What Are You Passionate About?

Written by Andrew Morrison

Have you stopped to ask yourself “what are you passionate about” recently? I was talking with Gabriella about our business and we both realized just how lucky we are. There are a number of reasons that we consider ourselves lucky, actually a better way to say it is that we are grateful, but one big one came to the forefront during our conversation. It is that we love what we do. The more we spoke, the clearer it became that the reason we love what we do is that we are passionate about it. We truly believe in what we are doing and that makes our “work” not really work.

man meditating in front of the sea and sunset

In this realization, I had the thought about other people in the world. How many of them are living their passion and how many are simply living to survive? So many people have gotten stuck in the machine of our culture, so stuck that they don’t even notice it anymore. They go to work each day at a job they don’t like so they can make enough money to pay for all their stuff (flat screen TVs in each room, multiple cars, a closet full of shoes, and so on). Beyond their stuff, a huge portion of their paycheck goes to pay a mortgage or rent on a house that’s bigger than they actually need. Wal-Mart and other corporations would have them believe that they are living the American Dream, but if they stop long enough to take a look from “outside their life” they may tell you otherwise. A friend of mine once asked me “are you thriving or surviving?” and that’s exactly the question I have for you.

How many of us can actually say that we love our work? How many are excited to show up at their job and know that their presence there is supporting a bigger picture view of what they want to accomplish in life? As Gandhi encouraged us to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” I wonder how many are actually heeding that call. Ask yourself if you are one of the few. If you are not, what’s stopping you?

I have heard from many people over the years (myself included) that the fear of not having enough (money, food, shelter, etc) can be crippling. The thinking sounds something like this: “I don’t like my job, but at least I can afford to buy food and have a nice house. Some day, I’ll do the things I truly want to do, but for now, I can’t risk losing my job.” It’s seemingly sound thinking, after all, who would want to risk losing their job; especially in the current sagging economy? But there is pervasive sadness in the words “some day.” It’s sad to me because so many people never reach that “some day.” The fear of loss is ALWAYS too big for them and so they stay trapped in their jobs, surviving, and wishing their life looked different somehow.

Taking a risk and stepping out into the world of thriving is scary, no doubt; however, when you find your passion and you fully connect to what you want to accomplish in life, everything will line up and you will find support from places you may not have known even existed. You may call it God, the Universe, Spirit, or any other name. It is the undeniable certainty that when you are aligned with your inner truth, obstacles will fall away and you will thrive. I have seen this happen over and over again in my own life and in the lives of my friends and family. To me, it’s simply true. Unfortunately, the machine of our society has got such a strong grip on so many people that many don’t have a clue what their passion even is. They may hope to find it (if they are awake enough to notice they are missing it), but with so much “noise” in the world, that can be hard to do.

footprint in the sandA great way to start is to get grounded and quiet. The most obvious distraction that many people live with and actually seem to like having around is the TV. I know I tend to harp on TV a bit, but that’s because I truly see it as a poisonous part of our society meant to do one thing: encourage us to spend more money on stuff we don’t need. If you watch TV, like most Americans do, you probably have it on at least 5 hours a day, most likely in the evenings.  Just think of all the peaceful and productive time one could have, every day, if they didn’t drown out their passion and inner quiet with TV.

Here’s a simple (it may not seem it at first) way to start getting quiet: unplug your TV and don’t turn it back on for at least one month. Completely disconnect yourself from it. If you go to a bar or restaurant that has a TV on, sit so that you are not facing it. Do whatever you can to completely separate yourself from the culture of television for the month. In the time that you used to spend watching TV, do something “real.” That could be playing board games or cards with your family, learning to speak a new language, reading books, sitting quietly and simply being. The point is to get your feet back on the ground and to connect with “real life: yours.

With your feet on the ground and your inner landscape afforded a bit more space and quiet, see what comes up for you. Ask yourself, each day, what your passion is and what change you would like to see in the world. Draw a picture of what the perfect world would look like in your mind. Write down what it is that makes it so wonderful. Ask yourself what you can do to make this picture and story become a reality. Over time, or perhaps suddenly, you will find yourself awakening to your passion.

forestI believe there is more to truly landing in your passion than simply turning off your TV, but this is a starting point, a place to get your toes into the water. If you want to continue to journey, which I hope you do, I suggest taking a two-week vision quest (whatever that means to you) once you have found your initial calm. Perhaps sitting in the woods alone for two weeks with nothing but food, shelter and a place to write down your thoughts would be a good idea.  Perhaps taking an official vision quest with a respected leader while holding a specific intention is your path. There are many ways to continue this journey and to find your passion. Which one is right for you will become clear, once you get quiet.

What I want most for you right now is to simply inspire you to ask yourself if you are thriving or surviving. I hope that many of you will answer “thriving,” but I also know that even the most amazing people in my life have been stuck in the survival mode before. There’s no shame in it. It simply is what it is. If you are not where you want to be, ask yourself what’s in the way of you getting there. Once you start asking these questions, take time to really listen for the answers. When you find the answers, act on them. It may not be any easy journey and it will likely have its discomforts for you along the way, but the journey itself and the landing place you discover are both very much worth the effort.

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7 Responses

  1. I have a different problem – the thing I do is the production of things I like (I make computer games), and I *occasionally* enjoy the process, but much of the time the process of development is a horrible thing that nobody really enjoys. When it’s difficult, the challenge is interesting. When it’s effortless, that’s okay too. But when it’s just hard brain-tiring work, there’s very little joy to be had from it, other than the anticipation of completion (ie. stopping!)

    Clearly if I was really just following my passion I’d do the conceptualization and some design and modifying as it grows, but I’d have to have someone else doing the horrible grunt work, and that hardly seems fair! We can’t all be bosses.

    But yes, overall I suppose at least I’m following my passion, even if it’s sometimes hard to catch up with it. It’s better than the average “barely even aware of your passion” most people have in their lives.

  2. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew….I have so much love and respect for you and your family. I wish I could describe the feelings that come from my heart, and how much I agree with what you are saying, living, doing and have done. I can’t sum up in a “comment box” the emotions that rise, but I swear you speak to my soul, and I know there are others out there who feel the same way. You are a blessing to this life, and I’m so grateful that you are able to share and pass on such an example to the world. I have a list of people that I admire, and you are surely on that list. I just wanted to take a moment to send my gratitude to you and yours because I truly believe you are making and inspiring wonderful changes in this world and for future generations to come.

  3. Andrew: I am so glad that I stumbled upon your website!!! I was looking for articles to share on my website on sustainable living. It is obvious to me that you are passionate about what you do and your spirituality is so connected with the day in and day out challenges of life. I am grateful for your light in the world. I have put your article “Why Build with Straw Bales?” on my website.

  4. A seemingly quiet man once came out of his shell in a Tipi at the base of Kitt Carson Mountain. At that time he made note of the Shaman, The Camelion and the Jester

    For many you will have no clue as to what I am referring to.

    However, for those of you who were there, or have had the pleasure of being in Andrews presence, it is quite a magical experience at times.

    When asked if i am thriving or surviving, i would counter that to survive you must thrive. It is the choice of the individual to decide upon that which will allow them to both thrive and survive!

    I have had this pleasure afforded to me. Once crippled without a means to survive on my own, I am now thriving on my own.

    Andrew and the experiences that i have shared with the workshops and conversations with him have augmented a sense of worth in myself that is allowing me to thrive.

    To any and all that are interested…..be quiet! In a good way, you never know who might be listening.


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