For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for my true passion. It seems all the self-help gurus start off by asking, “What is your passion? What turns you on and lights you up?” This is the point where my eyes glaze over, I slink down in my chair, and I have had to admit: “I don’t know.” There are certainly things I like doing. There are causes I care about. I am fascinated by certain topics and areas of research and contemplation. But is being involved in these things my true purpose and passion? Is this what I am here to do in this life? This is where I have gotten lost.
In these last few weeks, something around this search for my passion has begun to clarify for me. My perspective on what passion actually is has begun to morph. I had been thinking about my passion as something I would do. After all, when people speak about their passions, they are usually talking about something they do. For instance, they say things like, “Music is my passion,” or “Art is my passion,” or “Science is my passion.” When the self-help gurus attempt to draw out our passions, they ask things like, “What brings you joy? What are you doing when you feel joyful and alive? What makes you feel happy and passionate?” So, naturally, I’ve been thinking all this time that my passion and purpose would be wrapped up in something that I’d be doing.
Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if my passion might have less to do with what I’m doing and more to do with what I’m feeling, being, and then ultimately expressing into the world. And so I started to ask myself this:
What feeling or state of being do I most want to experience and wish with all my heart that others could also experience? If I could somehow gift myself and others any kind of experience/feeling/state of being, what would it be?
Would it be to feel loved? Safe? Valued? Inspired? Empowered? Connected? Cherished? Alive? Vibrant? Clear? At Ease? Awed? Joyful? Compassionate? Light? Open? Restful? Grateful? This is a whole different kind of question, and I’ve had to really get quiet and listen to my heart. Amazingly, what has come to the surface is something I cannot exactly put into words, yet it feels uniquely me. It is a specific feeling state that I have felt come forward inside of me… in fact, it feels like it is simply the real me coming forward. And what I’ve come to see is that THIS IS MY PASSION! I have been looking for my passion in the wrong place! All along, I had been thinking that there was something out there for me to do — some grand purpose — and that when I found it, I would know it and finally proclaim, “This is my passion! This is my purpose!” Instead, I have found my passion is an experience/feeling and not something inherent in something I will be doing. Rather, whatever I choose to do will simply be a vehicle for me to express my passion into the world. Of course, then I immediately understood something else all those gurus have been saying: It doesn’t really matter what you do. It only matters how you are being (and feeling) when you do it.
Have you ever noticed how inspired you can feel in the presence of someone who is passionate? I’ve had the experience of getting totally jazzed about some product a person is selling merely because that person seems so incredibly passionate about it. I admit I have bought some very strange items only to wonder later why in the world I bought them! What I am seeing now is that I was resonating with that person’s passion, not with what they were selling. We are vibrational beings, after all! I started to feel inspired, or joyful, or hopeful, or whatever qualities that person was being and expressing, because I was resonating, in my own way, with those qualities that they were embodying. Then, because of my confusion about the nature of passion, I mistakenly thought it was the product they were selling that was causing them to feel good (and so I bought the item as well, thinking it would cause me to feel something I desired). But it was not the product that was inspiring me. It was that person BEING their passion.
So for me, the question then became… okay, then how do I choose what to do? I still need a vehicle through which I can express my passion. If it doesn’t matter what I do, then how do I choose what to do? Here are some questions I came up with to help guide me in this process:
What might I choose to do where, when I do it, it feels easy for me to connect with, embody, and experience the quality of my passion? What could I imagine doing where it seems like it would be easy for me to feel and express that quality?
Do I have skills, talents, or gifts through which I could easily imagine conveying or expressing this quality (my passion) to others and to the world?
How can I, in ALL that I do, both embody (“be”) my passion and convey or express it to others?
This process is helping me form a vision and choose the vehicles through which I want to express my passion. Instead of trying to find things to do that would (supposedly) ignite my passion, I am instead practicing on a daily basis remembering and embodying the qualities — the feeling states — of my passion. I keep asking myself again and again, “What feeling do I most want to experience and wish with all my heart others could experience?” This is my passion! I let it fill me to the brim! Clearly, my passion isn’t just about me feeling good. I want to share it. I have found that the desire to share it — to express it — is inherent in the passion itself. And, what I’ve come to see now is that the way to share it is to BE it. When my whole being vibrates with my passion, others will begin to resonate (in their own unique way) with those qualities. This is how I can share my passion with others. Perhaps that’s at least partly why Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And so now it seems my life (and my challenge) is about bringing that passion into all that I do — for myself, and for all those whose lives I touch.
What’s your passion?
In love & in gratitude,
Awesome post Penny, thanks for sharing 🙂 I’ve learned many times over it’s about the being, not the doing, and yet I still often find myself asking “what can I -do- to express more of who I am and contribute stronger?”, accompanied by “…and make enough money to participate in society while doing so”. I love that you start with the feeling you most want to experience and the clarifying questions you ask. Look forward to reading more from you! 🙂 hugs
Thanks for your note! Yes, I am also finding myself asking those same questions you mentioned, and seeing and finding what “fits” with that quality of being I want to express and experience. Do you think we all have unique gifts to bring to the world, unique talents?
Penny! That’s almost a trick question.. 🙂 My instinct is to say “yes, of course!”. It feels like a given. At the same time, we all yearn to express our strongest life giving impulse, to exist in that feeling of being you mention. I think this feeling might be the very same potent energy in all of us, we just use different words to label it and choose different “earthly configurations” to express it. So yes, and, we’re all on the same journey. What do you think? 🙂
Hi Mari! Yes, I love how you said that. It’s like it’s a “both/and” rather than and “either/or” scenario. I suppose I might say it like this: We all express the same underlying Divinity in our own unique way. We’re already living our purpose just by being here, and yet we can also express it in a variety of ways. Hmmmm… love this! Thank you, Mari.
I’m growing increasingly aware of and fond of the both / and 🙂 Underlying divinity.. I like it. What would it look like if it wasn’t underlying, but in full expression? 🙂