I was diagnosed with cancer last year, and it sent me into a spin that resulted in my partner moving out of our home. After that, several of my long-term friendships ended. I also quit a successful 30-year career. Despite a lingering depression through all of this, I felt like the cancer forced me to stop and look at my life. What I realized more than anything else, is that somewhere along the way I lost my passion. I have read books and blogs about passion, but nothing has really answered my longing. How do I get passion into my life?
Weed. Not the drug, the activity. Weed out tasks, beliefs, emotions, expectations, and relationships that trap you into making choices based on fear or loathing.
Passion demands fertile ground and lots of it. Simplify your life, reduce your responsibilities and cut back on obligations. Streamline your daily schedule, leaving copious amounts of free time. Don’t fill that free time. Passion is the energy that exists within each of us when we remove the obstacles to knowing ourselves. Busyness is one such obstacle. We need breathing room for prayer, reflection, time in nature, spontaneity and diving deeply into an all-consuming study of a single subject. Intense interest and enthusiasm nurtures our passion.
Choosing to orient your life toward passion requires courage. You will be steering into other people’s jealousy or envy and away from their expectations. For some people with certain kinds of cancer, the pursuit of passion is transformational. It reboots something deep within the body, a mystical union of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the self.
Here’s an explanation from one of my favorite books, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield: “The world is entirely new, viewed from the Self. … Miraculously, cancers go into remission. People recover. Is it possible … that the disease itself evolved as a consequence of actions taken (or not taken) in our lives? Could our unlived lives have exacted their vengeance upon us in the form of cancer? And if they did, can we cure ourselves, now, by living these lives out?”
As you free yourself from the life you assumed you were stuck in, the new choices you make will be the answers to these questions. So, be true to the best of yourself. Keep moving forward. Resolve to go deeper into who you are called to be. That’s where the passion is. After all, passion is not magic. Passion is the essence of who we are when we are free.
My ex-wife married a guy who has it made financially. I live in a tiny apartment, and I am trying to get my company on track. Between the divorce and the economy, my business sucks. When it’s my weekend with the kids, they don’t want to come over. Their mom’s house is all tricked out, so I feel bad forcing them to visit, even though I really want to see them. I don’t know if I should give in and let them stay with her. Any ideas?
Yes, teach your kids that people are more important than stuff. If you behave as if what you have is enough, your kids will be a step closer to accepting your home and lifestyle. When they complain, don’t take offense. Reframe their whining into life lessons.
If you are consistent in repackaging their problems into teachable moments and if you don’t take complaints personally, your children will grow to understand what love is. In the process, you will heal the wound in you that fears that you are not valued unless you earn exceptional amounts of cash and use it to buy lots of stuff.