Everyone these days is told again and again to “live our passion.” But what if you don’t know what you’re passionate about? With a little mindful investigation, your passion will start to reveal itself, because when you quiet the mind you can hear what your awareness already knows. Then, you can confidently make decisions about whether to pursue that job that engages you on every level or explore interests that feed your soul—you can feel in alignment with your very purpose.
Here are some tips for unearthing your hidden passion.
3 Ways to Uncover Your 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 exploring new places, family, justice, or supporting the arts, as examples.
A Mindfulness Practice for Exploring What You Value:
Think of an object related to your values and how it might be utilized in a job or hobby. Sit quietly, breathe in and out, holding the object in your mind, and see what arises. Don’t push things aside because they don’t make sense. Be open to 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 your obstacles
What is in the way of living in alignment with your values? It could be lack of time, distraction, resources, or even a lack of imagination.
A Mindfulness Practice for Working with Obstacles:
Contemplate that question: What’s in my way? How do I get around it? Listen for how to overcome your obstacles. You already know. 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 the skilss yet. Be honest and then be brave.
3) Remember your superpowers and develop your skills
What do you do really well? 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.
A Mindfulness Practice For Remembering Your Superpowers:
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: Read the Passion Manifesto
Take a look at this manifesto. As you read it, be aware of what comes up for you. Have a journal nearby and write down your thoughts. Not the thoughts you think you should be having, but all of those weird things that seem unconnected that come to mind as you’re reading this:
What came up for you? Write it down.
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.”