If you could make a few small changes to have a life you’re really passionate about, would you?
We are all passionate, creative, and inspiring creatures; this is at the very heart of what it means to be a human being. We perpetually grow—as partners, as fathers, in our careers, and in our communities. How men define a flourishing life has become increasingly holistic; a passionate life means seeking both a sense of purpose and one of connection.
Yet, our existence is also riddled with distraction, confusion, and disempowerment. Sometimes, in the midst of the complex human experience, we disconnect. We disconnect from deeper intimacy—both with others and also with ourselves. We disconnect from both our playfulness and from our heartfelt longings, from spontaneity and from the joy we derive from meaningful personal evolution.
The resolutions that follow are not about changing ourselves. Rather, they intend to offer guidance in rediscovering what is already deep within us. They are about coming home to the passionate beings we already are.
1. Start each day with an intention.
An intention is different from a goal. We set a goal to do something. Intentions are not so much about doing, but are rather about being. How do you want to be different? How would you like to feel at the end of the day? How will the world look differently to you if you are deeply satisfied?
Each morning, consider taking a moment to set an intention for your day. This aligns you with your power and helps connect to purpose. Note that an intention may be highly personal—a change only you can see.
For example, if yesterday didn’t go so well, you could say “I intend to allow the disappointment I feel to flow through me in its natural course,” or “I intend to catch myself wallowing on yesterday’s disappointments, and remind myself that today is a new day.”
If you are hoping to feel more present, some intentions may be, “I intend to pause in gratitude and appreciate the people and circumstances around me,” or “I intend to be fully honest with my emotions today, whatever they may be, and refrain from trying to change them.”
Revisit your intention throughout the day, continuing to align yourself to it.
2. Get to know what true passion feels like in your body.
Passion does not always equal hard work. Sometimes, hard work can feel like you are attempting to swim against a current. You can barely move, and it feels like you are spending all your energy trying to simply stay on course. Surfing or body boarding feels much different. Your efforts collaborate with that of the waves; your movements become aligned with those of the greater ocean. You are still working hard in body and mind to stay on course, yet your efforts feel exciting, natural, and harmonized to the universe around you.
True passion feels much like this. There are times in both our work and in our relationships when it feels as though we are kicking against the current, and other times when we enjoy riding the waves. Take note of the moments you are truly enjoying what you do—whether it is in your career, in a conversation, exercising, or even making love—look for those moments when your effort somehow paradoxically feels effortless. When you find yourself energized rather than depleted.
Pay attention to what this feels like in your body. Do you feel a fullness in your chest? A sense of weightlessness? Make friends with these sensations, and let them help to be your compass, alerting you to your alignment with your own happiness.
3. Absorb something inspiring each day.
Passion is a two-way exchange of yourself with the world around you. Open yourself to the inspiring life swirling about and enjoy soaking it in. Some days, this could mean reading a poem or admiring a work of art. Others, it could include attending a talk, listening to a podcast, or closing your eyes and enjoying your favorite song to the fullest.
There will be times when you feel exhausted, closed off, and only able to open your windows to the world the slightest crack. On these days, your inspiration may come from a short walk, where you notice one beautiful thing, perhaps a bird’s stamina to survive the snow, or the empathetic gaze of a stranger walking by. It may come from within—a simple acknowledgement of the strength it has taken you to get through this day. Believe that you, too, are inspiring.
4. Make a list of adventures you would like to have, and challenge yourself to do as many of them as you can.
Adventures large and small are like yoga for your conception of what is possible. When you expand your comfort zone, you are stretching the limits of what your life can be.
Consider adding adventures of all sizes to this list, from visiting Patagonia to getting naughty with your Someone in the library stacks to ice skating for the first time in your adult life.
What are things you have always wanted to do in your town? How about in the state? The country? And even abroad? It’s ok to plan big and let your imagination run wild. It is also ok if you don’t get to many of the things on your list. The point is that you are dreaming up all that is possible. You are opening to the reality that there is an infinity of experiences that the next year can hold.
5. Create daily.
Just as it is important to soak in the world around you, it is just as vital to give of yourself. One of the most profound ways to share yourself is to create—to express an outward manifestation of what is inside that passionate soul of yours.
Look for ways to be creative in your work and in your relationships. Reinvent a system that is no longer working. Surprise your family with an adventure. Take a painting or pottery class so that you have many ways to express yourself.
Create anything! Create art or poetry, even if it is only five words, scribbled into your notebook. Cook a meal. Write a thoughtful letter to a friend. Create connection through a deep conversation or by making love. Build a shelf in the garage. Add some little bit of yourself to the world each day, and enjoy the momentum of passion snowballing around you.
Here’s to a beautiful and fulfilling 2015!
Photo: jj vincent, used by permission
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