The blogging world has brought many wonderful people into my life. One of the most compelling is Satya Robyn. Many might recognise her as the writer Fiona Robyn but one year ago she changed her name as part of her ordination as a Buddhist priest. Today she is relaunching her writing career under her new name, and she has asked others to help her celebrate by responding in some way to a difficult question:
    Being a writer makes my life worth living. What do you live for?

Well, there are many ways to approach this question. The obvious first answer is that I live for my husband and kids. But wait…let’s go deeper. Maybe the answer is I live for myself. But what does that mean? What/who is “myself?” What makes me, me? 

Satya has posed this question at a very good time for me. I am still readjusting from my trip to Cambodia and my realisation that I actually do have a life there. I am happy there. I sleep better. I feel less frustrated and more totally engaged. I have even said that I feel more myself there. Now, what does that mean?

I think that my answer to Satya’s question, just as Satya’s own answer, is embedded in the concept of work. Having meaningful and engaging work to do in your life is one of the psychological keys to happiness. That’s well documented. So many people over the years have said to me how envious they are that I  have a passion which I can pursue and work which I love. I wish I could have the same, then I’d be happy, they have all said to me. And whenever I complain about a lack of money or prestige or recognition, I get annoyed looks and grimaces. All of that is meaningless, they tell me. You have passion you can pursue and work that you love, and that’s what matters.  And I suppose they are right. That is why I am so happy in Cambodia. When I am there I am totally focussed on the work, the writing, the teaching. I stop thinking about all the competitions I’m not winning, all the journals I’m not getting published in, all the festivals I haven’t been asked to appear at. I stop focussing on the career and I totally focus on the work.

So my answer to Satya’s question? I am a writer and a teacher. Those two activities make me, me. I’m not complete with only one. My writing allows me to teach. My teaching allows me to write. I need both. Satya has asked for a piece of art to be made as a response to her question. I think I’ve created a statement instead, but perhaps that statement paints a picture which may seem obvious to everyone else, but which I lose sight of far too often. 

Congratulations on the rebirth of your writing career, Satya. And if you want to be a part of her celebration and the community of writers she has created, do look for her at Writing Our Way Home.