What is your relationship with passion?
Is passion a feeling you experience on a daily basis? Do you need to blow onto your inner fire from time to time? Is it a distant memory from the past? Or are you still searching your passion (for life)? Regardless of where you stand on this scale, I’d love to share some ponderings on a different perspective on passion, which hopefully brings a lot less pressure.
What experience first comes to mind when you think about passion?
I remember a few years back when I had just returned from my first digital nomad stay in Bali. Back in The Netherlands it was spring, nature was in full bloom. I was sitting underneath some trees by a beautiful pond when an idea seemed to land upon me, softly, like the leaf of a tree. It was an instantaneous inkling. I could have just let it go and moved on…
But passion was the air that filled this idea with life.
The more I let it take root, the more excited I became.
The idea was to organize a summit about not letting your dreams just be dreams, but taking action on them. It ended up becoming the ‘Do Your Dream Summit’ that took place in the summer of 2017 with nine ‘transformational teachers’ as I called them at the time.
“It starts with a spark” I wrote on the website. And when we add attention and action to that spark, it can become a fire.
Passion is often described as a fire. We’re “on fire”, or “lit”. This passion gives you the power to do things you usually would not. Choosing courage over comfort. Continuing to walk even when the road ahead is foggy, trusting that the next step will show. Or as the quote goes: ‘leap and the net will appear’ or even more poetically said:
“‘What if I fall? – Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”
It was suddenly no longer important that I had never hosted a summit or interviewed anyone before, or that I didn’t have a large network of people to approach for an interview. Somehow, I simply started writing mails to nine people I would love to have on the summit. Leaders in their field, who were living their dreams and helping others to do the same. I basically allowed myself to dare and dream… and.. they all ended up saying ‘yes’! Among them were authors, a popular online business coach and the founder of a dance movement who all lived out their passions in different ways.
It turned out that my coaching skills ended up serving well when it came to conducting the interviews and my camera shyness disappeared the moment I focused back on my mission to inspire people to do their dreams.
Passion can provide an attitude like Pippi Longstocking, the main character in the children’s books of Astrid Lindgren, who says: “I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.”
Whenever an idea lands in our hearts,
we have the choice to say no, or to follow the flow
When we choose latter, it may end up bringing us to beautiful, but also unexpected places. Fast-forward to 2018. I was in Bali for the second time, following my passion for travel as I lived and loved the digital nomad lifestyle. I was doing a five-day coconut fast (I know, call me nuts) and to top off the physical purification, I wanted to visit a water temple to purify myself spiritually. Standing in the water, it was busy that day, but a peace suddenly washed all over me. “The peace that passes all understanding” a Bible verse suddenly went through my head. Long story short, it ended up being one of the many synchronistic experiences that led me to finding Christian faith! Which in turn completely changed my life. In a good way. In the end.
While I was living at the pinnacle of my passions in Bali,
I unexpectedly found a new passion.
I could and would have never come up with it myself, but this literal leap of faith ended up being exactly what I needed. There it was again, the crossroads. Saying no, or following the flow. The latter gave me a sense of coming home, after years of traveling the world looking for a place to call my home. It filled me with a new peace, purpose, passion and love for life.
And yes, that zest for life is another way in which passion enriches our life.
It always makes me think of Italians. One of the reasons I love visiting Italy is the complete dedication they bring to basically everything they do. From telling a story to making a perfect cappuccino, from making art to making love, from the way they dress themselves to the incomparable food they serve… ok I may be over-generalizing here, but let’s say, a lot of Italians bring a sense of presence to everything they do. A well-known online business coach, who also happens to have Italian roots, puts it this way:
“The secret to finding your passion is to bring it to everything you do.” (Marie Forleo)
There we go! I used to think for years that finding my one-and-only passion would fulfill me. I can’t count the amount of quizzes, questionnaires and journals I filled out to find ‘my passion’. I never did. At least, not in that way. Because passion can be chased, but hardly caught with our head. Usually it catches (up with) us. We can spend hours thinking of things we loved to do as a child or ways we would live if we woke up with a million dollars on our bank account… all helpful questions to ponder, but it doesn’t help if our heart is not involved in it.
Our hearts can point us to our passion. We say that something (or someone:) makes our heart beat faster or makes our heart skip a beat. The heart symbolizes love. And now we’re getting to the gist.
Passion is often equated with love. Living your passion means doing what you love, being passionate about something means loving it.
And so at least linguistically speaking, we can say that living with passion can be described as living with love, right? Passion puts love into action. When we bring love to each moment, to each person we meet, to each task we do, to ourselves, we create com-passion and we fuel the fire in our hearts. It makes us come alive.
Living with love is a gift to others and to ourselves.
We now know that we can’t catch passion chasing it with our heads, but we can create the right circumstances for passion to catch up with us, by leading with our hearts, by living with love.
Instead of focusing on finding our passion, we focus on living with passion.
This puts us in the perfect position to perhaps receive a spark, an inkling of an idea or intuition. And if we don’t say no, but follow that flow, we might just end up finding our personal passion, our purpose in life, or in a phase of life. But even if we don’t, it won’t matter. We’ll still live a passionate life because we’re living it with love.
Of course I can’t end a blog article without a coaching question to reflect on:
Which area of your life could use more love?
What one action can you take today to do so?
Wishing you a beautiful rest of your day!