Living Your Most Passionate LifeGord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak RSS May 1, 2011
It seems that many of us have been feeling like we’re treading water in recent months, or even over the past couple of years. The sheer enormity of world and personal events has rested heavily on our shoulders. It is also noticeable that some people are slowly emerging from this state of inertia and finding a new source of energy.
In every person there dwells an incredible force called passion. For many, it is experienced occasionally in small bursts of energy. For others, it is a lived sense of inner power propelling the person forward with a vigour and commitment in all that they do. Passion is an outward expression of our spiritual self, which fuels our inner energy. Those living with passion have intense and long lasting energy reserves. They do not tire all that easily, as they are continuously recharged by their spirit.
Living our passion puts us into a spiritual alignment, assisting us at every level of mind, body, and soul. Much has been written about how, if we live our passions, the money will flow – and it can be true. However, living our passions involves more than just money or wealth – it is a spiritual belief in the interconnectedness of all aspects of our lives, from health to happiness.
It is said that by living our passion, all of our material rewards are somehow magnetically drawn to us, and we will be fulfilled. However, tapping into the passion of our spirit is not as easy as we might like to believe. Some people have difficulty identifying the factors in their lives that make them feel passionate, excited, and alive. Many do not trust that this may be what their spirit wants because of the feelings that they generate, or they do not trust themselves to follow through to actually live their passion.
We all have, somewhere within us, interests that hold our attention and get us excited. But our passion can be blocked by our egos and belief systems; we worry about what our world is supposed to look like and what we are supposed to do with our lives. For many people, the lack of spiritual energy and living without passion can cause feelings of stuckness, lethargy, and depression, all the way through to physical illness.
IDENTIFYING YOUR PASSIONS
It is important to recognize that unless we identify our passions, planning a vision or goal to work towards will be very difficult. To help identify our passions, we must be willing to let go of our inner judgments, our list of ‘shoulds’, and our learned belief system of how life is supposed to be. We need to put aside what we think other people expect of us and how they expect us to live our lives. This is a lot to put aside, but these are all the things that stand in the way of getting in touch with some of our passions.
Here are some strategies to uncover your unique wellspring of passion:
1) In a calm state, remember some of your childhood interests. What about your childhood dreams? As you remember them, perhaps you have already achieved some of them and are living them. Some of your dreams may have been dashed by others as impractical or too much work, or perhaps you were told that you lacked the ability to make these dreams come true. Remember those as well. They were based on other people’s beliefs about you and may not be true in the least.
2) On a sheet of paper, write down these old memories and see if they are still things that excite you. They may form the basis for some of your passions today.
3) On another piece of paper, let your imagination run wild and list all of the things that make you feel excited, energized, and creative. Try not to edit yourself; simply let everything flow through your mind onto paper. Do this in your own handwriting rather than on a computer. It can be much more powerful to see things in your own handwriting.
4) When you feel that you are finished, go over your list and see what you wrote. How do you experience this list of things that energize and excite you? You may feel excited seeing this list or you may have an inner critical voice poking at the silliness of this exercise, as well as your list. Ignore the critical voice!
5) What things from this list are in your life today? Perhaps you are one of the few people who are living their passion. What items from your list would you like to see happen in your life? Have you tried to bring one of your passions into your life without success?
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU
While we have identified that our passion is an expression of our Spirit, we need to look at how ego and belief systems interact with our ability to live our passions. Rather than spending enormous amounts of time going through entire belief systems, an easier route is to identify what motivates us. This requires us to be very honest with ourselves (even when we may not want to be) in order to know what keeps us going in the direction that we have been going. We need to know what payoffs we get from some of our interests and behaviours.
Payoffs are crucial aspects of ourselves because we only do things that have an ego-feeding payback. If someone says that their passion is to heal the planet, it will only be successful if their motivators are incorporated into the overall plan of action. Regretfully, very few people are so completely altruistic that their ego does not need recognition. Everything we do has a payoff of some sort. We only stop doing things in our lives when there is no longer a payoff.
A motivator may be money, recognition, a sense of feeling loved and appreciated, or freedom from pain or discomfort. They are all tied to the ego and its perception of the world. There is no judgment here; it is a human reality that we must come to terms with. All of our behaviour is tied to this perception of how we handle the world. On a piece of paper, write what you believe motivates your behaviour and interaction in your world. This is not an especially easy exercise, but it is a necessary one.
Once you have finished this exercise, take a look at your passions and see where your motivators fit in. If you wish to bring your passions into your life, they need to be able to incorporate your motivators. While your spirit and your ego may seem to be opposing forces, they can be reconciled to work together and move you into a life more in line with the passion of your spirit and the strength of your ego. If, for example, your passion is to work with children, what might your motivator be? Perhaps children make you feel loved and appreciated. Perhaps your passion is for animals – could it be their unconditional love that motivates you? Perhaps the vulnerability of children and animals makes you feel strong and powerful or in control. This is not to say that your love for children or animals is not there; the question at a deeper level is what you get out of this interest.
When you can take your list of passions and your list of motivators and begin to match them up, you are well on your way to living your passions. If you have tried unsuccessfully in the past to live your passions, perhaps what was missing was your motivator. Reconciling your spirit and ego needs (both are vitally important) leads to all sorts of wonderful changes, realizations, and achieved passions. Do a reality check to see where you are today on your journey – including age, health, and any other possible limitations to the viability of your passionate interests. However, variations are always able to fit with your current reality.
Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak are co-founders of the Transformational Arts College of Spiritual and Holistic Training. The College offers professional training programs in Spiritual Psychotherapy, Spiritual Director, Holistic Health, and Coaching. For more information or for a course calendar, call 416-484-0454 or 1-800-TAC-SELF, or visit www.transformationalarts.com. To receive their monthly e-newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org