You’re not here because you’re trying to buy shoes, right? If you’re reading this, you’re just like me and you want to fill your life with fire, and a deeper sense of purpose. You want more meaning, and excitement, and you can feel this need growing each and every day, but where do you start? How can you begin your passionate journey?
I believe the best starting point for any type of journey is within. Each of us Passionistas have to look inside ourselves and really connect so we can understand what is missing. This kind of introspection isn’t always easy, it can be challenging to pinpoint where you feel deficient and where the opportunities for increasing passion lie. In the interest of showing you exactly how this works, I’m going to use myself as an example.
When I do a mental check in, I like to think of my inner self in terms of different domains. I’ve tried to break these out into sections of my psyche, and I strive to peek into each one and see what’s up. Here’s how I break it down:
My Body/Physical Health
My Mind/Mental Health
My Playful Self/Inner Child
By attaching the word “My” to each domain, I am claiming it. I’m making it more personal, and I’m more invested in seeing that each zone is fulfilled. Before I can even begin striving for fulfillment, I need to know what’s missing. Here’s a very candid look at my own self-reflection process.
I’m writing every single day, and so I know I have a solid creative outlet, but like most creatives I need more than one. My hectic work schedule has prevented me from indulging in much of anything beyond meeting deadlines, but here are some ways I am craving to satisfy my Creativity:
Creating family journal albums
Finishing the sweater I started knitting for my daughter
Making presents for the holidays
Learning to play the piano
Our girls have been so busy with extracurricular projects, we’ve lost all opportunities for the family mealtimes we were enjoying. We rarely ever cook a meal and sit down together. While it’s wonderful to see the kids engaged in their own passions, we can’t sacrifice that precious time where we get to connect as a family while they are growing so quickly. I feel like sitting down around the table together is really important, and the New Year will bring ways to simplify our schedule. Meanwhile, we need to make family meal time a priority whenever we can.
I have some very deep, incredible friendships, but most of these friends are in Toronto where I used to live. I’d like to connect more with my Toronto friends, and make an effort at making more local friends.
Work is a very difficult challenge for me. I feel energized and motivated, but immensely frustrated because the work I have been so devoted to has never brought in much of a financial reward for my family. This is a source of tremendous sadness for me and I struggle with feelings of shame and on particularly bad days, worthlessness. In my efforts to create meaningful work that will also create an income, I’ve become a workaholic, literally unable to sleep some nights because I can’t turn off my brain. I lie in bed reading countless posts about how to monetize my work, how to be a successful entrepreneur, how to publish and sell books. Some days I feel like I’m completely headed in the right direction, but there are days like today where I feel like it’s futile and I should just get a paying job so that I can contribute to our family in a meaningful way. This zone obviously needs a lot of work, but I’m not sure where to begin.
My Body/Physical Health
I’m eating really well. I don’t eat sugar, I eat a very low carb diet, and my meals consist of healthy fats and proteins and lots of rich green vegetables. I was exercising regularly, lifting weights and riding my bike, but I let this go when the kids got so busy. I need to work less and exercise more because I felt much better about my body, I had more energy, and it was easier to conquer that voice in my head that keeps telling me I’m wasting my time with the work I am doing. Also, I really miss yoga.
My Mind/Mental Health
Today is a difficult day. I’m feeling very discouraged. I spend a lot of time doing these kinds of check ins with myself, so I know that I am pre-menstrual right now which always triggers my anxiety. This almost always results in me feeling like I can’t succeed, and that I’m being foolish even trying. I must be mindful of taking my vitamins, now more than ever. I will also need chocolate, red wine, focused self-love and some goal setting timelines. Pen and paper, list making, and actionable items always, always make me feel better, and make me feel like I am doing something good.
