My answer to that has usually been vowing to do more passionate things (usually quite undefined) and increase my self-care activities. Often, that led to living the exact same way I did before making the vow, and maybe adding in a fun night out and a massage.
It wasn’t cutting it. For three years now, I’ve created drafts of a class on embracing pleasure and passion, doing research, and experimenting with different practices. (You really do teach what you need to learn!)
Finally, the class is available and I’d like to share some of the things I discovered on the journey to creating it.
Discovery #1: Passion is within you.
For so long I searched for my passion outside of me, as something that I would “find” – something that would draw me to it and then I would feel passionate about it. Turns out that was not my experience at all – passion flows through me. It’s a way of connecting me to the world, to my preferences, to what delights me, but it’s always my choice to open it up or not.
All those years I spent searching for my purpose and passion, I always thought it would be an epic quest and then I’d find it and reach the Promised Land. Not so! I see it now more like a valve within me. Passion is always flowing from Source (or whatever you want to call the Divine), and it’s my choice – every day, every moment – to decide to open up and allow it or shut it off.
Discovery #2: Passion expresses your identity.
While doing some contract work, I was on a fantastic project team of bright, mostly twentysomething people. It involved a new system implementation, which sounds exciting but actually translates to hours together in a tiny conference room packed with computers, testing every mundane task that the system handles.
It should have been boring, but it was a fun group, so we talked while we worked and had a great time. One of the team members was maybe 26 years old, and dreamed of turning in his super-expensive car for another, even more expensive and exclusive car. (I think the second one cost $100,000. The rest of us wondered if we had done a very poor job negotiating our compensation.)
The rest of the team rolled their eyes and accused him of being a snob, but you could tell that cars absolutely lit him up. He knew everything there was to know, could talk for hours about different models, and practically glowed when he described his dream car. Cars do almost nothing for me, but it was a genuine passion for him, to the point where his joy was contagious when he talked about it.
I believe that is the fundamental purpose of passion – an avenue that brings us into our joy, and through us inspires joy in others. Each person’s passion is completely unique – what lights me up might bore you to tears.
In the Rekindle Your Passion course, each day you’re asked to find something that lights you up in a pre-defined category. The course has been available for a week now, and it’s been so fun hearing how some categories resonate deeply with some people and others fall flat. Each person has a different category that does nothing for them, while other categories bring wild delight.
It’s my belief that the best gift we can give to the world is our authentic joy, and often the vehicle for that is delighting in discovering and savoring our preferences.
Discovery #3: Passion requires presence.
Just this last week, See’s Candy had a sale on the very best candy ever created, resulting in a pound of these bits of heaven in my fridge. One night I mindlessly ate five of them; the next I ate one while fully present. When mindlessly eating them, they were delicious. When savoring one, I felt passionately ecstatic.
Similarly, one evening this week I walked out to my car, and stopped, stunned at the majesty of the scene around me. Palm trees, mountains, clouds tinged with pink as the sun began to set. It was arresting. I see this scene at least three times per week, and don’t notice it.
If you struggle to find your passion, it’s very possible that you’re not present enough to recognize it even if it smacks you on the head. Passion requires presence. If your preferences seem bland and you can’t distinguish how much you enjoy something, presence is the answer.
I think this is the reason there is such a cultural surge to ‘find your passion’ – deep in our souls, we know finding our passion means we stop running so much, focusing less on productivity and more on delight, and our souls long for that.
We’re not here to be productive and get things done. We’re here to live to the fullest, to embody radiant joy, to be enraptured by the playground where we live. Tweet it!
Discovery #4: Passion is in the everyday.
I used to think passion meant skydiving, parasailing, having hour-long orgasms, adventure traveling, drinking 100 year old wine while dancing naked in the moonlight.
Certainly it was something big, bold; if I wanted a passionate life, I would need to have these types of activities routinely built into my weeks, or, at the very least, months. For some people, that really would be a passionate life. When I contemplate that life, I feel…exhausted. When would I have time to read?
There are, of course, peak passion experiences, but living passionately means allowing passion in our everyday lives. For me, that might look like keeping fresh flowers on my table, letting myself dance in the afternoon, reading only the books I love, burning fresh pine incense, listening to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” while writing this post, drinking chilled water with lemon, getting a new desk that sparks joy. It’s going to look different for each of us.
Discovery #5: Passion is a practice.
Allowing your passion is something that takes a bit of time and practice. Similar to developing a meditation practice, living your passion is a habit that can be cultivated.
If you want help with the preference, presence and practice portions of living a passionate life, I’d love for you to check out my Rekindle Your Passion jumpstart. I’m a bit in love with it and delighted to share it with you – it’s a super affordable 30 day e-course that will help you bring delight into your everyday.
Now it’s your turn – what have you have you learned in the pursuit living a passionate life? Leave a comment and let us know.