Collaboreads | The Crossroads of Should and Must

This month's theme for Collaboreads was "Back to School" and Rachel and Amber left it pretty wide open for interpretation; anything you find educational, fiction or non-fiction, or related to school would suffice.  I had started this non-fiction book a few weeks ago, but I haven't finished it yet since I tend to read non-fiction a little bit at a time in between novels. I decided instead to take this opportunity to share a book I found a few months ago that I absolutely love, and it is especially educational for me because I am taking the author's Skillshare class online right now. Without further ado, I give you The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna.

I discovered this book through the Design Matters podcast, of which I have been an avid listener for a few years. If you have time to listen to this episode with Elle Luna as guest, I would highly recommend it. She gives great insight into why she wrote the book and how her journey has lead her to this point in her life, immersed every day in the work she loves and feels compelled to do.

Everyone can relate to this book in some way or another. We have all felt the nagging dissonance between what we "should" be doing that what we actually want to be doing in our everyday lives. It is a very quick read - very visual, filled with beautiful abstract art & hand lettering, and has an incredibly inspiring message about finding your true calling. Luna breaks down the differences between your "should" and "must" and illustrates the most common questions and fears people have when finding their "must", like time, money, failure, etc. and breaks down her suggestions to address these fears in easily digestible parts. 

Personally, I feel as though I have been stuck at this crossroads for quite a few years now. I am fortunate to have a great day job that pays the bills and allows me to live in this paradise, but I would be remiss if I did not admit that I feel fairly unfulfilled by my daily work. Most days I just focus on how lucky I am to get to wear casual clothing, bring my dog to work, and take yoga class on my lunch break, but in the end I miss being lit up by something I am passionate about every day. I really wish I was accomplishing something bigger, more meaningful, or getting to do more creative work. I often worry that someday I will regret not having pursued my creative gifts more, and spent more of my life doing what I love.  This book was a great reminder for me to take 10 minutes every day to honor my "must"... whether it be a quick dive into my sketch book, writing in my journal, or editing my photos or videos, I need to make sure I go to bed feeling good and as fulfilled as possible in this balancing act of life. 

Beyond the immense inspirational message in this book, it is also visually gorgeous. Honestly, every page is a work of art. Luna's words and ideas paired with her use of bright color and quirky handwriting is the cherry on top of this absolutely decadent book. I can also recommend taking the time to do her Skillshare class after reading this book, since they go hand-in-hand.  I am through phase one of the class and am really enjoying myself so far. I am sure I will read this book at least three more times this year... I give it five stars, without question! I hope you will take the time to read this one and will enjoy it as much as I did.

Oregon Trip: Portland

Portland, OR

  • Sleep: another airbnb.com find, at a little craftsman style home in the Hawthorne district of Portland - walking distance to shops and restaurants.
  • Sights: the Portland Art Museum, which I thought was absolutely amazing... I could have spent 2 days in there!  My favorite exhibit was the "This is War!" exhibit of graphic arts from the Great War.  It was interesting to see the pieces from all over the world, and see similarities in the artists' work that were from the same country.  I also loved the New Photography Acquisitions section. I'm always fascinated by photography, I think because I like to getting a peek at the world as other people see it.
  • Activities: I admit, I really wasn't digging Portland when we arrived.  After 5 glorious days in small towns and beautiful outdoor scenery, I was NOT happy to be in a city with traffic and so many people.  Thankfully, Brent stuck with me through my bad mood and we turned it all around with a really fun night of bowling. I don't know why we don't bowl more often! But, I digress.
  • Food: Portland has the BEST food! 
    • Bollywood Theater: Brent and I ran across this place after having worked up an appetite while bowling.  This is the BEST Indian food EVER.  I have already found a recipe for Pork Vindaloo to make at home... I'll let you know how it goes.
    • Bijou Cafe: I found this little place while I wandered downtown Friday morning in search for a brunch spot that didn't have a line around the block.  Apparently, it's a well-known fact that Portland likes to brunch, but somehow I was unaware of this when I set out that morning.  I found the Bijou Cafe had seats available at their bar and I was happy to have a good ol' farm fresh breakfast there.  Highly recommend.
    • Trinket: this was literally a block away from the house where we stayed, and I had such a great brunch there!  I knew it was a good fit for me when I walked in and they had Fitz and the Tantrums playing and antique silverware on the table.  
  • Overall: Portland was not my favorite city. I'm pretty sure it was just because I wanted to be back outdoors in the Columbia Gorge area or back in Bend, but I think there was more to it than that.  I loved the food everywhere and the art museum, but otherwise everything just felt a little too serious for me... I would guess half of the population I saw had piercings, face tattoos, and smoked cigarettes.  I'm willing to give it a second chance... especially if I can get more of that Indian food!!