Why Passion Matters
I wrote an ebook last year and offered it as a free download. Now I’ve decided to add it to the website as a series of blog posts. A lot of the content I create is to document my creative journey, but I also contemplate if there is any contribution I can make to the world through the things I do.
It was with that frame of mind that I wrote Passion 101. I’ve been creative for most of my life, but when I went through a deep depression I turned off my creativity. Once I got back into following my creative impulses it opened the door to a whole new way of life for me!
So here is the first installment of this new web series!
Passion Makes the World Go Round
When I was a youth, most of the older generations were propelled by making ends meet. Men went off to work the same job for their entire career, and women either stayed home with their children or went to work as well. When those generations came home they were often too tired to do much other than unwind with some television or a drink. The work world seemed very cut and pressed, you did work for someone else and gave them the good majority of your time. Then you provided for your family home cooked meals and had very little time for yourself.
People hit the bottle to quench their thirst, that thirst for something more in life. Or they planned one or two vacations a year and packed their families in a car to live a little for a couple of weeks out of the year. The kids always seemed to have the most fun in life, getting involved in activities that young people do. But once you hit adulthood you were expected to keep your chin up and do the work that was placed before you.
The driving force of those generations was to get married, have children and pass on their knowledge to a younger generation; secretly hoping that their children would have it better off than they did. When their children left home, life could sometimes become miserable, as if the whole life purpose had left with those young adults.
How times have changed! It is now 2018 and passion makes the world go round! Before the internet people were more likely to either sit around at home or go to social spaces out in the world to mingle and make friends. Today everything moves at a fast pace and many relationships are built online. Some say that the internet age has changed society for the worse. I tend to disagree.
There has never been a time like today, where information sharing was available to everyone. All you need is some kind of computer or cell phone and pay a small fee for monthly internet service. And the whole world is at your fingertips! You can learn about just about any hobby right from the comfort of your own home. There are free videos on YouTube, websites about every topic imaginable, groups on social media dedicated to different hobbies. You can learn so much if you just have the inclination to try.
And there is a whole social element to the web as well! Nowadays more people meet their friends and partners online, instead of in the real world. It is so much easier to mingle online and find kindred spirits than ever before. The web is the place to be!
So consider yourself very lucky, to be here at this time in human history. Take the opportunity to go after what you want in this one precious life!
Why Passion Matters
Having passions in life matters so much, and to truly understand why you first have to spend some time in the opposite end of the spectrum. If you have ever had a time in your life where nothing sounded fun, where you watched hours of tv each day, where your best times were spent partying and then sleeping off the worst hangovers of your life; then you know what it is like to live without passion. At first living a life devoid of passion can be fun because you fill your time with mind numbing activities. The activities make you forget your worries and give you a chance to escape for a while.
But after a while the party becomes monotonous, or the tv shows all start to seem the same, or those old habits and escapes just stop doing it for you. Then you wonder if there might be something more to life than this.
Having passions in life can totally fill your days with adventure and excitement! When you dedicate yourself to learning about a hobby, or to a sport or spiritual practice…suddenly life becomes more meaningful again.
Passions can bring so much joy to life. They put you in touch with who you truly are deep inside, and help you connect with the world around you in new and exciting ways. Pursuing your passions also gives you a sense of accomplishment and can add a whole new element of excitement to your life! When you are deep into following your desires, even problems seem to become more workable. Passion can become a sense of self care and even when life throws problems your way; you begin to find release, strength and comfort through following your desires.
Discovering your passions can also help you learn more about yourself and your relationship to the world around you. Suddenly you begin to find your tribe and discover a whole new world of people who have interests like yours. On a deeper level passion can become the reason you wake up in the morning, and the reason you go to sleep with a smile on your face. When you fill your life with activities and pursuits that make you feel good, life becomes a richer experience.
What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Passion?
Depression is rampant in Western Society today! One of the best cures for depression is simply to do what you love, even when you don’t feel like it. The thing with depression is that depression hates activity. That means that even doing things you once loved can totally lift you out of that dark place. A big part of depression is that nothing really sounds fun anymore, but the challenge is to do what you love anyway. So there is a chicken and egg factor coming into play, which comes first? Does lack of passion slowly cause the spirit to become depressed, or does depression slowly erode the passion you once had? All I know is that the two are intricately linked in a sort of spiritual dance.
I’ve struggled with depression on and off over the years, and when I went through my worst periods of depression I noticed some similarities. When I felt the worst about myself and my life, I wasn’t doing anything that made me feel alive! I had stopped following my heart and stopped doing the things I had once loved. Depression at its core can feel like a deep longing for meaning when it can feel like nothing really matters. Lack of passion is a big factor in what causes depression, and following your passion is the best cure!
