There is a small spark that lights a fire for all of us. It can be a talent, a passion, or maybe we have squashed it all the way down into a curiosity. When the universe sends out a little message that says “Hey, check this out…” and your ears perk up. Sometimes you get so excited and giddy that you wiggle in your chair and you think, I am gonna do this! I remember a friend (and I will paraphrase here) dropping his guard after a few drinks and sharing his dream… “I am going to drop this full-time job, and I am going to DJ! I love music. I am going to travel the world and be a DJ…”

And immediately we all say… “That’s great… But…”

I’m not ready to scream off the rooftops what my purpose is. Truth is, I haven’t quite painted the whole picture. I woke up in 2018 and decided to stop living and making decisions out of fear. I decided to stop flailing around with “busy work” and listen to the universe for some answers. The universe has a funny way of almost immediately picking up the phone when you’re ready to make a call.

My Universe is Full of Books

Bringing education to the near and far corners of the world is my heart’s deepest desire. It is the lens through which I see people, society, and civilization making a progressive and positive change. That is what I put on the table, and I asked the universe to present an opportunity to be a part of that change. And then I saw these empty bookshelves.

This is a bookshelf at the school in Haiti that I will be visiting in April. There are these images that burn in my mind of the lost opportunities that are created by an empty bookshelf like this:

Our first volunteer meeting was held last week. On a frigid winter night peeking around the corner to February, I sat down with a group of women to learn more about this school in Menelas, Haiti, the teachers, the church it is associated with, and the community it resides in. I listened to accounts of previous visits to “the third-world country.” And I can hear the sprinkles of fear and doubt as they share why they felt called to journey on this mission.

first group meeting for haitiTo be honest, I feel a twinge of irritation at their disconnected perspective. Despite the “bad blood” between Haiti and the Dominican Republic (where I was born) the images, the culture, the poverty, and the people do not intimidate me. I am excited to celebrate a sort-of homecoming. More importantly, I am grateful to have the opportunity to give my time in the service of these children.

I come to realize that my irritation is a projection of my own fear. I accepted this calling fully knowing I would be dealt with resistance from people I loved. My mom seems to think that the second I land in Haiti, they will see my passport and throw me into the ocean with the sharks. Yes, there is a rough history between these nations. Could you imagine if we all simply closed the book on goodwill because we were intimidated by differences?

Support change with love, not fear

We all do something rather funny when someone we love is about to take a leap of faith. When someone we love is about to jump into the unknown to pursue a big dream. Whether it is pursuing a life as an actor in Hollywood at 40 or getting married to someone after 3 weeks… We scream “DO NOT JUMP!!!” We want to keep each other down because we “love and care” for that person. That doesn’t make any sense! Yet, I realize, I spend a lot of time doing this to myself, and to the people I love. So, this mission is a mark for change in myself, and a change I will encourage others to see too.

I see the foundation of my calling in that empty bookshelf. There is certainly an end game is as I pursue a mission to bring education to my world community, I’m just not sure what that is right now. The universe is giving me a lot of answers wrapped in a big package, and I am slowly realizing this. The opportunity to grow into a more joyful life is not just booking a flight to a foreign land. You achieve joy through small actions and decisions. We can lay down a happier path for our own lives and demonstrate through our own actions, a better path for others to take as well.

jen sincero crab mentality

In other words, let’s stop bringing each other down by caring so much that we stop each other from pursuing our dreams! How much happier would we ALL be if we would support the leaps of faith? What if my friend Alex actually listened to the worry-warts around the table that night and didn’t pursue being a DJ? You know what, I am SO glad he didn’t… we wouldn’t have the sweet tunes of the Chainsmokers if he did listen to the crabs…

cinco de mayo with friends

Sorry, Alex, this is the best picture that I had that we didn’t look like total goobers.