Have you ever noticed how people look when they talk about their passion? Their eyes light up, their faces look animated and their bodies become charged with an energy you can’t ignore. Their passion transports them right in front of your eyes and, for a brief moment, you are transported with them.
Passion is a hard thing to resist. It is the energy of creative enterprise and the fuel that drives us to take risks and leave our comfort zones. It enables us to see a way forward when others see only obstacles. A life without passion is pointless monotony, a series of days merging relentlessly with little real meaning. Repetition of the ordinary without the fire of adventure.
Today I met a man whose passion transports him. He was another tutor I had to hurry out of my room because he was running overtime. He was animatedly discussing an issue with one of his students and hurriedly gathered his things when he realised the time. ‘It’s just maths, you know,’ he told me by way of an apology as he moved past. ‘It’s just so exciting!’
I laughed and said, ‘Not for me, I’m about the words baby!’ But I loved how the joy and excitement for his passion pervaded his entire being. I feel that way when I talk about writing.
We should all allow ourselves that feeling or, at least, the opportunity to explore our world so we can uncover our passion (or passions). When I mentor people, we frequently discover the key to their passion lies in the activities they loved as a child. For me, as an avid reader and rarely seen without a book in my hand when I was a child, it’s no surprise that my passion is words and writing.
For some people, their passion is not so obvious and that’s when I encourage the explorative approach. That is, if something grabs your attention, no matter how random or silly you think it may seem to someone else, move towards it. You see a flower arranging course offered at a local florist shop – enroll. You watch a television interview with an entrepreneur in another industry and they are giving a talk in your town next week – book a ticket. You’ve always wanted to learn belly-dancing – sign up for a class.
Your passion won’t be revealed to you until you allow the space for it to show up. You cannot uncover your passion by being passive. Passion is the opposite of passive and requires you to move, to extend yourself in new directions, to learn and to get uncomfortable. Inhibitions strangle passion and must be let go of. Instead you must allow yourself to be absorbed in the moment, to the exclusion of what is around you and to the exclusion of what others may think or believe of you. Your passion is wholly and solely about you and you alone.
It is life’s true adventurers I seek The ones who have thrown themselves into the deep end, almost drowned, then learned how to swim The ones who have lived through their dark night of the soul before rising to a new dawn The ones who have gone within, uncovered their passion then shared it with the world The ones who have a desire for healing and kindness that takes them to destinations where others fear to go The ones who look repression and judgement in the eye and refuse to bow down before it with grace The ones who take on men with guns and will not rest until they create a better world The ones who believe there is always more to do, more to grow, more to give, more to create, more to love.
They are the ones I seek They are the ones who will change the world They are the ones who will create peace They are the true adventurers for they take the overgrown paths And pave them for others to follow.
Sometimes when I meditate I see an old wooden ship, the kind with flapping white sails used to travel the seven seas hundreds of years ago. For me the ship is a symbol of my life, sometimes it disappears for a while on a voyage of discovery, but it always returns full of things that are meant to be mine, things I love, things I need to know and so on. I guess in some ways it is quite magical because it brings me many gifts and insights.
Whenever I see it disappear over the horizon I am little sad because when it is in port I know where I am and the ground beneath my feet feels solid. When it’s on a voyage of discovery I am unsure of myself because it is a time of growth. When you grow you can never be sure where you’ll end up or what will happen next.
Over the years, during these times of growth, I have worked out the types of things I need to take with me. I am after all, frequently on that ship taking a journey of discovery.
A few people I love and care about are starting their own journey of discovery at the moment so I thought I’d share my insights about what they might like to pack for the journey and some other things they may need to know.
Firstly, you must take your faith in you. Yes, I meant to type that. You must have faith in yourself and know that although your journey may be challenging, uncomfortable and yes, painful, you are strong enough to make it through. You should also remember there are people who have faith that you can do it; people like me. I have faith in you.
Secondly, you must ask for help when you need it. Sometimes, it will feel like you’re in a big ocean and there’s no one there to call on when you don’t know what to do or how to keep going. In those moments, ask the Universe to send you help and know that it will arrive. It may be a person, an idea or maybe just a life-jacket thrown your way, but it will come if you ask for it.
Thirdly, know that you are loved. Sometimes you are going to feel so alone on your journey and feel like no one cares. But never forget that even if you can’t take the ones you love on the ship with you, they will still be there. Their love for you will still be with you. It doesn’t go away just because you’re gone for a while or you go in a different direction. And even after the people you love pass away, they are still with you too. Love continues; that’s just what real love does.
