Cinderella, in the fairy tale, was the rightful owner of the glass slipper. Yet her hideous sisters were determined to force their fat feet into her shoe, and claim it as their own. The sisters invaded the slipper. They were able to steal it because they had strength in numbers and simply dominated Cinderella.
Often, our true passion is dominated by desires and demands that don't fit us.
Many lives are dominated by addiction to social media, food and consumerism. To name a few. These steal our precious time. They rob us of our priceless attention. What is worse, they often gang up on us together. Stuck on Facebook, whilst simultaneously buying something on Amazon, and stuffing my face with chocolate. Yes, occasionally, this has been me. When Cinderella finally places her foot in her shoe, the audience sighs with relief. The shoe fits. Order is restored. Things return to their proper place. That's how it is with our passion. It's waiting to be uncovered. We need to wrestle it back from the forces that stole it. Or, it may have been buried, under the weight of work, family and commitment. Our passion is there. Waiting for us. We need to dig it up.
On Saturday I went to Sakprasert boxing gym in Boscombe, and interviewed Layla, an inspiring young 12 year old boxer. She's been training in Ju Jitsu for 3 years, and more recently started working with Sert. Sert has helped thousands of people over the past 20 years. Layla told me that boxing helps a lot with her life. It gives her discipline, focus and helps her , "to stand up to people who are horrible". She trains every week, and feels proud that she's getting better and better. When I remarked that lots of girls go to ballet or dancing, and that she was training to be a fighter, she replied: "I don't know why, but I just feel that this was made for me to do. Boxing helps me be myself." These words echoed in my mind over the weekend, until I arrived at the image of Cinderella placing her foot in her rightful shoe.
There is such a feeling of relief when we uncover the passion that fits us. Its like coming home.
When I was 13 I stumbled upon a violin in a dusty cupboard in my boarding school. Roaming around and finding things has always been a favourite past-time of mine. The violin was in its case. I opened it with a feeling that I was doing something forbidden. My friend, who was a bit of a snob, and fancied himself as an "expert", told me that it was a Stradivarius copy, and was probably worth a lot of money. The violin became even more interesting to me. When I tried to play it, it made an awful screeching noise. My 'expert' friend told me that the violin was the most challenging of all instruments, and took years to learn. I put it back in its box, feeling woefully inadequate. I would never be able to play such an instrument. It was something for the rich and talented, not the likes of me. 3 years later I was transfixed by Bob Dylan's song 'Hurricane", about the boxer who was falsely imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit. The song has a terrific violin solo. This music stirred something in me. The feeling:
This is for me.
21 years of age, at Edinburgh University, and about to become a young Father. I came upon a cheap fiddle in a Folk music shop. I picked it up. It made an awful screeching noise when I played it. I imagined myself playing it. I fell in love with the feeling of the varnished wood, and the shape of the instrument's curved body. I payed £40 and took it home. 20 years later, I play the fiddle most days, and earn a fair bit of my living playing upon its strings. I found a passion that fits. A passion I am pleased to grow old with.