August means the dog days of summer. Summer 2014 has been very full, and it is somewhat nice to reduce the fever pitched day-to-day, particularly on weekends. So, passion. There are two strong definitions for the word, and I wish I could write this column about romantic, sexual, lust-filled passion—because with that definition I could write on and on. However I am choosing to focus on passion in life.
I recall this past spring, when the season came early; planting flowers, herbs, gardens also occurred almost a month early. The urge to grow, nurture, invest, have passion was flowing. Now, in August everything is coming full circle and plants are also beginning to wane after having produced and grown thus far, this summer. I have been talking to a lot of people lately and they too seem to be resounding with a bit of fatigue, weariness, and feeling overwhelmed. As I inquire—it seems to come down to passion, they just don’t have the life and living passion they had earlier in the year. The recently deceased Nelson Mandela talked of passion when he said, “There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”I totally agree with that, a deliberate, capable life is something everyone needs to create for themselves and everyone deserves. Keeping that passion up is what seems rather difficult to do, at this time of the year.
This summer, one long weekend, I ran away.
I felt so scared and lost. I told my work colleagues that I would be back after the weekend, and my husband Doug to come along, but expect me to be somewhat reflective, alone, and finding answers. He lovingly said—that’s just fine. I just wanted to get focused and experience some peace in my life.
Over the mindful weekend eventually I stopped looking for myself. I found it by sitting in stillness and connecting with my feelings, particularly in nature. Nature always recharges my passion, vitality and verve.
I paid attention to the patterns around when I disappeared from the present moment and more importantly, what would bring me back. I focusing on cultivating presence, compassion, and courage, things I felt were waning. Focusing enough to eventually return and format my life around what I love: sharing presence and maintaining passion.
Whenever I am in a theatrical production, I constantly have to keep telling myself to get out of my head, and just feel and act! It is fucking hard on stage, even more so in life. Here are some other ideas I have learned over the years—years of vast reading, writing, teaching, parenting, coaching, acting, speaking, and most importantly loving. Ways of getting out of your head and cultivating passion and presence:
1. Your thoughts and feelings are powerful.
Everything in your life is a response to your feelings. How you feel about yourself is how you shape your reality.
2. Stop trying to “be somebody” and start opening up.
Stop looking so desperately for answers and drop your need to know everything. Give yourself permission to explore and uncover what’s fun for you and what you really love. Stop mimicking other people and pretending to please them, and start opening yourself up to find what you love.
3. Constantly be creating something new.
Most people are scared of trying and failing because we are told we are supposed to fit in to existing stories created for power and control. Use your imagination to create something new that excites you.
4. Be a model of truth and great possibilities.
Make it your mission to be a model of positive, fun, loving possibilities. The shortest way to get there is to express your deepest truths. When you serve as a model for speaking your truth, you let others know it’s okay for them to do the same.
5. Encounter your deeper story.
Everyone has a deeper story, something that they fantasize about doing if they could. What’s your deeper story? What do you yearn and long for? Hint: You already know what it is; you just lack the courage to acknowledge it because you don’t think you’re good enough.
6. Experience your longing.
It’s a big leap to go from dreaming to realizing. Take a step to act out your longing and experience its unfolding. If you let them, your feelings will lead the way. In other words take action along with allowing throughout.
7. Recognize when and how you disappear from the present moment.
Know your insecurities and pay attention to your triggers so you can bring yourself back to the present before hurting someone else. It’s your job to maintain your positive space.
8. Know what brings you back.
What engenders a feeling of belonging and connection in your life? What stops the obsessive thought looping? Build reference points. That’s how you can always find your way back home.
9. Recognize that freedom is knowing what you love and letting it embrace you.
You already know enough. Stop looking for guidance and start formatting your life around experiencing what you love. Seek the experience and it will find you.
10. Remember that your gift is how you handle your insecurities.
When you do what you love, you’ll act on instinct, without having to put too much thought into the knowledge you don’t yet have. But that thing you love to do—that’s not your only gift. Your other gift is how you handle your insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, when you do get caught up in your head. This is what shapes your life and sense of belonging.
11. Take intentional actions.
When you set intentions and act on them, you create a natural flow. Directing that flow is how you shape your reality.
12. Consistently ask yourself: What is my relationship?
Everything is in relationship to everything else. What is your relationship to yourself? Your reality emanates from how you feel about yourself.
Hope one more more of these triggered thought, consideration, and possibly some action(s). Talk to someone else you explicitly trust and let them know what you are thinking about, planning, or best actively working on regarding passion and presence.
One last thing—passion for life, focusing on being present, knowing and pampering yourself, increases the other type of passion. The other definition of passion. Passion for LIFE makes you horny, and that’s a wonderful and fabulous side effect.
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.”—Jon Bon Jovi
Grab some, go for it, get it back! Just don’t put it off. Enjoy the remainder of your amazing summer.