Danielle, former tiny dancer, current contract engineer (her day job), accidentally stumbled into her bliss as a result of her inexplicable fascination with the nature of consciousness, quantum physics, the search for intelligent life in the universe and related themes.
Then one day, she doesn’t remember why or when, she became consumed by an idea – a very Big Idea, a Vision, really – of the documentary film she would make about all this. Before she knew it, and without conventional training, she was becoming a documentary filmmaker. The Vision had its way with her; it took her.
One of the unorthodox things Danielle and I did together happened a couple of years ago… When we inadvertently discovered during a coaching session that I happened to know personally one of the Nobel Prize-winning physicists she wanted to interview, we embarked on a project of our own to make this meeting happen. After several phone calls and emails the three of us met at his office on the U.C. Berkeley campus.
I wish you or some one other person could have been there to witness this meeting. The sheer contrast between these two brilliant, rare souls is a poem in itself. She, the adorable tiny dancer who looks like she’s about 16; he, the world renowned physicist–white haired, slightly stooped, well into his 80’s–face to face, lost in space, or at least in an incredible conversation about it and about consciousness, the search for intelligent life in the universe, quantum physics, et al. I listened with a few tears glistening in my eyes as I thought about the incredible journeys of these two brilliant, rare souls, and the completely unlikely nature of this pairing.
Afterwards, she and I found a place on campus to get a cup of coffee and sit on a bench in the sunshine for awhile laughing our heads off about what had just taken place. I’m sure we must have high-fived. It seemed as if some magic was at work in the universe to bring us all together in this incredible dream.
But the question of whether or not Danielle will follow this dream was left way back there in the dust somewhere. There’s a sense of calling, meaning, knowing, but the journey is anything but a skip down the lane, which is what some people think it would be like if they found their bliss. She might wish she could lay this burden down at times. She is tired. It’s always a struggle. She needs funding. She needs our periodic conversations to stay the course.
Finding one’s bliss can be more like a burden than a skip down the lane, but this is a beautiful burden – no, an exquisite burden.