When you don’t follow your passion in life, things can seem pretty grim. Suddenly you begin to take life way too seriously and if you aren’t careful that attitude can become your way of relating with the world. Life is ripe with challenges and if you aren’t stuck in following your heart’s desire, those sticky points can totally derail you. Plus the more you ignore the true desires of your heart, the further you get from your true self.
Another thing that can happen as you travel on the path further and further from your passions is you just start to go through the motions. Every day starts to feel the same, you get up and do what you have to do to get by. But soon it becomes challenging to find the fun in life. Day by day, week by week, you get further from your sense of self. Going through the motions is like a personal hell realm when you wish things were different but have lost the ability to honor your heart.
In time you can feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. This can be a very painful realization, looking in the mirror to wonder who is looking back.
As you slowly begin to tune in to your desires and allow passion a spot in your life again, slowly you rediscover who you are deep within.
There is Wisdom in Your Desires!
In the past it was seen as sinful to follow your desires! My how times have changed. Sometimes religion or societal beliefs can make you feel like following your passion is not important, childish, or even downright irresponsible. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can honor your religious or spiritual traditions by using your passion to celebrate your connection to the Divine.
In Buddhism the main law to decide whether something is worthy of pursuit is that it harm none and be of benefit to others. When you are happy doing the things you love, it spirals out into your relationships and brings so much joy to your connection with the world.
Desire is such an integral part of being human. In my own past I went through a time where I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what I wanted to do in life. I was in a dark depression and absolutely nothing sounded fun! Then I started making art and the ice began to thaw. Eventually I started meditating, got in touch with feelings that I had been stuffing down, and in time worked with some life coaches who really helped me give myself permission to follow my heart.
My healing journey began by first getting more in tune with my feelings. I started an exercise where I would take some deep breaths, close my eyes, and tune inward. I would put my hand over my heart and just list the feelings that were flowing through me. At first it was quite painful to get in touch with and I would start to cry. It was hard to really admit that I was feeling so rotten all the time. But slowly just honoring my feelings and letting them flow through me kicked open a door to my passionate heart.
Desire is important because it gets you in touch with who you are and helps you figure out who you want to become. If you are used to shoving down your desires it can be hard to even know where to begin.
Journaling is a great step in figuring out what you want in life. Try writing a few pages every day and after about a month, go back through and read what you have written. Doing this can help you get clear on your desires and you can begin to take small steps to bring those desires to life.
Speaking your truth and honoring the wisdom of your desires adds so much richness to life! If you feel you are cut off from your desires and don’t know where to start, get a pen and paper and just write. In time desires will begin to surface.
Passion Guides You to Wholeness
Passion gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, and it can totally transform the way you feel about your life. It can turn depression into something more workable. It can get you out of your shell and help you connect with other people, gathering around something you all care about.
Following your passion is a way to be true to yourself. And if you feel cut off from who you are; if you look in the mirror and feel that distance from the person you see…passion can slowly reconnect you to wholeness. When you begin honoring your desires, they slowly begin to build on each other. You discover the things you love and the things that you don’t and your life begins to feel more true to you. If you can picture your life as a circle, and you standing in the center, all your desires and passions fill up the circle until your life is like a flowering garden of delight. Outside the circle are all those things that you can begin to say No to as you honor the wisdom of your heart.
There is definitely a tradeoff to be made, one that involves saying No to those things that don’t feel right for you to allow room for all those things you do love. As you slowly begin to find your voice to say Yes to everything that feels right, you begin to blossom into your true self.
Seize the Day!
As far as anyone knows, this is our one shot at this game called life. When you live like every day is your last, it really helps to keep focused on your intentions for your life. Everyone has dreams and desires that play like a soundtrack in the periphery of every day routine. What sets people apart is some people go after their dreams in life and some just can’t seem to make the changes necessary to do so. I can tell you that the people who are following their dreams are light years ahead as far as happiness goes. They reap the benefits of living a life that is true to their innermost being.
It can be easy to throw in the towel when things get challenging, or to just go through the motions. And life does have its ups and downs. There are seasons to get busy doing what you want and seasons when it is time to rest. But when you realize that NOW is your time, today is your chance, it can really give you the needed push to follow your heart. I’ve always been a believer in going after my dreams, although for years I was cut off from even knowing what I wanted. One day my husband grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said…”This is our one life! This is our chance, don’t miss it.” What he said rings through my mind still today. Basically the only mistakes in life are when you stop trying or caring. Those are the greatest hurdles to living a life of desire.
1. If you discovered that you only had one more month to live, what would you do? What regrets would you have? Would there be anything you wish you had done in life? Now is the time!
2. Is there anything you could do less of to make more time for things you want to do? Practice saying No to things that don’t feel right for you, so you can say Yes to those things that light you up.
3. Are there any habits getting in the way of you living your best life? There are all kinds of books, people and resources out there ready to guide you to wholeness. Seek out solutions and have the courage to quit doing things that don’t feel right for you.