Greetings, Luminous One!
We're going to explore Passion and Purpose and how they relate. Today, let's begin by examining how they show up in our lives.
It's really a 'chicken and egg' discussion about which comes first - I'm sure we can all make a case for either scenario, so we won't go there...
But what's abundantly clear is that one fuels the other, back and forth, ad infinitum.
Said another way, Passion is the 'What' and Purpose is the 'Why'.
I don't know about you, but I've had multiple Passions throughout my life, which took me down various roads for different periods of time.
However, when I look back, there's been one overriding Purpose throughout: to compassionately lift myself and others to be the best humans we can be, whatever that looks like.
It took me a while, but once I became aware of my Purpose, it reshaped how I approached life decisions thereafter because everything had to be considered through that lens.
And that's been super helpful because being the curious bunny that I am, I've eagerly started down a wide variety of tunnels, only to have to pull myself out if I came to realize that they didn't further my Purpose.
Now, not everyone has a singular life-long Purpose - they often alter as life changes.
And even that word itself feels rather grandiose, doesn't it?
A better question might be: How can I invest my time and energy in a way that feels meaningful?
But why is it so important to identify it at all?
To have meaning, our lives require both passion and purpose. A life without passion is like a furnace without fuel, and without purpose, like a ship without a rudder. -Mardy Grothe
Because Purpose/Meaning might just be THE most fundamental element of a happy life.
I realize it can be agonizing to not know what one's reason for being is because so many have asked me for guidance around that in sessions over the years. Often the answer is right under the nose, hiding in plain sight.
I usually start by asking, "What were you really good at or were drawn to as a child?"
Our early proclivities can be big hints about what brings us pleasure naturally and are often the key to both our Passion and Purpose.
Sadly, these can get snuffed out along the way for a variety of reasons: can't make money at it, not skilled enough, not aligned with family expectations, etc. All those scary, judgmental voices.
No matter what life path choices you end up making, acknowledging those fears and opening up a dialogue with them is always a good first step in freeing yourself from their constraints.
(My suggestion is to release them ASAP because it's your life, and no one else's. Tempus fugit!)
Ok, so you've released your fears and embraced your Passion and Purpose. Does that mean it's going to be easy sailing from here out?
Um, no. Sorry. There are always hardships to be endured.
WITH EVERY GREAT PURPOSE COMES PASSION AND CHALLENGE
Or as Mark Manson honestly states:
"Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So, the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days."
On this note, I want to tell you a little story about how a Passion can grab a person, change their life and reveal their Purpose.
Jake Borden is a young friend of mine who became good friends with my daughter in middle and high school. He was a bit of a wild child but very sensitive, charming, smart and fun.
I didn't know his mother well, yet somehow became a peripheral part of her care team when she developed brain cancer. Her passing when Jake was only 14 sent him straight into a world of hurt. Those of us who had been close to his family rallied around him as best as we could, but he seemed understandably lost at sea without the loving support of his mom.
Instead of the confinement of college, Jake carved his own path, roaming the world in search of ... himself, answers, God? He took tremendous risks and stared his fears in the face as he gobbled up life experiences all over the globe.
Upon returning home, Jake became an apprentice to a (famous) National Geographic photographer and BOOM, once a camera was in his hands, he got lit up with a Passion that soon courageously took him into war zones and jungles, up mountains and into foreign mines, to name a few.
His ensuing pictures are remarkable in how he witnessed those environments and people: compassionately raw and never flinching from his subject. (see above) I'm sure right now he's trying to figure out how to get to Turkey so he can photographically capture the human stories happening there for the rest of us.
Two years ago at 26, he finally was ready for higher education and enrolled at the Columbia School for Special Studies, a program first established for WWII veterans returning from overseas. There, Jake has found new aspects of himself that continue to fuel his Passion for chronicling life through photography and I couldn't be more proud if I was his mother. (Pretty sure she feels the same way!)
Why am I telling you all this? Because it's a great example of the challenges that go hand-in-hand with upholding a dream. Jake's Passion has created his Purpose and now they won't let him go. While he's been blessed to discover something that gives his life meaning, it's a difficult profession to support oneself in even while it's such a noble cause to put truth and beauty into the world.
I trust that these challenges will help Jake's vision to eventually flower even more abundantly. I feel blessed to have witnessed his unfolding and to be a supporter of his goals.
Much love and infinite blessings,