Fourthly, know that you have the right to take your journey. So often we set sail feeling guilty because other people want us to stay as we’ve always been and do what we’ve always done. And honestly, you will probably find it hard to shed those old ways and habits. They will be like an anchor dragging on the bottom of the seabed; you will feel safe but stuck. Your progress will be intermittent and inconsistent.
Sooner or later you will have to choose to wind that anchor in, hoist your sails and leap through the waves ahead. But until then you will struggle, make some choices that aren’t great, and be kind of miserable a lot of the time. Humans are great at getting in their own way like that. But eventually, you will realise that you are worthy and you have a right to grow, explore and become the person you were born to be. And in that moment your journey will really begin because you will realise what is possible. You will realise that you are the captain of your own ship and can go wherever you choose, be whoever you want to be.
You will have freedom from all that was and the understanding that you can be all you wish to be.
I wish you wonderful things for your journey and a safe return to port when you are ready.
This morning I woke early after limited sleep to see my cousin/housemate off. He’s going on a two-week adventure and, although I could have slept through his departure, I preferred to get up and say goodbye.
B* is travelling to Papua New Guinea on a boys-own trip that will involve surfing, sand, fishing and no doubt some significant alcohol consumption.
And you should’ve seen his face as he rushed around the house gathering his things as the taxi waited outside.
He was grinning from ear to ear. The excitement was palpable and evident in every part of his body.
He was going on an adventure.
I loved seeing that look on B’s face. And I’m sure he will have an absolutely awesome time. Part of me was envious that I wasn’t going too – not that I’m a surfer by any means.
But it was the scent of adventure and travel that called me – the opportunity to explore the worlds of other cultures and above all, find my own way to a land that lies beyond the horizon. The chance to have an adventure lies tantalisingly in the distance.
And this year I’m going to do it.
I’m not sure how I’m going to get there, how I’ll pay for it, or where I’ll stay. But this year I will travel again. And just like all those times before, the experience will open my soul and expand my universe.
It’s time for some new adventures and today, I’m officially inviting them in.
In the meantime, I shall dream of places yet unseen and mysteries yet to unfold.
Since late last year I have thought of 2014 as ‘flight year’. I can’t tell you why exactly, but I’ve just felt this is the year so many of us will ‘take-off’ in our lives.
If 2013 was a year to purge ourselves of the old, 2014 is the year to let go of the last vestiges of our old luggage and take to the skies. It is our year to fly.
In the last few days it’s become even more clear to me that the Flight Year is indeed happening for many people I know. Their lives are taking unexpected turns and whereas previously they might have known exactly where they were going, this time the future is in many ways the great unknown.
They have not been passive participants in creating these changes in their lives. Instead they have decided to take a chance and trust themselves. This in itself has brought magical changes and opportunities for them.
One dear friend has recently, finally, begun to value herself and her business rather that relying so much on the approval of others. She’s seen opportunities and instead of saying, ‘I can’t do that’ she decided to say ‘Yes, I’m going to give it a shot.’ The financial and career opportunities are now pouring in and taking her in new and exciting directions she never dreamed were possible.
Another friend is leaving the city to return home, save money and then head overseas for as yet unplanned adventures. She’s always wanted to work overseas but was never quite sure how to make it happen. Then a change in her workplace made her realise she could do it. Now was the time. She decided to move back home and suddenly lucrative work opportunities in her home town were knocking on her door. She asked for what she wanted and has definitely received the financial assistance she needs. Next year she will be on a plane to Europe and her adventure will really begin.
The key to my friends beginning their Flight Year was a clear decision to take a chance and be open to change and opportunity. Once they did this, the Universe did the rest. An equally conscious decision to believe in themselves and let go of behaviour that wasn’t serving them anymore, also helped.
I have other friends who are about to begin their Flight Year. They are teetering on the edge of their old life, peering into the distance and trying to see what’s up ahead. And that is what’s holding them back. They must each make a conscious decision to leave behind the old before they can fully step into the new. They must decide to finish that project, relationship, job or business and walk away without having a clear or exact vision of what lays ahead. They must choose to take a chance on themselves and step into the unknown.
Once this happens the Universe will step in to assist (as it always does) and their next real adventure will begin. They may find themselves arriving at unexpected destinations they would never have planned. But it is through that journey they will still, most definitely, end up precisely where they are supposed to be.
So if you find yourself hesitating, remember that to realise your potential you must first trust in yourself. And secondly, you must trust that the Universe is looking after you and will help you to see the way ahead. You must also be prepared to let go of those parts of your life that are no longer right for you. Only after all this, can you begin your Flight Year.