Trust Your Inner Voice


Chapter Five

Don’t Let the Past Define Your Present

Sometimes you might start to feel quite constricted by who you think you are; by who you think you SHOULD be.  As you get into life you pick up roles that you are expected to play, and rocking the boat trying new things can feel like trying on new aspects of yourself.  That can make people in your life feel uncomfortable as you stretch into shiny new territory of who you are becoming. 

That being said, don’t let your past define your present.  This aspect is a real challenge, and I get tripped up on it all the time!  As an example, for a while I kind of saw myself as a cool graffiti woman.  I clung to that persona for a long time because it gave me confidence.  I started feeling like everything I made in my art had to be quirky, different, or bold in some way.  That was fine for a while and I created a series of work that held onto that vision, but in time that aspect of my persona started to fade away to make way for something even more expansive.  I was scared to change because I didn’t really know another way to be.  Slowly I have been more able to integrate other aspects of my persona and grow into who I am becoming.

This issue comes up when you are trying new hobbies.  Let’s say that all your life you have wanted to take up golf, but have always wondered what your circle of friends might think.   Maybe you grew up on the rough side of the tracks and feel like you have to show up as that hard edge persona, and meanwhile every time you drive by a golf course your heart breaks a little bit.  This is a time to set that old persona aside for a while and allow your passion to guide you.  Take some golfing lessons, just to try it out.  And slowly let yourself stretch into who you would like to become.

Using Your Intuition to Discover New Passions

At one point in my life, absolutely NOTHING sounded like fun.  I was severely depressed and had quit playing guitar.  Guitar and music had become truly who I was, and when I quit playing I felt pretty disconnected from myself.  I went for a long time not understanding what might make me passionate.  I was mourning my former life and was having a really difficult time letting anything much new in.

Then one day many years later, I discovered a really old Crayola watercolor set on my bookshelf.  I had purchased it years ago, and honestly I don’t even know why it was on that shelf.  I picked up a pad of paper and splashed some color on the page.  And something about it really lit me up.  I wanted to learn more, and the rest is history! 

I would say that that moment when I picked up the paint set, that was my intuitive hunch.  In that moment I saw my environment in a new way and suddenly got the courage to try something entirely new.  Intuition can work in the quietest of ways.  Maybe you are at a store on a routine shopping trip, and out of the corner of your eye you see a plant you love.  Or perhaps you are at the bookshelf and a book catches your eye.  Intuition is always calling out to you, just waiting for you to listen. 

Sometimes it can feel like a splurge to try new things.  If you stick to a budget or a regimented way of doing things, it takes courage and a bit of recklessness to step outside of those bounds.  And then it takes wisdom to realize that you can dive right in and follow that passion where it leads. 

Try this intuitive exercise.  Take a walk around your house with a camera and just take photos.  Try to be thorough and get every room of the house.  Then go through the photos.  Maybe you have kids and they have some crayons that stand out to you, or perhaps there is a corner of your room that you have always wanted to change in some way.  Maybe you will see a book in a photo that captures your eye.  Follow those hunches and actually follow through on those inclinations.  Then begin to bring that same intuitive lens out to your world.

What do You Already Have in Abundance?

Looking at your life to see what you have an abundance of can be another way to figure out where your passion lies.  In my case I collect books and always seem to be reading something.  Then I began journaling all the time and have now amassed a huge collection of journals that store my memories.  Which has led me toward a love of writing…and now I’m writing this book!

Look around at your environment and see what you have in droves.  Maybe you have items in storage that can be used as a resource for a new hobby.  I knew a woman who studied fashion design in college and had all this fabric in storage.  She hadn’t sewn in ages and had later become a painter.  But something clicked so she got out that fabric and began to sew these adorable stuffed animals, which became a huge hit in her online shop. 

If you have a huge collection of cookbooks, perhaps you really would love to learn more about cooking.  Or maybe you collect clothes and would love to learn more about fashion?  Collections are typically a signpost that can guide you toward your passion.

Trusting Your Inner Voice

Everyone has an inner voice that whispers, and a lot of the time those whispers go ignored.  And while not every idea is a good one there are always ways to try out some of those ideas that show up on your mind over and over again. 

That inner voice is your own best friend, guiding you toward what is good for you in life.  You will know it is your higher self because it will have gentle, life affirming messages to give you and it will be wholly expansive prodding you to level up your life.

Keep an idea journal to document all those wild crazy ideas that keep nagging at you.  I often create lists of ideas that I can turn to later when my creative well runs dry.  List out all those things that sound fun, or that you might want to try one day and then begin checking the things off as you do them.  Some people like to create Life Lists, a list of things you want to do in this lifetime that includes those far out dreams and wild ideas down to the really small things you would love to experience in life.

What REALLY Grinds Your Gears?

Another way to discover a new passion is to figure out what makes you angry or upset about life.  Some people try to stuff down anger or control it to the point that they lose touch with what fills them with fiery rage.  But anger can be a touchstone to put you in touch with what you are passionate about.  There is a quote I love, which is to be the change you wish to see in the world.  Maybe it makes you livid when you see trash on the street.  Or maybe you get fiery when you hear about the mistreatment of animals.  You might drive down the street and see people in need, and wish the system would do more to help those people.  Or maybe climate change gets under your skin, and you wish you could do something to make a difference.

There are so many ways to get involved with causes you care about!  And they can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.  Some people join Greenpeace while others recycle, some people work at a soup kitchen while others give money to beggars on the streets.  Tune into areas that you would love to see some change in the world, and then research ways to get involved.  And get involved in a way that fits your life.  Even small actions add up over time. 

Following your anger, allowing your heart to lead can be a great way to figure out what you are passionate about!  It can also really help to create change in your community and make you feel great knowing you are part of the solution instead of sitting at home stressing and wishing things were different.