passion: from being rather than doing

“Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft,” wrote dancer Twyla Tharp in her book, The Creative Habit.

Passion is a daily theme in my life right now. I am learning to connect with my own spark of passion. It is an inner-knowing that comes from an unexplained place….spiritual and divine in nature. It is comes forth through being rather than doing. I am a beginner at being (hence the name of my blog). Being still, being silent, being in unknowing, being patient. I am practiced at doing. Making lists, taking action, fixing, traveling, planning, going, moving.  Ohhh how this “being” may be the greatest test for every fiber of my being.

My deepest knowing told me that the answer to finding my passion was inside me and would emerge, not be designed.

The phenomenal part is that in my experience, even during times of great challenge, life reaches out and extends a hand. About two months ago I spoke with a friend and grad school cohort on the phone and I expressed two things. The first was that I waned to practice slowing down. Simply moving at a slower pace and noticing how it felt and what showed up. And the second was that I wanted to get more comfortable with being in stillness and in the unknowing.

Well….request granted!  In order to complete my graduate thesis and make a complete career change, I am going to have to be damn practiced at connecting with my inner passion.  The process is only beginning (are you sensing a theme yet?).

Passion (from the Latin verb patī meaning to suffer)  enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive affinity or love, towards a subject.

According to the ancient Latin, passion is derived from suffering. Knowing this  helps to explain why getting in touch with my passion was so damn hard. My journey really started a year-and-a-half ago when I began graduate school. In my program, each student crafts a personal promise (mission statement).  Our professor led the promise exercise and we had the entire weekend to move through the process. I could not find the words to express anything. My throat got tight, my chest got tight and I felt stuck. How did I locate my passion inside of this often-analytically and very “doing” focused self of mine? Hard work! Not the physical or mental labor type… the spiritual kind.

I can tell you now that this stuff did not come from my own design, it emerged. My professor spent extra time coaching me with a lot of open-ended questions, patience, gathering of what she heard in my answers and finally it rose up out of my inner-being and the words flew out of my mouth. And when the words landed I heard them in my ears and felt them in my being and that was it.  I simply knew it to be true. My promise for graduate school is: I Amy Rachel Loder, promise that, no matter what, wherever I am, in my presence, life will show as walking the walk and talking the talk.

When I connected all of the dots I realized that my graduate school promise and what I am passionate about are totally aligned. My promise actually lives within what I am passionate about.

A little bit about what it is that fuel’s my soul… I am passionate about accompanying others on their journey to walk their talk. (there will be more details in my next post). My definition of walking the talk is the alignment of words and deeds, the alignment of inner-being and outward manifestation, the alignment of thoughts and actions.  Walking your walk and talking your talk.  I am starting to define the ability to walk one’s talk as living from one’s personal passion for life.

I have begun to dialogue with others about the topic of personal passion and I am also taking a seven week course centered around this topic. I am learning that every single person on the planet has a unique spark of passion for something. It is different in each one of us and manifested differently by each of us. And it is exciting stuff!  This is the stuff that people get up for in the morning, work through the night for and would go to the mat for to fight the good fight.  The stuff that fuels one’s soul.

When sparks of passion fly, light is released into  our world: dance, song, music, social justice, advocacy, social change, leadership, education, fashion, writing, poetry, painting, design, architecture, engineering, civic engagement, drumming, storytelling, creating connection, facilitation, transformation, spirituality, health, well-being, acupuncture, art therapy, midwifery, research, travel, acting, magic, teaching, drawing, graphic design, mothering, fathering, service, exploration,  invention, community building, [ fill in your passion here]…

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2 responses to “passion: from being rather than doing

  1. Dear Friend – You inspire me to dig back into my notes from our class on Calling & Commitment. Here’s what I found:

    As we brush against the branches of the tree of life, they tease our calling from us and strip away the rest in order to expose the deep sense of self, that hidden seed that wants to be awakened in this life.

    That’s your calling. Can you be the very best of this that you can be? Buddhists say it’s not enough to want it; you’ve got to cultivate it, to develop your capacity to fully live your life this way.

    According to author and mythologist Michael Meade, our calling KEEPS calling us. It’s not a one-time thing. The question becomes do we hear it, and how do we respond? By answering and embracing our calling, we find our purpose. We become of service to not only our selves, but also our neighbors, because we are embracing our own special something that made life meaningful in the first place.

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