08/08/2012 12:17 pm ET Updated Oct 08, 2012

Beware of Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Consider the seedling, pushing, pushing, pushing through frozen earth till the moment it blasts through and turns toward the light to unfold as a daffodil, rivaling the sun in beauty and hue.

Or observe the infant, bloodied and exhausted, even spanked into existence before its ordeal is done, finally placed to recover in mommy's arms.

Even the newly-hatched graduate, diploma clutched in hand, released from academia, faces freedom on the brink of a strange new, capricious community of opportunity.

Several of my friends, along with myself, seem to be emerging from situations/challenges ranging from serious to radical. All are faced with an unknown way of being in the world, their determination and drive having an unavoidable side effect: a major rethinking of previously and deeply-entrenched behaviors and beliefs.

This process is not to be equated with so-called accepted, unavoidable conditions that may accompany aging. The old adage that breakdown precedes breakthrough is proving its validity once more.

One dear friend, survivor of an accident that rendered her helpless for years, eventually recovered and, resolved to accomplish whatever challenges life presented, was literally burning her candle at both ends, resulting in a severe healing crisis. Divinity said: "Not so fast!"

Another, pressed to her physical and emotional limits by her need and necessity to give care and solace to friends and family making their transition, also suffered collapse under the weight of good intentions inevitably limited by lack of attention to her own priorities.

My webmaster, devoted family man and exemplary employee, has exhausted the midnight oil so incessantly that he is being forced to reevaluate his priorities and go to Plan B in order to function effectively.

My own realization was mercifully brief, occurring after experiencing an insight into the word "money," which I shared with you last week.

I was intrigued by a direct response marketing letter implying that by doing a little research into the trigger points that seduce buyers of everything from real estate to vitamins, I too could produce winning letters that would ensure my financial future -- who knew I would live this long?

Well, that supposedly simple investment in time and study, for me (with my not-so-great eyesight and tendency to fall asleep mid-page) amounted to a return to the tedium of structured study from which I mercifully escaped into the satisfying world of creative work.

The bottom line is that we were neither destined nor designed to be multi-taskers: jack of all trades, masters of none. Each of us has a divinely-assigned mission to make maximum use of a specific skill, talent or genius that fulfills our purpose/promise and raises the level of all mankind!

Never do anything you don't want to do for money; never let the lack of money stop you from doing what you love.

Upon arrival at an unforeseen destination, the newbie flower (baby, graduate) is by no means assured that success/survival is possible in what has proven to be an unpredictable, even hostile environment. Storms of all descriptions conspire to uproot, upset and unbalance, requiring considerable adaptation or, in the case of the daffodil, going underground to hibernate and bloom next year.

Our infant learns that he must please others at the expense of his nature and dreams. Our promising graduate compromises, failing to find favor for her unique gift in the marketplace.

All this exacts too high and heavy a price from soul and spirit, just to stay afloat. Sacrifice eventually surfaces as illness of body and mind.

I decided that the price required to write a professional sales letter, pitched to lure others down one garden path or another, would spread my energy too thin for concentration and focus on my true purpose.

I have navigated treacherous territory before. From experience I know that barks are worse than bites -- that no matter how scary, dedication to one's authentic journey takes precedence over fear, overcomes obstacles and provides ultimate protection.

So break new ground, knowing that if your mission is positive, it will ultimately prevail!