Contributing Authors: Marla Funez, Danielle Rose, Theresa Birmingham, Marisa Goudy, Kerstin Zettmar and Jessica Laudati
Although it can be difficult discovering or rediscovering passion, you can jump-start healthy harmonious passion in your life.
No one can tell you what you love to do. You must figure this out on your own. Your tribe may give you direction or even encouragement, but following someone else’s passions or letting another individual live out their passions through you will be your greatest regret in life.
Why, you might ask, does passion matter?
Passion is the animator, just as Dr. Frankenstein’s corpse was brought to life with lightning. Your passion distinguishes you from that of a zombie walking through life in search of that spark.
According to a 2009 study published in Applied Psychology, it turns out passion truly is a player in quality of life. The study found that harmoniously passionate people experienced a higher sense of pleasure, self-worth, and meaning in life. They also had a higher overall level of vitality. Why use the term “harmoniously passionate”? Because, as it turns out, the nature of your passion is important, too. The study’s outcomes suggest it didn’t matter whether the person in question was obsessively passionate, or completely non-passionate about things, the results were often similar… Routinely harmoniously passionate people reap the positive benefits of living a life of passion.
Although passion may seem a complicated dream at times, focusing on our heart through meditation or other practices can help find that spirit and desire.
An unknown but obviously genius individual once stated, “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Does this not speak to passion? The quote also speaks to the depths of our soul. It speaks to our outlook on life and how we aim to approach the everyday. However, let’s be serious, these words are a lot easier said than done.
As is our human nature, we waiver. We let our light dull, we settle into this day-to-day life where we are going through the motions… putting one foot in front of the other. How often do we stop, ask ourselves what ignites that passion, and make conscious decisions to fuel that flame on a regular basis? It’s really a rather simple exercise to do.
The following are some of Mind Key’s favorite tips for unlocking more harmonious passion in your life and opening yourself to more self-actualization, pleasure, and vitality.
Uncovering Passion: What makes you tick?
1. Daily practice in passion
We need to slow down and regularly ask ourselves what ignites us. Then, we need to weave this practice of asking into our daily lives. As a society, we must learn to sit with ourselves more often. Really sit and examine these feelings.
As a yoga advocate/practitioner/teacher, Jessica Laudati says her knee-jerk reaction is to suggest everyone jump on a yoga mat and begin to develop a relationship with their bodies, minds, and souls. But this would be illogical, and not everyone has a passion for yoga and its benefits. Instead, she suggests that the process need not be a daunting one.
Jessica suggests this simple, powerful, life-changing approach to igniting and discovering passion in your life.
Answer these two questions, followed by two action steps.
- What makes me feel good? (and I mean really, really good. Alive. Radiant. Wholesome. Grounded.) Do more of that
- What does NOT make me feel good? (Relationships, jobs, daily habits, food, etc.) Do less of that
2. Meditation for focus and insight
Author and Psychology Professor, Theresa Birmingham, advises to Breathe. Focus. And hone in on one word: Passion.
If you aren’t regular with your meditation or you’ve never done it before, Deepak Chopra does a great beginner meditation that might get you in the mood. His meditation also helps you understand the importance of meditation and what exactly you should be paying attention to when meditating. When you have that down, you can better ground and center, and then come to a place where you’re able to meditate and focus on what your passion or passions might be.
3. Writing as a life-skill in passion
Since passion comes from within, coming to realize your potential passion(s) may be a subconscious activity. Perhaps meditation doesn’t work for you. Or perhaps you are more kinesthetic and need to have the physical piece (in this case, writing) to really get in the zone and discover you. So, we’re going old school.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen, or your computer, light a candle, and in big letters at the top, write, Passion. Or whatever word or phrase you need to write in order to get you into the place you need to be. Focus. Breathe. Mentally get your shit together. And then just write. Don’t think, don’t judge, and don’t question. Just write. Take ten minutes. And when that ten minutes is over, read what you wrote. Did you talk about your pets? Your kids? How you want to be a better wife? The joy you feel in taking care of children? How running numbers makes your mind feel alive?
