Kali Hawlk

Helping Creatives Make More

Do You Have Enough?

What it means when you have enough

I want to have enough money.

I want to earn enough respect and recognition.

I want to have enough success.

I want to attain enough security.

I want to feel enough happiness and love.

Do you have enough? Or does the above sound familiar? Do you wish for things like this when you allow yourself to think about the future?

I wish I had enough. 

If you find yourself wishing to feel that you have enough of whatever it is you think is lacking in your life, I have bad news for you. There is no such thing as enough. Continue reading

Making Hard Choices

Making Hard Choices and Choosing a Path

Books in which the characters set out on a one-way journey leave me with a distinctive sense of unease. The worst books are the ones where that’s apparent from the very beginning.

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy deeply bothered me as a kid. Even some tales in the Redwall universe of Brian Jacques disturbed me because of this. In these stories, there were no breadcrumbs to follow if you changed your mind and decided to stay at home after all.

(Perhaps the reason I can still love the Lord of the Rings trilogy is because Tolkien kindly walked us all back to the Shire before revealing Frodo would leave Middle Earth forever, via a ship that could not chart a return course.)

The idea that once you step out, there is no going back, freaks me out.

And that’s a large part of the reason I’ve struggled to map out what’s next for me. I’m always thrilled to find a door of opportunity and happy to pass through them when I can, but I try very, very hard to make sure those doors don’t shut behind me.

I always want the option to rocket back through them the way I came in. Continue reading

Learning from Your Mistakes

Learning from Your Mistakes

There’s good sense in learning from your mistakes. There’s a bit of truth in the idea that if you learn from your error — which means, you don’t make the same one twice — that you didn’t make a mistake at all.

The idea of learning from your mistakes puts a lot of pressure on you to avoid a second misstep. Apparently, you don’t have a get-out-of-jail free card if you find yourself in the same situation more than once.

But you’ve made a million errors, bad decisions, and wrong turns in your life. You won’t succeed in never repeating a single one of your mistakes.

I don’t mean to suggest you should careen through life, taking actions or making decisions you very well know aren’t smart or good for you. But neither should you be so hyper-aware of every move you make, for fear of repeating a past failure, that you hold yourself back from new opportunities and chances to build the life you want. Continue reading

Lessons Learned from Running Rabbits

Lessons Learned from Running Rabbits

When I think of my Dad, I think of him outside. One of the things I love most about him is how he’s full of knowledge about the natural world.

It’s not book knowledge, either. It’s the kind of knowledge that only comes after years of spending your days outside, running barefoot through grass, climbing trees and rocks, swimming in streams, wandering through woods.

Dad shared a lot of that knowledge with me. He taught me how to tell the difference between white and red oak trees. He explained all the ways you can tell a poisonous snake apart from a harmless one (and how to identify a number of each). He demonstrated how bats use echolocation to jet around by throwing rocks in the air and letting me see how the bats would swoop toward the rock to investigate.

And he told me about the rabbits. My Dad explained that when you startle a rabbit, he’ll bolt from his hiding place and take off running. It looks like he’s running away, but eventually, that rabbit will run in a circle right back to where he started. The rabbit does this because he’s returning to the last place he felt safe.

The memory of my Dad telling me about the rabbits kept swimming back to me over the last few months. I thought about it so often I started questioning whether or not I had made it up entirely.

But one night the realization of why I kept picturing running rabbits hit me right in the face: I’ve been the frightened rabbit for a long, long time.

I spent a lot of time and energy running myself (and the people around me) in circles. I was scared and didn’t understand what do to about everything I found to feel afraid of.

I got spooked and took off looking for — what? I didn’t even know. So I ran those circles, endless and without resolution, always starting back over where I took off from.

Plenty of people go through life like that — like me, like that frightened rabbit. You get spooked and you start running. You run through the same routine day after day. You make no progress, even though you produce so much energy to keep running back to the last place you felt safe. Continue reading

Stop Trying to Follow Your Passion

Stop trying to follow your passion and do this instead

The most annoying advice you can receive if you’re struggling to understand your purpose is, “follow your passion!”

It’s annoying because it’s completely unless, a platitude. If you understood what you wanted to do so badly you felt a burning passion for it, it’s unlikely you’d still be sitting here, twiddling your thumbs and waiting for inspiration to strike.

I suggest you stop trying to follow your passion. For one, you can’t follow something you don’t know and can’t find.

Second, do you know what the definition of passion is? “The emotions as distinguished from reason,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Meaning, separate from reason. And if you’re trying to puzzle out what you’re here for, I don’t think it’s wise to abandon rational thought just yet in favor of throwing yourself into something with wild abandon.

You need your wits about you to sleuth out your purpose, your truth, your reason for being here with us. And I believe, for most of us, this does take some sleuthing to uncover — which means you can’t sit around with your twiddling thumbs waiting for something, anything, to happen to you.

You need to get up and move and learn and explore and ask and wonder and try and fail. Don’t worry about trying to follow your passion. Worry about just doing something.

Because there won’t always be a lightbulb moment. You may not identify the exact second something clicks into place for you, when the planets align or a particular experience sparks a specific train of thought that leads to deep understanding.

Sometimes learning about your authentic self, what you need, and where your purpose lies happens over time because you missed the lightbulb moment. Continue reading

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