Fanning the Flames of Purpose

Tuesday 8.13.2013 @ 10:50am | Amanda Christmann Larson | Adventure


Photo Credit: www.compassionatejourneys.com

 

Meeting new people is kind of awkward for me, and not just because I'm a writer and don't get dressed much.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like it and all, but there's always that bungled moment when people inevitably ask me what I'm doing with my life and I flounder around trying to explain it in the length and depth of a Tweet. I've kind of narrowed it down to, "I'm a freelance writer, and I do some other stuff, too," mostly out of a strong sense that if I get going on the answer for real, it makes people uncomfortable. That's a lousy way to make friends.

 

So what makes it uncomfortable? Well, kind of a lot of things. Those of you who know me know that I spend kind of a lot of the year in Ghana. Many people don't know where that is on a map - including me, before I found myself on a plane heading there. I also know my life isn't normal, so it's hard to find common talking points on the whole topic outside of the usual, "Aren't there snakes/bugs/diseases/wars there?" kind of stuff. (Yes. Yes. Kind of. No.)

 

Another thing is my own issue. It makes me uncomfortable to chat myself up. I have learned that the most genuine people don't have to go around telling people all the great things they do - whether it's help children in Africa, have a great relationship with God, or whatever they do. As they say in the South, if you have to flaunt it, it's not old money. That, and I don't like to give the impression that I think my stuff is somehow better (is that the word?) than other people's stuff. I'm such a work in progress, I can't even tell you. (As I write that, I'm remembering that the load of wash I stuck in the machine yesterday morning is still hanging out there. Again.)

 

But when I do share my stuff, I hope that it inspires people. I see so many friends and acquaintances walking around with little sparks of passion for whatever their thing is inside of them. They constantly battle to both fan those sparks and and keep from growing at the same time. They don't want to lose the light, but they don't have the courage to let it get big and see how it changes their lives.

 

I say give that little sucker some dry leaves and propane and watch it burn. Let it be what it's supposed to be; that little fire in your soul is there for a reason, and it's not to give you indigestion.

 

In 2009 when I started the journey I'm on, it was scary stuff. No one I knew was doing what I wanted to do, and few people understood why I was doing it. Still, I got on that plane and opened myself up to seeing what was ahead.

 

As I started walking down this crazy path I'm on (literally and figuratively), I didn't know how I was going to do it, where the money would come from, or any of that stuff we are taught our whole lives must be in order. Turns out a little faith is all you need (and, in my case, a small easy-open can of whoop-ass and a big tolerance for insects), and I'm ok with that. The friends, the resources - everything - have shown up along the way to guide me, and my spark is now a big old bonfire that's warm and cozy and comfortable.

 

So if I had one little bit of advice to give, it would be this: Ask yourself, "What would I do if money was not an issue?" and decide you're going to do it. Research it, imagine it, own it. Grab that sucker by the horns and give it a big kiss on the lips. Then be on the lookout for all the doors the universe will open up to make it possible for you and the people who will come into your life (if they aren't already there) who you can walk along with. They're awesome. You'll love them.

 

It really is that easy - and that hard. I can't explain that, but you'll figure it out.


And then, when you meet me, tell me about it. I'll find it on the map, and I promise I won't judge. We'll just sit beside our bonfires together. I'll talk about being a writer, and you can talk about being you, and we'll smile and know we're happy.

 

BTW photo caption: That's me fanning real flames in Ghana while cooking ramen noodles for Thanksgiving. I'm like that, but don't tell anyone.

 

 

 

Amanda Christmann Larson is a mom, full-time student, and contributing writer and editor for ImagesAZ magazine. She is also director of Compassionate Journeys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating awareness about human trafficking and providing volunteer opportunities in Ghana, West Africa. The organization is currently building a home for rescued child slaves in Ghana.

Amanda Christmann Larson is a mom, full-time student, contributing writer and editor for ImagesAZ magazine and Women for One, and director of Compassionate Journeys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bringing resources and awareness to empower people in Ghana, West Africa. In September 2013, Amanda and friends will be riding bicycles on their second cross-country trip with Babes Blocking Traffic to spread awareness about human trafficking worldwide. Visit www.compassionatejourneys.com and www.babesblockingtraffic.org for more information.

 

- See more at: http://imagesaz.com/blogs/viewBlog/1869/back-to-me#sthash.tXpwzLAg.dpuf

Amanda Christmann Larson is a mom, full-time student, contributing writer and editor for ImagesAZ magazine and Women for One, and director of Compassionate Journeys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bringing resources and awareness to empower people in Ghana, West Africa. In September 2013, Amanda and friends will be riding bicycles on their second cross-country trip with Babes Blocking Traffic to spread awareness about human trafficking worldwide. Visit www.compassionatejourneys.com and www.babesblockingtraffic.org for more information.

 

- See more at: http://imagesaz.com/blogs/viewBlog/1869/back-to-me#sthash.tXpwzLAg.dpuf

Amanda Christmann Larson is a mom, full-time student, contributing writer and editor for ImagesAZ magazine and Women for One, and director of Compassionate Journeys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bringing resources and awareness to empower people in Ghana, West Africa. In September 2013, Amanda and friends will be riding bicycles on their second cross-country trip with Babes Blocking Traffic to spread awareness about human trafficking worldwide. Visit www.compassionatejourneys.com and www.babesblockingtraffic.org for more information.

 

- See more at: http://imagesaz.com/blogs/viewBlog/1869/back-to-me#sthash.tXpwzLAg.dpuf

Amanda Christmann Larson is a mom, full-time student, contributing writer and editor for ImagesAZ magazine and Women for One, and director of Compassionate Journeys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bringing resources and awareness to empower people in Ghana, West Africa. In September 2013, Amanda and friends will be riding bicycles on their second cross-country trip with Babes Blocking Traffic to spread awareness about human trafficking worldwide. Visit www.compassionatejourneys.com and www.babesblockingtraffic.org for more information.

 

- See more at: http://imagesaz.com/blogs/viewBlog/1869/back-to-me#sthash.tXpwzLAg.dpuf