Living Passionately

‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.’ Maya Angelou


Life can change in an instant. We are guaranteed to experience the loss of a person or the loss of something we hold dear to us at least several times in our lifetime. There will be sorrow, there will be disappointment and hurt but rather than have this inevitability shrink us and leave us afraid of taking risks, let it serve as a reminder of the fragility and fleeting nature of life and the importance of living it to the fullest now.


If you’re still putting up with a mediocre life in the hopes of just surviving it or in the hopes of not rocking the boat too much lest you cause a wave, please reconsider. Do you want to merely survive, or would you rather thrive?


One way to live a fulfilling life is to follow your passion. But what exactly is ‘passion’?

The word was first used in the late 12th century to describe Christ’s willingness to suffer on the cross, linking it to Easter. These days, the word ‘passion’ relates to any powerful, compelling emotion, whether brought about by an object, activity or a person that heightens our desire. However, strong emotion or enthusiasm doesn’t quite capture what passion is because true passion knows that it needs a few companions in order to survive – preparation, sacrifice, readiness, submission and loyalty being a few of them.


I choose to view passion in the sense it was originally intended: a willingness to suffer for what you love.


I am not talking about prostrating yourself in the face of suffering and being pummelled into victimhood in the process. Rather it is the willingness to suffer for something greater than yourself and in the journey toward living into that, rising stronger to become a victor – whether you attain your desire, or not – living passionately, with the spin off being self-development. A better self.


Whether it’s a person or an endeavour which is the object of your passion, the pursuit of it or the fervour with which you hold it should ultimately make you a better person.


How can I find my passion?

Forget about stumbling across the perfect and ultimate passion. It’s not going to happen. I don’t believe that there is one pre-determined purpose or passion assigned to us for this life. It is what we decide it is going to be and what works for us, where we are at the time.


What if finding your passion is part of the road to individuation, the Hero’s Journey in the Jungian sense? What if it is an evolving hypothesis, its convergence linked to experimentation, each iteration getting you closer to what resonates for you at the time, closer to your higher self?


The only way to discover what sets your soul on fire then, is to start trying things out. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to try so hard. Do what you can with what you have. Do what comes naturally and if you’re on the right path, the way will unfold with ease. As Rumi says “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will never lead you astray.”


Living passionately changes perspective.

When we discover something we are willing to make a significant sacrifice for, we’re getting close to our life’s mission and purpose.


Living passionately results in a profound shift in the way you approach being alive. It leaves you playing the game of life with a renewed sense of purpose, grace, and peace. Small matters which used to bother you, are of little consequence. Your perspective has shifted, and your focus is on deeper, more meaningful matters.


Passion requires extraordinary resilience and courage and true passion uses repeated failure, rejection and heartbreak, having to work crazy hours to turn the dream into reality, or dealing with perpetual naysayers as fuel. True passion is undeterred by setbacks. It finds a creative way around any challenge. It’s a first-class problem solver.


The one who is living passionately embraces paradox and knows that it involves a delicate dance of striving and allowing.


Passion relates to doing and being. It is the energy and vigour with which you pursue a thing, but it is also the way in which you live your life – how you are being. The doing, and the being; the active and the passive, ought to reflect one another if you are living in alignment with your true self.


Expand your construct of passion.

So, what are you truly passionate about? What are you willing to sacrifice your time, peace of mind or sense of security for?


Expand your construct of passion and abandon the limits which came with your previous one-dimensional view of it – that it relates to love or should only relate to the work you do. What if it has the potential to be in everything? Without beginning and end, how many aspects of your life would it permeate then?


“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” (Helena Bonham Carter)


There are many ways to live life – there is no right or wrong. Given the choice (and it is always a choice), I choose to live a bold, courageous life, an inspired life, a passionate life. Living passionately has seen my heart broken a million times, but it keeps it beating stronger each time too.


Do you dare to live passionately, do you dare to feel the devastation and the exhilaration of being alive?


Action it now- write a list of 10 things which you feel would be worth taking a significant risk for, then set a smac goal to achieve it.