Since starting to publicly share the very personal details of my life, more than a few people have asked me why I’m doing it. I believe their interest and curiosity is sincere, but I also think there's another question lying underneath their inquiry: what could possibly be motivating me to put myself out there in such a vulnerable way?
The truth is, I'm very driven to share my story - through songs, paintings, writings, and keynote speeches because I believe I’m not the only one who has struggled to come to terms with the events of their past. I strongly feel that by sharing my experiences, how I rose above my circumstances, and today chose to perceive them as empowerment tools rather than the opposite, just may help someone else know that they can do the same as well.
In short, I want to make my past experiences count for something. I don't want to have had gone through all of that without understanding the bigger meaning for my life. That pain 'accessory' if you will ...(I wore it like one for so many years).... can and will have an impact on others, if I am brave enough to share it. That is its reason; its purpose.
This answer may seem a bit egotistical, even lofty, at first glance. While success as a creative entrepreneur would be very nice and very welcomed (who wouldn’t like to make a living doing what they love?), making money is not what motivates me to create, or to share.
I want to make a difference.
I want my time on earth to count for something.
I want to leave something behind so future generations know I existed.
I want to make my life matter.
Isn't that what we all want? Don’t you want to have a purpose? To matter? But how do you measure your level of ‘matter-ness’? How do you know if you’re on target?
For a lot of the population, I'm guessing the answer to these questions may relate to having children because without you being here, neither would they. I totally get that, but what about those of us who never had kids? How do we measure our matter-ness? Our purpose?
This might be a strange thing to think about, but as we get older, mortality comes clearer into view simply because we're running out of time. We've been running out of time since birth, but we don't see it that way for the most part. It's usually not until this later stage of life, if we're lucky enough to get here, that our quality of life, as well as our sense of worthiness comes into question.
I've been thinking a lot about worthiness and the meaning of my life this past year. I’ve come to understand that yes indeed, we all matter and we are all deserving of happiness, even me. There is definitely a reason why we are all here.
Understanding the what and why of life takes time. For me, it took going back into my past experiences to try to understand my role in them as well as the lessons they hold for my life.
Song writing and painting have helped me uncover some hidden secrets in my soul, but writing “Stepping Stones”, my memoir, has shed the greatest light into my darkest corners. This deeper exploration and bird’s eye view has given me so such additional awareness about why I’m here and what I need to do before I go.
Motivation comes down to a few key concepts for me:
• It's about the difference between hope and helplessness; strength and weakness; warrior and victim;
• It’s about living intentionally rather than not.
• It's about wanting others to know that it’s possible to rid your life of fear and self-doubt by chosing to believe something different (if I can do it, anyone can!)
• It’s about teaching others to understand that everything - absolutely everything – carries a lesson for our lives; and
• It’s about knowing we're born with innate wisdom for growth, expansion and awareness.
But mostly, I want people to know, to witness, and to understand the gifts that lie within their life experiences.
That's what I'm driven to express in my work. That's how I measure my ‘matter-ness’. If I can help just one person be a witness to their own self-worth, then I've made a difference by being here.
No one gets out of here without a story – no one. Those of us that have lived longer have even more to share with the world.
I have no children, or any valuable possessions to leave behind. I have no accolades or achievements worth mentioning, or being remembered for.
What I do have is a message to share, and that message is the legacy of my life.
You too have a life legacy because every life has meaning and purpose. Isn’t it exciting that you get to discover that message and decide how to use it?!
I’ll leave you with these lingering thoughts that hopefully motivate you to take action in finding your message:
- How do you wish to be remembered when you’re gone?
- What steps can you take to make that happen?
If you'd like to have some company along your journey, join AMMO Artworks' private Facebook Group: "Heart of the Matter" where we discuss topics like this one in an effort to live more consciously and intentionally. Come join us.
Michelle Myrick is the owner and operator of AMMO Artworks – a creative arts company specializing in products and services that inspire belief in abilities and the capacity to succeed. She is a singer, songwriter, and musician; a visual artist; and an author. Michelle is also an educator and offers Team Building Seminars, Workshops, Courses, as well as Keynote Addresses & Special Events for groups and organizations. See www.ammoartworks.com for details and information as well as to view her artwork, book and CD.