Earlier this year, my dear friend and PD features editor Jen and I talked about our themes for 2015. My mantra (as you dumplings all know by now because I keep harping on about it) was Abundance. Since the New Year, it’s been in the back of my mind, shifting my perspective and behaviors, and hopefully later I will be able to write a progress report for you. 🙂
Jen’s mantra was Passion, which was why she also chose to make this heart chakra inspired recipe. Her choice made me think about all the different connotations of ‘Passion.’ When I was younger, I definitely thought of myself as passionate, in the sense that I was emotionally keen, both highly observant and expressive. My passion as a teenager was definitely music, and my cello teacher always praised my emotional sensibility (my “getting it”) over technique. It made me proud to be seen that way–which may have been my downfall because had I been praised less for passion, I may have worked harder on my technique and ultimately become a better player. On the other hand, her other pupil (and my schoolmate) got the opposite assessment of not really getting the emotion part, but being superbly technical. He and I even went to the same college, a year apart. I didn’t really play the cello much in college or afterwards, but I have no question in my mind that he still plays often, if not every day. Ultimately he was the more passionate one, in this case.
If passion isn’t emotional sensibility, then what is it? Is it doing something you love no matter what? Is it consistency against the odds? Is it a form of courage to take charge of your life? Or is it about filling your life with romance, beauty, and smoldering love? I think, ultimately, that passion is not just one, but all of those things.
Here are 5 ways to live more passionately every day.
1. Spend at least an hour each day working on something you’d like to do for the rest of your life.
Is your work what you want to be doing for the rest of your life? Unfortunately, for many of us, the answer is a No. Most of us have jobs that provide us with financial stability, but not necessarily feel like “this is it.” If so, even if you’re dead tired at the end of the night (I hear you), spend at least an hour working on what you really, really want to do: your dream job, which if you ever attain, you would happily do for the rest of your life. If you can’t allot 1 out of 24 hours in a day to your dream, how could you ever hope to achieve it? Tune out the fatigue, dishes to be done, the noise of self-doubt and discouragement, and just get into your zone. Make it a priority.
2. Start from a place of profound self-love.
Don’t let your “passion” become another tool to self-discipline and self-torture. Is this becoming another way to test your strength or prove something to someone? Is this passion making you feel drained or bad about yourself? Following your passion isn’t easy, but true passion is never draining or soul-crushing: its challenges should also be nourishing and exhilarating. A quick test: When you’re doing something out of passion, you should feel rewarded by the very process, and not just the results. Commit to enjoy the process and to never scold yourself no matter what happens. If you start from this base of self-love, you will always have the courage to keep following your passion. (Which you will need. Because long hard road.)
3. Make plans.
As Oprah has said, “Life gives you what you have the courage to ask for.” Not making plans is like going to a restaurant and not ordering what you want, and asking the waiter, “Please give me whatever you think I should have.” (Never a good idea.) Of course, there’s always a (good) chance that your order is going to be messed up. But you have to at least first ask for what you want. Make your plans a bit out of your reach so you have to grow in order to achieve them. Be imaginative and fill your list only with things that make you truly excited. Do you need to live in another country? Have your own company? Do you want only the most passionate love affairs? (More on that later). You only live one life–why would you want anything else?
4. Keep your heart open to experiences of beauty, joy, and love.
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver
The emotional sensibility part of passionate living comes down to: observation, experience, and expression. Notice your surroundings. Feel the weather. Take note of your friends or strangers. Be okay with laughing as well as crying. And express these kernels of life in a way that makes sense to you, whether that means having a private dance party in your room with your cat, talking to your friends, doing yoga, or making art.
5. Just be yourself.
There is nothing more apt to inspire passion than knowing who you are and not making any apologies for it. This inspires passion in yourself, for your life; it also is one of the most attractive qualities out there, and inspires others to feel passion for you. Passionate love is basically being understood and loved for who you are, and loving someone for who s/he is. (Sounds simple, but think about it). Making that happen starts from being completely yourself.
I want to hear all about your passions. Do you self-identify as “passionate”–if so, in what sense? What is your passion? Me: art, nature, love. Always. 🙂
More on Inspired Living: How to Change Your Narrative
Photo: Kainet via Flickr