My spiritual center feels like a treadmill I got for Christmas, used steadfastly through January, and then abandoned by February. It’s gathering dust, and every time I see it, I feel an ugly twist of guilt and embarrassment. I want an altar full of crystals, fresh flowers, incense, goddess figures, and a Buddha. I want a daily meditation and yoga practice. I want my family to acknowledge the solstices and equinoxes with a celebratory feast and a little ritual. I want to keep a thriving nature table in our home where the children can display treasures from our garden and from hiking. I want to hike more and be in nature.
I have a three-year-old who can’t sleep the night in his own bed, and can’t fall asleep without someone lying down beside him. I don’t think I need to say much more about this. We are taking steps to help him learn to fall asleep on his own and stay in his own bed, but it’s a slow process. Meanwhile, I will continue to appreciate our babysitters who are happy to have him overnight, and try to make the most of whatever other time we can steal. Since having a baby, I almost never feel sexy anymore. This makes me incredibly sad. Whenever I get dressed up, with hair and makeup done, I feel my sensual self come alive again. When I get to be out in the world, around people, I feel more in touch with my sensuality. We don’t get a lot of those opportunities these days. I’ve taken to wearing makeup and nice clothes to work from home. I wonder if getting back in touch with that goddess-worshiping part of myself will help? I’d also like to explore tantra.
My Playful Self/Inner Child
I need to play more, free of the distraction of work and home duties. I want to color, play outside, make decorations for the Christmas tree. I want to play house, and restaurant, and dinosaur zoo. I have a perfect excuse to play. I need to honor those moments when they present themselves.
I want a regular volunteer gig in my community. Last year, during the holidays, we took the girls to spend an afternoon sorting food for the food bank. It was awesome, and they loved it just as much as we did. I need to give my time to something that makes other people’s lives better.
So Then What Happens?
When we look at each domain, we can see there’s lots of desire to do more. I have to resist the urge to feel like I’m not doing enough, or that I’ll never get to filling all of these holes. It’s possible I won’t, or I just can’t right now because of the limitations of my schedule. What is important is that I know exactly what I need and where I need it. I can even start to see the steps I need to take to make my passionate journey even brighter.
Another vital step in this process is to go back to each domain and reflect on all of the great things that are happening in each one. I strongly believe this step must happen after the search for what is missing, because it’s essential to end this reflection in a positive space, so you can feel empowered to move forward.
I heard an incredible interview with the brilliant life coach and writer Martha Beck on the Beautiful Writers podcast. She was talking about how she manages to meet deadlines and she said “I’ve just started spending about an hour a day on each thing I love, and somehow it all gets done.” She seemed to think some kind of magic was bending time in her favor, and I’m just the kind of gal to believe that such things can happen.
Next steps for me will be to layer in all of the gratitude I feel for what I have achieved, and the positive I am experiencing in each zone. Then I will take a critical look at my schedule, and in particular, my daily routine. How much time is wasted on the social media rabbit hole? How much difference would it make to set an alarm and wake up an hour earlier? How would my overall sense of happiness and satisfaction be impacted if I paused or even stopped my work day at 3 pm to cook a delicious meal for my family, even if they have to eat it and run?A detailed look at each corner of life helps us identify where we can build, or open up. Click To Tweet
When we can pinpoint where our needs aren’t being satisfied, we can begin to understand the direction we need to head, and then we can begin to take action.
When my kids were young, we were in a Waldorf School. Part of the beauty of the Waldorf way is their belief that we all need to follow a rhythm of the day, which is essentially a schedule or routine, but to me the word ‘rhythm’ feels so much more organic and fluid.
In coming days, I will create a new weekly schedule or a rhythm for myself. As a work-from-home entrepreneur, it’s critical for me to break out my work hours carefully, and balance my non-working hours with the things I am craving. In fact, that balance is essential for all of us to make space for more passion. I’ll share this with you, and help you create a meaningful rhythm for your own day, and we can begin our passionate journey together.
Meanwhile, here’s a free, printable workbook for you to use in your own reflection process as you take a look at each of your Passionate Domains.