All of the stories in my blog posts are retold with permission.
One of the blessings of working in community services and teaching is the people one meets. Rarely did I come across someone who wasn’t wise, passionate about social justice and cared deeply for others. Here’s an example: during a lunch break one day, a gorgeous, wise colleague told me a story about her daughter.
Image from http://www.timclayton.photoshelter.com
Her daughter was tremendously talented at physical activity, sport in particular. Anything she tried was highly successful. Hers was a restless passion, not unusual for her age, every couple of years she moved from one thing to the next. My friend was feeling rather down, as her daughter had been a State champion in one sport and had to decided to give it away.
In a reflective moment, my friend said the most amazing thing:
“I suppose the gift isn’t the talent is it? It’s the passion!”
She was exactly right. For many years I had thought that being naturally talented was the important thing, but really it’s the passion. To pursue and keep pursuing that thing, whatever the natural talent, that is the true blessing. Of course, I mean something that is not destructive to self or others, however you may define this.
Here are a number of beautiful examples of passionate people in my life.
Image from http://www.characterstrengths.co.uk
One of my sisters has always been academically successful. I remember in early primary school, my sister would arrive home from school with a new assignment and immediately start working on it, pursuing it methodically and with fervour. She has gone on to be at the top in her chosen field, medicine, and she recently told me:
“I was never motivated by success. I was never motivated by getting good grades or competing with others. The truth is that I had a thirst for knowledge and loved learning. This was my passion!”
A passion is a gift, but an enduring or lifelong passion is a blessing indeed!
Image from http://www.ebay.com
Another of my sisters is a successful art historian at one of Australia’s leading Universities. She has published many books and travels each year for research. She has secured research scholarships at some of the world’s top universities. But here’s the thing, my grandmother told the story of her as a little girl, whenever she visited, she would explore my grandmother’s china and decorative arts collection. Never for the purpose of acquisition, but to appreciate and admire the beauty of the fine china jugs, the tea sets, and other beautiful objects. What an amazing lifelong passion!!
Image from http://www.flickr.com
My dear brother, I think of him as the man with the magical ears! For as long as i could remember he has loved music, it feels like music flows in his veins. He plays numerous instruments and spent many years composing and arranging music. I feel so blessed to have him introduce me to jazz, classical and other great music. The work of fabulous jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespe, Chuck Mangione, etc. He introduced me to a whole world of magic and melody. When I’m really lucky, he still sends me compilations of music and suggestions for emerging musicians. Over the years, he has found innovative ways to weave his passion into his life, including music for community events, lighting for bands and photography at gigs.
I’m immensely proud of my siblings, particularly having seen first hand the years of hard work, dedication, courage and personal sacrifices that have gone into their success.
Image from http://www.s463.photobucket.com
Not everyone has a clear passion. I certainly didn’t seem to. For many years I felt lost and unsure of my direction and purpose, and the truth is, that’s ok. It took me a long time to come to understand and accept myself. I’d spent many years closed off and numbing my passions. After loads of healing and spiritual work, I’ve faced my fear of failure and found the courage to pursue some passions. Here are some examples:
Image from http://www.casnocha.com
At the end of my first Vipassana retreat, (total silence for 10 days, 12 hours per day of meditation), I was on such a high and so happy that I saw two paths unfold in front of me, one totally dedicated to the spiritual path, the other, going back home to my current life with spirituality woven throughout. This is my passion for spiritual development and following a reflective path.
Image from http://www.lovebugstudios.com
At my first quilting class, I distinctly remember sitting at the sewing machine, overcome with a wave of exhileration. In that moment I thought that I could do quilting for the rest of my life and couldn’t remember having been so happy. This is my passion for colour and creativity.
Image from http://www.empiricalmag.blogspot.com
Finally my garden, each day it calls to me and at the moment I am finding it hard to do anything else. The digging, weeding, mulching, planting, it’s so exciting to see the birds and other curious animals drop in to see what’s happening (and find snacks in the upturned soil). This passion involves creating habitat for the animals and a beautiful environment for healing, helping Gaia move back into balance. My garden reflects my passion for justice, love and beauty.
