Let Your Passions Show You Your Purpose
I’ve always been a bit of a school nerd. Waiting to find out my teacher or getting a course catalog in the mail felt just like receiving my Hogwarts letter. I wasn’t always so thrilled about the social aspects of school, but the promise of new and exciting studies was enough to make me sit vigil by the mailbox at the end of every summer. One of my favorite feelings in the whole world is finding a new thing I’m curious about and then being swept away by the twinkly breadcrumbs of that new path. Like glimpsing a phosphorescent trail through a woodland, following a new interest is as exciting as a school girl crush. Stumbling across those new ideas, books, disciplines, or crafts is as good as falling in love, and can be an affair that lasts a lifetime.
Our souls are here to learn. Every step we take to follow the things that spark our curiosity is exactly what our soul is asking of us in order to grow. We think that finding our “purpose” in life will inevitably be complicated, but if we just follow the concepts, ideas, or practices that fascinate us, we will end up exactly where we are meant to go. Following these pathways of our passions, into both the future and the past, can show us that there is actually a whole map laid out for our lives— and that we are right on track.
Sometimes I go down a rabbit-hole of wondering why I’m here and what, exactly, I’m meant to be doing with my life. (Anyone else familiar with that particular ditch?) Examining my day-to-day life for clues sometimes feels like trying to understand a watercolor up close; it can look like a real mess. But when I take a step back I can see that there is a much bigger picture. In truth, all we need to do is map our life passions and we can see that we’ve actually been following a whole, perfectly formed path all along. Your passions will show you your purpose, it’s as simple as following the breadcrumbs and these four simple steps.
Exercise: Let your Passions show you your Purpose
We are here to learn, not accomplish. When we can recognize that we are already living our life purpose just by feeding our interests, we can get out of that rabbit hole of angst and embrace the reality that we are right on track. Use these four steps to map what has lit you up so far in life and you’ll find that your studies are already going brilliantly.
1. Write down every deep passion or obsession you can remember, starting at the beginning. Focus on the big ones, the obvious ones, the ones you were likely “known” for in your school or family. Choose the things you loved, not because it was trendy or your older sister was into it, but because you were truly, madly, deeply obsessed. Think of those things that you were so deep into it was honestly a bit “un-cool” and get them on the page.
2. For each passion ask yourself “what was it that really fascinated me about this?” Dig deep, be curious, the answer might not be immediately obvious but it’s there. Write down what it was that actually captivated you about each passion. For example, growing up, I was so obsessed with cetaceans that kids called me “whale girl” at school. I memorized facts like the best of them but, looking back, I realized what I was truly captivated by was whale sentience. When I learned that whales were as smart, if not smarter, than humans, I was hooked.
3. After you explore each fascination, take a look at all the themes across your life’s passions. Are there patterns? Connections? How does one passion relate to another? When you are ready, get creative by using each theme to fill out this statement in a way that resonates with you: I am someone who is here to learn about, and therefore contribute to, …. by harnessing….
Give yourself creative freedom to play with this statement. The more you work with this, the clearer the core themes of your curriculum will become. For example, after my whale obsession, I became fascinated by human-fueled historical tragedies— not just the emotion of it, but the psychology. How could people perpetrate such violence? Where does compassion go when these things happen? Then, in middle school, I became obsessed with poetry. I was entranced by the ability of words to open the heart and communicate concepts that lay just outside our conscious understanding. Boiling it all down, I found my sentence: “I am someone who is here to learn about, and therefore contribute to, the fields of nature consciousness and the role of compassion in the human journey, by harnessing the power of words to help us open our hearts to greater understanding.”
4. Once you have a sentence that resonates with you, ask yourself: do you have aspects of your life that are fulfilling each of these areas of learning or interest? If not, what is asking to come in now that might help you continue your learning? Are there any new curiosities that might be tugging at your awareness now? Can you make a commitment to follow them and see where they lead?
Remember that the soul isn’t interested in specifics of what exactly you do with your life, which profession you choose, which teacher you ended up with in fifth grade, or what particular house you purchase. Our deepest selves just want to continue our learning by exploring these core themes of fascination in whatever creative ways they present themselves! You may end up furthering your field of soul study through your family, your hobbies, or your part-time interest in Trekkie conventions. Once we understand these core themes, however, we can get an idea of which “class” to take next.
In the Celtic wheel of the year fall is the time for discovering and following new avenues of learning, the fresh passions that will help to unveil the next step on our journeys. In the next few weeks, take particular notice of the new twinkles of fascination that appear, this is your way forward on your path of soul growth.