Writing as reflection
A recent article states that even 20-40 minutes a day of reflection can help you be more successful and healthy.
What really matters to you? In that soul deep, “this really is going to direct my life” kind of way? About a hundred different possibilities cross our minds each day, but it’s the ideas that show up on the page (often again and again in slightly different ways) that really need our attention. They’re the real deal. When we take up writing as a way to work through our passions, we may also need to return to our writing practice day after day and year after year to help clarify our thoughts and find a way to discern what’s a possibility and what’s a true passion.
Writing coach and professional storyteller, Marisa Goudy said that it’s her own lifelong writing habit that informs her passion for helping others discover and deepen their own writing practices. If you’re looking to join up with other writers and get support with a regular writing practice, Marisa has created a group called the Sovereign Writers Circle. This group supports healers, therapists, coaches, and transformation professionals who want to use a writing practice to illuminate their path forward and, yes, help them uncover their own creative passions and their desire to change the world.
4. Yogis do it better
We cannot speak to the topic of passion without honing in on the power of yoga. This powerful practice teaches us every day to develop a relationship with the many facets of who we are. Extending from the surface level, our physical being, to the depths of our souls, our spiritual being… We have this profound capability to rewire our mind and consciously put an effort in on a day-to-day basis to reach that passion-fueled feeling of “aliveness.”
Allow us to offer a couple very simple exercises anyone can do at home. Jessica suggests two options for poses to try:
- “Legs up the wall.” You lay on your back, slide your seat up to the wall and extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling creating an “L” shape with the body. All you do is hang out here! Try three minutes, ten minutes, half an hour! It shifts the direction of our blood flow and allows the energy to circulate in a different manner then it does all day every day.
- “Supported Fish Pose.” Using a pillow, a rolled-up yoga mat with a blanket over it, a bolster if you have one, or really anything soft that resembles a cylinder…place it the long way beneath your back (the length of your spine) and drape yourself over it. Again, hang out here! Open the arms out to the side or stretch them over your head and just relax. Long slow deep breathing or just organic inhales and exhales. This is a very gentle heart opener. It opens us up, leaves us vulnerable and ready to receive energy. As you lie here you can visit those questions I stated above. Five minutes! That’s all it will take.
Do not be afraid to tap into your heart or your own emotions. Do not be afraid to ask yourself “what sets my soul on fire?” Go for it. Just go for it and see what unfolds from there.
5. If all else fails, just jump in
If you’re looking to discover your passion in a career, you might take an online career test. However, other than career tests, meditation, and freewriting, sometimes the best thing to do is just to jump in. Perhaps you’re already doing something on the side that is your passion, but you want to take it a step further by expanding it as a business. Or maybe it’s a passion that isn’t money making. It doesn’t mean it can’t be lucrative, though! In this case, getting a book or finding a club where you can grow your skills would be beneficial. In general, the point of the journey to uncovering passion in your life is that is, in fact, a journey. That means that digging in and seeing what you love may be the first step. And sometimes, that’s just trial and error.
Jump-start healthy harmonious passion in your life
Those who live to be one hundred all seem to have certain things in common. A sense of purpose is big on the list, as is feeling passionate about an activity in their lives. And even if we do not reach a hundred years, making sure we have some passion in our lives, makes the years we do have worthwhile.
Artist, healer and yoga instructor, Kerstin Zettmar believes we all need something to get up for in the morning other than simply going to work to pay the bills. It is essential for our physical, emotional and spiritual health to get lost, on a regular basis, in something that makes us forget what time it is. In Psychology, this is termed, flow.
What that flow activity is may vary greatly from person to person, and can range from planting a gardening to computer programming. The main thing is that you love it and experience a deep inner reward from doing that practice that feeds your soul and inner fire.
Kerstin often asks her clients, “What do you love and feel passionate about?” Too often, we don’t know the answer, but that is because we have focused so much on other people’s needs that we have forgotten about who we are what makes us happy. The irony is that a person who is deeply content and feels enthusiastic about life often helps others by just being in the room. Passion can be contagious, igniting a joy for life in others.
So, find your heart and fire. Do what makes you soar. And jump-start healthy harmonious passion in your life.