Life: It's All Around Us

Life: It's All Around Us

Saturday, February 26, 2011

X Marks the Spot

Have you ever heard yourself say things like ... 

" I want to find purpose in what I do."
" I want to feel fulfilled."
" I want to wake up excited for what the day
" I want to be happy."
" I want to be more intelligent."
" I want to make a difference."
" I can't believe I get paid to do this."
" I could do this for the rest of my life."    

     One of my husband's favorite movies is National Treasure.  He enjoys the history references made throughout the movie and all the entangled drama found in the discovery of the treasure.  He loves the persistence and the relentless determination of those seeking the treasure.  He loves the triumph over the adversity and the payoff they receive for their patience.  When we think of going on a treasure hunt, we envision a map with a BIG red "X" on it indicating where the treasure can be found.  Life is much like a treasure hunt.  Many of us spend years and years in hopes of discovering our own personal treasure, that is, the thing in life we are most passionate about.  I'm sure many of you have been or are at a place where you are still attempting to discover that "thing" that drives you, that "thing" that truly moves your heart and makes you feel fulfilled. Discovering your passion is not always so easy.  Some people, like my husband, knew from a very young age the thing they were most passionate about and without apologies pursued it whole-heartedly.  But for many of us, this discovery is more like a treasure hunt.  We spend our lives weaving in and out of experiences, trying to be persistent and patient in hopes of one day stumbling upon the big red X and "presto!" we found our passion!  If only life were that easy!  Well, I'm right there with you!  So, as I continue on my own journey, I thought I'd share with you some practical advice I've stumbled across along the way.

First, start out by asking yourself the following questions:
" Where am I today?"
" Where do I want to be tomorrow?"
" What do I want to do with my life?"

Begin your Discovery through ...

Your own personal Intuition.  Another way of saying this is to listen to your heart.  You are wired with certain "hot buttons."  These hot buttons are things that move your heart to action.  Your intuition guides when these hot buttons ignite.  This could mean working for a cause or pure enjoyment.

Your day-to-day Experiences.  Be aware as you go through your day.  Anticipate things that may trigger your passion and make you take note.  This may be an observation of stranger's job, a commercial you see on TV, or a quality conversation with a friend. 

Your own Quiet Time.  Find ways to "shut the world out" and the many distractions from your daily life.  It is often in these quiet moments that our minds can unfold our life experiences and help us to sort out our thoughts.  I have found that being in nature often clears my mind the best.  Try taking a long walk or packing up the tent and camping outside over night.

Your Past, Present, and Future.   Remember things that made you excited or intrigued as a child.  We loved those things in our most honest & vulnerable moments, before our views on the world became skewed.  Then think about the things that you look forward to each day when you wake up.  What happened on days that you considered a great day?  Finally, take time to dream about the future.  If there were no limitations on what the future could look like for you, what would your life look like?  Now, look for the connections from all three.

* It never hurts to Gain Perspective.  Have friends and family name your strengths & weaknesses or your talents & abilities.  Take inventory of the things they have told you.  Although we truly know ourselves the best, they will see your passions from another perspective.

* Seek out New Experiences.  This will widen your view and cause you to step outside your daily box that may be holding you back from discovering your passion.  Try taking a class (cooking, art, etc), consider getting a part-time job in a new field, help a friend at work, attend lectures or meetings, or take up a new hobby.  Although these things may stretch you, they will ultimately break down many of the barriers that prevent you from finding what you enjoy.

* Be aware & Take Note.  Literally.  Keep a notepad with you and write down when you are moved by or are intrigued by something.  You will be able to compile this later on to help determine an area where you are passionate.  

* Expose yourself to New Perspectives
   * Reading (authors or topics that will stretch your perspective or increase overall intelligence.  Also try reading bios from those people in society you admire or aspire to be like).
   * Traveling (expose yourself to new towns, new people, new cultures).
   * Watching Plays or Movies (allow yourself to be enveloped and intrigued by the story line.  Picture yourself in their shoes and see how it makes you feel).   
   * Attending Festivals or Concerts 
   * Find Alone Time to Think 

(Again, as you are exposed to these New Perspectives, take time to write down when you are moved or inspired by something.  After some time, read through your notes and see how these merge together). 

     There is no perfect remedy for discovering what you are most passionate about.  However, these suggestions should give you a boost in the right direction.  However, the most important thing anyone can do to discover their passion, is to pray and ask God to reveal His perfect will for your life.  He may just choose to use one of these suggestions to do so!  Please comment as you begin your own personal experiences.  I'm excited to be on the journey with you!     

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