It’s ok to be restless or unsure of your passions, but the key is a willingness to play, explore and uncover them. To stop being afraid, (or despite being afraid), dedicating yourself to that which you love. Sometimes when we’re are truly blessed, we are able to derive an income from pursuing our passions, if not, then there’s other amazing and creative ways we can weave our passion into our lives.
Image from http://www.cariseasy.com
My partner has a lifelong passion for how things function, particularly metal work and vintage cars. He fixes computers for work and pursues his car restoration hobby in his spare time. I love supporting him to pursue his passion.
So here’s to you and your passions!!
Whatever they may be, let you find time for them and may you manifest them in your life on your own terms.
If your passion is unclear, then I wish for you time for play, exploration and experimentation. It may not be a thing that you do, it might be a love of justice, exploring ideas, socialising with friends, raising children, community building, caring for others or something else.
Whatever it is, enjoy it because you totally deserve it!!
PS Here’s a photo my brother Tim wanted to include, it’s of the Australian Greens. He’s also passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice.
What a beautiful post! What a diverse set of siblings you have. I’m still working on embracing my passion, not the thing it involves but the feeling it creates when I do it. So glad to have you in my life, walking the path.
Oh and I LOVE that pic of the colours and quilting/crafting room *Homer drool*. Why yes, colour may be a thing 😉
Your joy at connecting to your passions is palpable. 😀
oh yeah, total drool central on that crafting room!! i’d love to create in one like that!! i love that picture of the passion not being a thing, but the feeling it creates, such a great way to view it! thank you, your insights are amazing nicky! much love sx
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Such a cool post to read and learn from. One of my passions is on hold somewhat, I love gardening. Where I am staying I have a wee patch to play in which helps heaps. Much to reflect upon xox
oooh! i love your passion vickey! sometimes the smaller the better with gardening, so it doesn’t become an overwhelming job! one of my dear friends has the most amazing pot garden on the balcony of her apartment! love your imagination! hugs sx
Reblogged this on Luna Quirks and commented:
And further on the idea of serendipity at work in one’s life a friend wrote this blog post about passion. It’s all so very true. Passion is the spark of living a virbrant, fulfilled life – and it can appear in any facet of one’s life.
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Thank you Nicky! I feel honoured! Can’t wait to read more of your work! hugs sx
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I love this piece Sarah and especially your friend’s great insight that it is the passion that is the gift. For years I felt bad because I would embark on many a new project and according to others, “never finished anything”. But I realise that “finishing” a project wasn’t always the end goal, it was trying different things that mattered, getting a taste for what life had to offer and adding to my colourful life tapestry. This is how I found my passions, and yes, I still have several passions simultaneously, patchwork being a recent addition! Gotta love all those colourful fabrics. A great piece Sarah and thanks for sharing. ❤
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oh another penny has just dropped, you are so right, who says you have to finish things? i love my friend’s story about passion, it helped me to drop false beliefs i’d been carrying about the importance of natural talent in relation to passion – you don’t have to be the best, but as long as you’re doing what you love, that is perfection! much love to you silvana! sx
Hi Sarah, it’s such an interesting journey dealing with finding and then expressing your passion. Really there is so much nonsense out there about it. Having earnt a living from my passion for nearly a decade before getting a proper job I can relate. Most of all I have learnt a lot about how our egos interact with our passion. So really the whole secret for me was to acknowledge the way I feel when I am in the zone, at one with the universe, oblivious to fame or recognition. And then when life throws obstacles in the path, how do I react? For me, I have had to let go of the ability to hoik clay about with so many other life challenges and responsibilities. But I am always grateful for the times I had and the people I worked with along the way. Now my moments of creativity are tiny and my appreciation immense. And seeing as I identified my life’s purpose as ‘to be creative and help other people get in touch with their creativity’ I have now been getting really creative in just making a life alongside my health issues. One of the myths about following your passion is the masculinist approach which says in part that it’s not legitimate unless it’s a) prolific b) earns money and c) is pursued for life.
Thanks for the post.
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oh i love the wisdom in your comment tam! – so beautiful, especially identifying passion as being about the feeling, the experience, more so than the thing – i’ve seen a few people come acropper with their passion in marrying this experiential approach with the social expectations you describe – i’d love to see you writing, perhaps blogging, you have so much wisdom to share and you could showcase your beautiful artwork – perhaps when there is a bit more time in your world, we will be blessed! much love sx