of non-textbook math books available and the extent that these authors leisurely enjoy numbers for sport. People that love numbers are just as prominent as people that love words, foreign languages, and sports.
Football is on every weekend—with exciting playoffs this time of year and which college teams are leading in the polls. Math doesn’t get as much coverage.
The love of problem solving, geometry, or physics stays with some people their entire life. While you might have a favorite book on your bedside table by Hermann Hesse or Paulo Coelho, a textbook might be on theirs. It’s what makes you happy.
Whatever it is that lights a fire inside you: poetry, science, math, music, wildlife, foreign language… it doesn’t matter. My friend Jim worked at NASA his entire career, and when he retired, he became a hiking and bird expert. His enthusiasm is so contagious and inspiring. He hikes almost everyday and takes beautiful photos of interesting wildlife.
He’ll send emails with attachments of the lovely creatures he’s captured on film, along with an explanation. I always look forward to my inbox because I know something delightful will be there. It’s a beautiful thing.
My friends that play an instrument and share their music, or those who love cooking and give away their recipes, are just as interesting to me because they’re doing what they love.
I was talking to my friend Jody about art. He’s been playing piano since he was six years old and is the most fantastic and expressive piano player I’ve ever met. He’s always had beautiful conditions in which to play and to be himself.
We touched on the fact that people are often worried about how they’ll pay for daycare, their rent, or their car payment to have the energy or the time to enjoy a hobby or creative pastime. Life gets busy and you gotta make ends meet.
So many things go by the wayside when you’re focused on keeping your kids, your house, your relationships or your career afloat. Spending time on anything unnecessary for everyday survival is just not practical. And if you’ve experienced a trauma, like a loss or an illness, how do you move past survival mode and learn to embrace life again?
An often overlooked and incredibly important aspect of finding what pushes your buttons is the need to be well.
It’s not easy to explore, learn about and enjoy the world around you if you’re not strong and healthy. Part of getting out of survival mode means having time to yourself. You have to create this in any way that you can.
The most simple way you can do this is by taking care of your body. Eat well. Get plenty of sleep every night. Exercise every day. When the environment you live in, and your body’s wellness align, it will become effortless for you to do what you love.
As my son John explained, he always swam because he did it for swim team. It was his “sport”. But when he started running, the building process made him feel better. Every day he would add more distance, and therefore gain strength and endurance. The more he ran, the more he loved it.
Swimming was to stay in shape. Running gave his life shape.
We don’t plan for illness, injuries or stress. And when they catch us by surprise, they can dramatically change our lives.
Serious exercise played a big part in my health and recovery after being diagnosed with celiac disease, as well as writing poetry. I didn’t realize it at the time, but while I was building muscle and physical strength, I was creating emotional fitness. I was using art as therapy. I was healing.
True healing is not waiting for time to heal. It’s creating the environment where healing takes place.
When you have a hobby or job that is part of your internal being and natural God-given abilities, it’s evident by your peace. We need health and wellness to build up our emotional strength so we can be open to inspiration—and therefore tap into our gifts.
“Art is one resource that can lead us back to a more accurate assessment of what is valuable by working against habit and inviting us to recalibrate what we admire or love.” (Art As Therapy, Alain de Botton and John Armstrong)
The beauty of art—whether it be poetry, painting, dancing, music or mathematics—lies in the process. We enrich our lives by opening up the power of our imagination to discover our own insights and resilience through creative problem solving and self-awareness.
Your fiction, your nonfiction
No need for anything radical
Explore your variables
Find a common denominator and throw it out
TO THE UNIVERSE
Watch it unfold
The sum of your words
Coordinate and factor in
It’s a plus. Expand.
x + y = z
To be you
To infinity and beyond
Your pure imaginary numbers
And let your soul fly
I believe in you. ~ jet