BY ASHLEY CEBULKA
You wake up with that electric feeling surging through your body, and you just know it’s going to be a good day. Better than most, as a matter of fact.
You’re no longer bumbling along, trying to make sense of things that come your way. In hopes that the perfect job or relationship will land in your lap.
Instead, you know you’ve got this. You’re in charge of the road ahead, and it feels damn good. You’re clear about why you’re here and what you're going to do with this glorious life you’re living.
This is a result of being certain of your unique purpose in life.
Remembering this can change every aspect of your life. I say "remembering" because all of us know this from a very young age. After years of listening to others' opinions and learning fear, we often forget.
I’ve seen in it time and again in every client I’ve ever worked with.
Everyone’s experience is different in that moment of remembering. Sometimes it’s like fireworks and their whole life makes dramatic positive shifts quickly. Others times it’s a start to one of the most gorgeous paintings you’ve ever seen. It takes time. One stroke after another adds to the beauty, elegance and transformation that’s creating this masterpiece.
The truth is that the timeline doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s the content that’s so alluring.
One thing I know for sure: knowing your purpose helps you remember who you really are. In turn you stop doing anything — ESPECIALLY regarding your career — because you think you should do it.
Most people feel like they’ve given themselves a huge green light to be themselves. They have a greater understanding and appreciation of their unique gifts. They spend their days, time, energy and even money on what they value most.
As if that weren’t enough, here are a few more reasons why knowing your unique purpose will change everything in your life.
1. You'll create a career far greater than what you could have ever imagined.
It will be filled with depth, meaning and purpose. This is a result of knowing your passions are not an accident; they’re showing up as part of your guidance system. When you use them to work with and help others, it will be the best use of your time, energy and creativity.
2. You’ll stop playing small.
You’ve got important moves to make while you’re here. With this newfound clarity, you take meaningful action daily.
3. You become more authentic than ever before.
You've given yourself the green light to be unabashedly you, and there’s no turning back now, baby. All those personality traits you used to think were an accident or perhaps you were embarrassed of, you now realize have divine purpose.
It’s your responsibility to be true them. With this knowing you realize when you allow yourself to shine, you encourage others to do the same.
4. Feeling good becomes the name of the game.
You’ve played the game of should’s, guilt and resistance long enough. Now that you know who you are and why you’re here, you’re open and curious about what you want to create next. You know without question that you’re here to FEEL good.
So, every day you make that a priority. This affects all of your relationships, enhancing intimacy and connection. The bonus is that it creates a positive domino effect of emotions and experiences.
5. You listen to and appreciate others' opinions, but you don’t depend on them.
They have their own purpose that’s driving them on a daily basis. Their opinions come from their own life experiences, not yours. Now that you trust your intuition and know you're always being guided, you listen to yourself more and trust the process.
6. Self-care becomes a top priority.
You genuinely want to take care of yourself, so you can fully show up for each day, feeling like a million bucks and ready to roll.
7. You spend less time doubting and more time trusting.
You know you’re not here by accident. The more time you spend doing what makes you come alive, the more impact you'll have.
There's only one YOU on this planet and we need you. So please, embrace those passions of yours and do what makes you come alive!
Photo Credit: Getty Images
""""One of the most mortifying moments I experienced in my theatrical career was when I was asked to bring the entirely African-American cast of a new musical we were workshopping, a new piece by an African-American librettist and composer, across the street to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and up into the plush boardroom so they could perform a song or two for the board of directors. I wanted to say something, but I didn't. For one thing, it would take an invaluable 45 minutes to an hour out of the creative team's limited time together. But... every year we had to do the same old song and dance for the board to remind them that yes, we did do new plays and musicals, so yes, it was sometimes a good idea to expose the board to new voices, to the vibrancy of an exciting work in progress.
You all know where this is going, don't you? I led the team in. The talent in that team! The writer/composer himself and the cast, lauded veterans of the stage and the most promising members of the next generation of acting giants. And there was our board. White, as white as can be, white white white white. And very comfortable. They'd just been served lunch, I believe. My theater spared no expense in pleasing our board and catering to their demands (oh my god, I'm feeling such rage right now! I'm pretty sure we had a staff member who was mostly dedicated to help our richest board members get house seats to shows on Broadway and the West End. But I digress...)
The only black face in the audience seated at the conference table? The only person of color? The head of our education department, of course. My heart went out to her.
The cast sang a song from the show. They did it. And they brought it. Because they were and are professionals. And the very pillars of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion reverberated down to the parking lot. It was breathtaking.
And I had just been complicit in the remaking of a scene for the millionth time: black bodies and voices entertaining white audiences, an institution raising money on the backs and voices of black bodies.
I was too mortified to apologize to our writer and to our cast, none of whom, I should add, expressed even an iota of discomfort. They were professionals, and they shone. And come to think of it, they'd probably all become accustomed to this scene. "It's just how theater works," they might have thought with a shrug of their shoulders. Or maybe they seethed inside, for the millionth time, when all they were trying to do is workshop a new musical.
Well, I apologize sincerely now to our writer and those actors. I wish I had had the courage to put my foot down. It is not how theater should work.
I quit the American theater on Valentine's Day 2016, so I've been out more than four years now. And honestly I don't plan to return, which is why I can write with such candor.
The heart of the problem, my friends, is with the non-profit structure, which is capitalism on steroids. Who are the bosses ultimately in an American institutional theater? The board of directors. Who are the board of directors? For the most part, those members of the community not with the strongest attachment to the art form but those with the deepest pockets. Often they're really not members of the community. They often just drop in. They are sometimes mere tourists.
It's no wonder that that board meeting was held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The theater, like most American theaters, had built its board of directors on the old opera model: You get the richest folks together, offer them galas and house seats and receptions and private recitals and showings (for which artists often don't get paid extra, mind you), you pamper them and make them feel more special and entitled than they already do, and then they'll write you big checks to support the kind of art they like, the kind of art they can bring their kids and grandkids to. AND they--not the artists, not the community--get to hire the institution's leadership.
It is a rotten model. Rotten to the core. How can any artistic institution claim to be working for and in the community with that model?
It's got to be torn down. It's got to be reinvented. And I have no idea what the next model will be. I really don't. And no, honestly I don't think government is the solution frankly. Some of the most bloated, self-satisfied, decadent theater I've ever seen was in Germany, where it was almost fully government-funded. Lots of bells and whistles and provocations and completely soul-dead.
I see amazing and galvanizing lists of demands recently being made and posted by theater artists of color. These are vital demands. But they don't address the central issue. As long as the ultimate bosses of an artistic institution remain the community's deepest pockets, nothing will change. Nothing. You'll be putting band-aids on a gaping wound. Sorry, but it's true.
So please figure something else out. Maybe for a few years you just avoid the institutions. You've already started. In the pandemic, so many of you are making amazing art without an institution. Find those who truly adore your work and ask them to fund it. Screw non-profit. Form a corporation and value your art art-making as a resource that profits you, your viewers/audience and your community. I have no idea.
But please don't return to a new version of the old. After the virus, after he's out of office, after police reform and nationwide conversations about race, after, after, after, begin something new. I can't wait to see what it is!”
Words: Pier Carlo Talenti
Video: Griffin Matthews
April Yvette Thompson