It’s hard to get out of bed and start your day with excitement when you’re headed to a job that bores you to tears. I know. I’ve had plenty of days like that. Tedium and dullness are your companions in a life with no passion. Passion is defined as a powerful and compelling force. It is a precursor to creation. It’s that feeling you get when you are so excited about something that it’s all you can think about. Dali had a passion for expressing himself that was to act as a catalyst for his hundreds of famous paintings. James Michener had a passion for history and storytelling which resulted in dozens of wonderful books. It is one of the tragedies of our education system that we are not encouraging children to explore the things they are passionate about and to view the future as one of infinite possibilities. Those who have great passion accomplish great things because their passion feeds their purpose and meaning in life. I used to think it was my job to find that thing I was passionate about, somewhere outside of me. Now I realize you don’t find your passion by looking outside yourself, it resides in you and is a part of you. It’s your spark; the thing that makes you unique. It becomes a matter of self-discovery to recognize it and cultivate its power.
Unfortunately, when it came to choosing a career, I wasn’t taught to nurture my life’s passion. Instead, I was taught that success meant I needed to get a degree, find a job with good benefits and work until retirement (thanks to mom and dad and societal norms at the time). No one talked about liking or loving your job, or God forbid feeling passion for your job, just that you needed to find a good one. No one ever suggested I find my calling based on what I innately loved to do. I had to learn that on my own through the inspiration of others.
In middle school, I was inspired by a physical therapist that came to our house to work on my father, who had had open heart surgery and a massive stroke just after I was born. I was fascinated as I watched her stretch him and work on his partially paralyzed muscles. I remember how eagerly he anticipated his sessions and the relief it gave him. From then on, I decided I would go to school to become a physical therapist, which seemed to satisfy both criteria by combining what I thought I would love along with the practical trappings of a successful career that society and my parents approved.
Long story short, chemistry was my nemesis and the reason I ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Classics, and later a Master’s degree. Looking back, I am eternally grateful I didn’t go to PT school, largely because I would not have experienced all the amazing travel adventures I had had in my twenties. I would have been chained to a 9-5 existence somewhere, working for a corporation, dreading Mondays. This is exactly what I thought I would have to do eventually so I chose to defer finding a ‘real job’ as long as I could and I traveled as much as I could. However, one of the side effects of traveling is exposure to many diverse cultures and lifestyles. This allowed me to imagine possibilities for myself I would not otherwise have known. Gradually, I came to own the fact that I really do create my reality, so I began creating more of what I wanted by changing my limited thoughts and beliefs to align with unlimited possibilities and what my heart wants.
The first life course correction was made when I decided to go to massage therapy school. I had flirted with the idea for about ten years but never considered it a viable career option because it didn’t involve a four year degree, nor did I know anyone making a living from massage; this was the late 80’s and 90’s after all. Ultimately, the dread and boredom of teaching middle school for the rest of my life, and the urge to work for myself, finally sent me to massage school in 2002. I had finally found my calling and realized that I could build a massage practice and create a schedule for myself that brought more balance and joy into my life.
In order to start my own business, I had to stretch beyond my comfort zone and learn about marketing, networking, accounting, and general business administration. These subjects held very little interest for me until I saw their value in helping me realize my dream. My passion fueled my purpose for going outside my box and gave me abundant motivation to figure out how to be self-sufficient and successful. This has led to a sense of purpose and fulfillment in my life. I love what I do and, in sixteen years, I have not once dreaded going to work!
I am consciously crafting a life that brings me happiness, from the time I open my eyes in the morning until I go to bed at night. It has been a challenge at times, to let go of my old programming and begin creating exactly what I want; but it gets easier the more I tune into my heart and make decisions based on what brings me joy.
So here’s the challenge: What are your passions? Ignite that energy that wants to create through you. Incorporate more joy into your life by doing those things that you love and by being with those people who lift you up and add to your life.
Heather aka Indigo Girl