I was recently talking with Gabriella about our business and we both realized just how lucky we are. There are a number of reasons that we consider ourselves lucky, actually a better way to say it is that we are grateful, but one big one came to the forefront during our conversation. It is that we love what we do. The more we spoke, the clearer it became that the reason we love what we do is that we are passionate about it. We truly believe in what we are doing and that makes our “work” not really work.
In this realization, I had the thought about other people in the world. How many of them are living their passion and how many are simply living to survive? So many people have gotten stuck in the machine of our culture, so stuck that they don’t even notice it anymore. They go to work each day at a job they don’t like so they can make enough money to pay for all their stuff (flat screen TVs in each room, multiple cars, a closet full of shoes, and so on). Beyond their stuff, a huge portion of their paycheck goes to pay a mortgage or rent on a house that’s bigger than they actually need. Wal-Mart and other corporations would have them believe that they are living the American Dream, but if they stop long enough to take a look from “outside their life” they may tell you otherwise. A friend of mine once asked me “are you thriving or surviving?” and that’s exactly the question I have for you.
How many of us can actually say that we love our work? How many are excited to show up at their job and know that their presence there is supporting a bigger picture view of what they want to accomplish in life? As Gandhi encouraged us to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” I wonder how many are actually heeding that call. Ask yourself if you are one of the few. If you are not, what’s stopping you?
I have heard from many people over the years (myself included) that the fear of not having enough (money, food, shelter, etc) can be crippling. The thinking sounds something like this: “I don’t like my job, but at least I can afford to buy food and have a nice house. Some day, I’ll do the things I truly want to do, but for now, I can’t risk losing my job.” It’s seemingly sound thinking, after all, who would want to risk losing their job; especially in the current sagging economy? But there is pervasive sadness in the words “some day.” It’s sad to me because so many people never reach that “some day.” The fear of loss is ALWAYS too big for them and so they stay trapped in their jobs, surviving, and wishing their life looked different somehow.
Taking a risk and stepping out into the world of thriving is scary, no doubt; however, when you find your passion and you fully connect to what you want to accomplish in life, everything will line up and you will find support from places you may not have known even existed. You may call it God, the Universe, Spirit, or any other name. It is the undeniable certainty that when you are aligned with your inner truth, obstacles will fall away and you will thrive. I have seen this happen over and over again in my own life and in the lives of my friends and family. To me, it’s simply true. Unfortunately, the machine of our society has got such a strong grip on so many people that many don’t have a clue what their passion even is. They may hope to find it (if they are awake enough to notice they are missing it), but with so much “noise” in the world, that can be hard to do.
A great way to start is to get grounded and quiet. The most obvious distraction that many people live with and actually seem to like having around is the TV. I know I tend to harp on TV a bit, but that’s because I truly see it as a poisonous part of our society meant to do one thing: encourage us to spend more money on stuff we don’t need. If you watch TV, like most Americans do, you probably have it on at least 5 hours a day, most likely in the evenings. Just think of all the peaceful and productive time one could have, every day, if they didn’t drown out their passion and inner quiet with TV.
Here’s a simple (it may not seem it at first) way to start getting quiet: unplug your TV and don’t turn it back on for at least one month. Completely disconnect yourself from it. If you go to a bar or restaurant that has a TV on, sit so that you are not facing it. Do whatever you can to completely separate yourself from the culture of television for the month. In the time that you used to spend watching TV, do something “real.” That could be playing board games or cards with your family, learning to speak a new language, reading books, sitting quietly and simply being. The point is to get your feet back on the ground and to connect with “real life: yours.
With your feet on the ground and your inner landscape afforded a bit more space and quiet, see what comes up for you. Ask yourself, each day, what your passion is and what change you would like to see in the world. Draw a picture of what the perfect world would look like in your mind. Write down what it is that makes it so wonderful. Ask yourself what you can do to make this picture and story become a reality. Over time, or perhaps suddenly, you will find yourself awakening to your passion.
I believe there is more to truly landing in your passion than simply turning off your TV, but this is a starting point, a place to get your toes into the water. If you want to continue to journey, which I hope you do, I suggest taking a two-week vision quest (whatever that means to you) once you have found your initial calm. Perhaps sitting in the woods alone for two weeks with nothing but food, shelter and a place to write down your thoughts would be a good idea. Perhaps taking an official vision quest with a respected leader while holding a specific intention is your path. There are many ways to continue this journey and to find your passion. Which one is right for you will become clear, once you get quiet.
What I want most for you right now is to simply inspire you to ask yourself if you are thriving or surviving. I hope that many of you will answer “thriving,” but I also know that even the most amazing people in my life have been stuck in the survival mode before. There’s no shame in it. It simply is what it is. If you are not where you want to be, ask yourself what’s in the way of you getting there. Once you start asking these questions, take time to really listen for the answers. When you find the answers, act on them. It may not be any easy journey and it will likely have its discomforts for you along the way, but the journey itself and the landing place you discover are both very much worth the effort.