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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Tapia

Talk Nerdy to Me

Clarissa's Eucatastrophe

I get asked often what "Eucatastrophe" means, the namesake of my blog. I came across this word while nerding out looking for unique, one-of-a-kind words. Something everyone does during their free time I am sure... I wanted the name of my blog to not only evoke curiosity about its content, but also make people think. I love getting stumped on words, thoughts or phrases that I've never heard before. Eucatastrophe was one of those words that caught my attention immediately and once I read its meaning, I knew it was going to be a special word for me.

According to, J.R.R. Tolkien was infamous for creating words out of his imagination: "In a letter written in 1944, he wrote: ‘I coined the word eucatastrophe: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.' The eu- which prefixes the word is likely to derive from the Greek εὐ- meaning ‘good, well.'"

I think every one of our lives is a series of events both good and bad that ultimately lead us to our truth, our purpose for why we are here. I don't believe the people you meet, or the people you lose are happenstance, I think you meet them or lose them for a reason. The Big Guy knows that the most valuable thing we can give is our time, so if we are placed in someone's path, you better recognize that this person is going to make you grow. Maybe you're about to be challenged, maybe you're going to have to free up space in your heart or maybe you're going to learn what patience or humility really is. Either way, know that you are not the same person you were yesterday. Nor are you the same person you will be tomorrow.

I am currently chasing my Eucatastrophe. Have I had moments of joy that bring me to tears? Yes! I will never forget the feeling of walking across the stage at Arizona State University receiving my Undergraduate Degree. It is one of the happiest moments of my life. I don't think I've ever felt more alive than I did the week of my commencement. At the time, I felt that my career in journalism was as solid as ever, but I found out much later that in reality, my passion laid in the learning. It wasn't so much journalism that had my head on fire and eyes sparkling, it was school.

In an interview with Oprah, author Liz Gilbert, talked about her plea for anti-passion. The reason, she says, is because not everyone knows where their passion lies, at least not yet. Some people are born knowing they will one day be a doctor and when they grow up they they work hard, get into the right schools and become successful doctors. Others, tinker here, change careers there, and still don't know what their passion is and it is unfortunate that society makes you feel like a loser for not knowing where your passion lies. I am here to share with you what Gilbert believes: There is nothing wrong with not knowing your passion! Gilbert says most people don't know what their passion is or, when they find it, it's after many, many convoluted, twisted and dead end paths. A passion is demanding, it is aggressive and it is unforgiving. Gilbert compares passion to a jackhammer bird. A jackhammer, or woodpecker is focused on one thing and they repeat the same movement over and over and over hardly picking up their head to look around them at all. A constant tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap that would drive most anyone crazy. They are literally blindsided in their pursuit. Instead of focusing on passion, Gilbert suggests you follow your curiosity. Curiosity is gentle, it's not scary and it is not all consuming. She says nothing describes this phenomenon more clearly than a hummingbird. A hummingbird flies from flower to flower, not staying in one place, pollinating as they go. A curious person takes life experiences from plan A and uses them as he or she rounds the corner of plan B. If plan B doesn't work out, there's always plan C. One day, when you look back on your life and all the experiences you've had you will say wow, I've touched a lot of lives and I have learned so much from all these experiences culminating into who I am today. Guess what? Gilbert's secret is this: By following your curiosity you might just end up discovering your passion! - Mind Blowing.

You are never stuck. If you feel stuck, make a change. Remember that even water left unattended still goes bad. It will smell, it will eventually evaporate. All you need is to start creating ripples again and remind yourself that you are not meant to be complacent. Keep chasing your Eucatastrophe.

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