We’re told again and again to live our passion. But what if we don’t know what we’re passionate about? With a little mindful investigation, your passion will start to reveal itself and point you in a direction—whether to pursue a vocation that engages you on every level or explore interests that feed your soul—that feel in alignment with your very purpose. Here are some tips for unearthing your hidden passion.
1) Clarify your values
What really matters to you in life? What do you believe in? What brings you the most joy or lights you up? It could be justice, exploring new places, family, or supporting the arts, as examples.
Think of an object related to your values and how it might be utilized through a vocation or avocation. Sit quietly, breathe in and out, holding the object in your mind, and see what arises. Allow its story to unfold without judgment.
Does this story point to a new activity or direction for you? Don’t be discouraged if your first answers don’t reveal a fiery passion. Keep asking, and keep listening.
2) Identify obstacles
What is in the way of living in alignment with these values? It could be lack of time, distraction, resources, or even a lack of imagination.
Contemplate that question. Listen for how to overcome them. Maybe it is a supportive community, more research, overcoming conditioning. Keep asking. When negative judgments arise—I can’t start my own business because I don’t have the skills—try using the word “yet.” I don’t have them yet.
3) Remember your superpowers and develop your skills
What do you do really well, and is there space for you to do it? When you ask this of children, they can tell you without hesitation. My granddaughter Dahlia tells me: “I am a good artist—I just drew a portrait of McKinley (the cat). And I have a good voice—I can sing. And a good memory—I remember the words.” I wish I could see into the future and see if she brings those talents into whatever work she finds.
Imagine yourself as a child. What did you love to do and what did you know you were good at? Let images arise. Remember how it felt. Is it still true? What else is true now?
And then identify the skills you’ll need to bring that latent passion back to life.
Exploration: Passion Manifesto
This practice appeared in the December 2016 issue of Mindful magazine in the feature article “Passion Rules: Two Practices for Discovering Your Life’s Passion.”