Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Why Passion Matters

Do what you love; discover your passion; follow your heart.
We hear these statements often.
Yet many people simply label them as new-age nonsense, with responses such as, "I mean, really; passion might make sense if I didn't have this thing called life in the way; so get real.
" OK, I will get real.
If you're not living what truly matters to you, you're being someone else.
While you may indeed allow "the stuff of life" to get in the way of your dreams, I suggest that's a choice you make - a choice based in some very bad assumptions about life - assumptions you probably don't even know you're making, assumptions which, if you did know you were making, you'd not even believe.
Yet this is precisely what steers the course of life away from dreams, away from what matters most, away from passion.
And all the while, you may be wondering why you don't love your life.
The assumptions? They're all some form of a story you've heard before - if you work hard and go along with the crowd, you'll make a lot of money and be happy.
I know, because for 30+ years of my adult life, I did this.
I followed all the lessons, all the rules about "how life should be.
" My life was a perfect reflection of their teachings.
Problem was the teachings were nonsense, so my life led me down a very long dead-end street.
These assumptions had blocked my ability to see my own truth and passion.
When I finally came to realize this, my world changed dramatically.
I'm deeply grateful for the shift in perspective.
Whatever matters most to you in the biggest picture of life (call it passion, essence, truth, soul, purpose) (1) is unique to you (so you won't find it either going along with the crowd or in a job ad in the local newspaper), and (2) has always been inside you, waiting for you to honor it.
You discover it by learning to notice its clues, which are offered to you continually, throughout the course of life.
Only another of the [bad] assumptions tells you not to listen to the clues! Here's why passion matters.
If how you choose to live your life doesn't match your inner truth, you'll always feel at odds (some form of anxiety) with how your life is going.
Although you may not be consciously aware of it, that anxiety stems from the mismatch between who you're being on the outside and who you truly are on the inside.
This is one of the ways passion "informs" you of its presence - asking you to listen to the anxiety.
When you bring everything into alignment, however - so that who you are, how you relate to others, and what you do in your life and your work are all one - you experience peace and satisfaction more pervasive than you may ever have dreamed possible.
Life is a journey littered with obstacles - challenges, trials, risk, uncertainty, chaos.
They're all part of what makes life rich and rewarding.
Trying to make them go away in order to force a result is one way to avoid the experience of living, not a way to be more alive.
Far more powerful than this futile "command & control" approach is to choose a path for which you have undeniable love.
When you're doing something you love, passion carries you through life's obstacles without stress.
Life simply can't feel like work if there's love driving it; it feels like love! In the words of Kahlil Gibran, "Work is love made visible.
" An exercise to help tap into passion: Stop what you're doing for an hour some evening.
Recall a time or times when you felt completely embraced in the flow of life, a time when life felt like pure joy, even if only fleetingly.
It will likely be a time when you felt so involved in a pursuit you loved that you were unaware of the outside world.
Although life may still have had its problems, what set this time apart was that you cared more about what you put into life than what you got out of it.
Replay in your imagination your thoughts, feelings, sensations.
Just listen.
They will tell you of your greatest dreams, your essence.
Follow where they lead.
Do this practice regularly as a way to discover and honor your deepest truth.

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