It was late on a cold Canadian night in November. Work was getting me down. In four months I would turn 40 years old; soon to be the dreaded MIDDLE AGE and yet I still hadn’t found my life’s work.
I was grateful. I had a good life in Toronto. But was it the best life I could wish to have?
I had always imagined one day working for myself, but doing what exactly? I knew one thing: I wanted a certain kind of life; a life infused with creativity and passion.
Good Fortune was in the air that night. I sat down at my computer and began to search. Hopeful, I typed the word “play” and hit enter. I scanned the results. The words “divine play” caught my attention.
It was a passage written by Stephen Nachmanovitch from his book called Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. The opening of the first chapter described the concept of lila and would change the direction of my life:
There is an old Sanskrit word, lila, which means play. Richer than our word, it means divine play, the play of creation and destruction and re-creation, the folding and unfolding of the cosmos. Lila, free and deep, is both delight and enjoyment of this moment, and the play of God. It also means love.
Lila may be the simplest thing there is–spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexities of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard won achievement imaginable, and it’s coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves.
“LEE-la” I said aloud. I even loved how it sounded.
In art school I had often tried to create an anagram of my name, but nothing interesting ever seemed to come of it. I took out my journal and jotted down all 14 letters in my full name. Underneath it I wrote ‘LILA’ and scratched out those same letters written above. Outside the snow began to flurry. I moved the 10 remaining letters back and forth, joining and rejoining until the words “cheeky” and “tree” appeared.
When I read the anagram “LILA CHEEKYTREE” for the first time, something inside me responded with an emphatic YES! YES! YES!
On a warm sunny day in June I finally found the courage to quit my job and leave the security of a steady income behind. For the first time in my life I was determined to follow my own path. even though I wasn’t sure where it might lead. I had faith I was headed in the right direction.
Will Lila Cheekytree live happily ever after? Well, you’ll have to follow my blog and like Lila herself, just wait and see. Enjoy the journey.