This is the story about a teddy bear, a teddy bear from a long time ago that I still have. The reason that I still have it is this: When I was in fifth grade, we took a home economics class and we were told to choose a sewing project. Some people picked pillows. Some picked balls. But I didn’t want to spend my energy making something I wouldn’t love. In the catalog I saw this brown plush teddy bear with a movable head, arms, and legs. I said that’s the one for me. And wouldn’t you know it, I had to stay every day after school to finish that teddy bear.
I finished it and still have it 35 years later. I keep it because it reminds me of the moments in life where we choose to do something big and it takes all we have. we choose to overachieve and. Somewhere in the middle wonder why we did that to ourselves. Back in 7th grade, when all the other kids were out playing, I was at school finishing the teddy bear. But, all these years later, that teddy bear is sitting with me, a symbol of the accomplishments that come from choosing to do something great. My teddy bear is a symbol of perseverance, of love and beauty, of achieving and overachieving.
The reason that I bring up the teddy bear story now is because I am in the middle of a big project with a deadline, a project so big that is took twelve days of my days — five with two other people helping me — to complete. In the middle of it, I was asked to do more for it and I said yes. Many people would have said no — or done it halfway. I gave it my all. I was a bit overtaxed and it took most of my time, energy and thought. I don’t like to do anything halfway. I like it to be the best, my best with all of my love and all of my efforts. It has not been easy. I live in Venice, five blocks from the beach. While I was in the kitchen working on my recipes, my next-door neighbors were having loud parties. Three or four afternoons and evenings during the past eight days, I’ve been in the kitchen and have heard them laughing and playing music and drinking. And since I’m so close to the beach and many restaurants, I also hear people laughing and talking as they walk or bike by my house. And I’m in the kitchen working away. It reminds me of my experience in junior high school: all the kids were out playing and I was working. And then I smile. I still have that teddy bear. This project I am working on will live on far beyond this 12 days.
When we are committed and focused, we can be aware of these other things going on but still persevere and accomplish so much. When we finally have playtime after commitment and perseverance, it feels so good.
I hope you find the thing that you love to do, the thing that makes your heart happy, the thing that enables you to shut out many other things while you’re doing it. That’s love and that’s passion. Gorgeous things like plush teddy bears and big beautiful projects are born out of love and passion. When the day and the work are done, what is it that you find your heart longing to do? Follow the juiciness, the heat, the heart and opportunities, then abundance and joy follow. I wish you that and so much more