Find Your Passion

What do I want to be when I “grow up?” What’s my passion?

If I only knew, then I could get on with my life. Then I would be happy, my life would have more meaning, I would be more motivated, less depressed, a better wife, mother, sister, friend, I would find the perfect job, I would be ______________________.

The answers to these questions seem to be on most people’s minds across all age groups. The search for them seems to create a sense of lifelong yearning.

What if finding your passion was closer than you thought? Literally. Because I think it is!

I too want to live a meaningful life filled with purpose. I want what I do to be aligned with who I am.

After reading Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, I realized that if we live within our values we will always be living with passion. We will always be living our best life.

WHAT we do is really secondary to WHO we are. We can bring our values to anything we do and therefore we will always be in alignment.

According to Brene, “A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk-we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs. Our values are our North Star.”

This sounds like passion to me!

Although finding our passion may be more tangible than we think, it still requires some introspection. Brene goes onto say that, “We can’t live into values that we can’t name.”

In her book she encourages her readers to make a list of their values or choose from her list. She suggests narrowing down the list to one or two values.

“Choose one or two values-the beliefs that are most important and dear to you, that help you find your way in the dark, that fill you with a feeling of purpose.  If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities. ”

“Our values should be so crystallized in our minds, so infallible, so precise and clear and unassailable, that they don’t feel like a choice-they are simply a definition of who we are in our lives. In those hard moments, we know that we are going to pick what’s right, right now, over what is easy. Because that is integrity-choosing courage over comfort; it’s choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy; and it’s practicing your values, not just professing them. “

LOVE Brene!

So, I made a list of my values-adventure, connection, authenticity, balance, family, ….. and came up with 18! How to decide? After much deliberation and further reading, I learned  that some broader values encompass other specific values (for me, connection includes family), I was able to narrow it down to just two core values, connection and authenticity.

finding your passion

That was the easy part. The next step is aligning our behaviors with our values, or as Brene calls it, “Taking values from BS to behavior.”

I think this is a life long process. We can infuse our core values into everything we do. In doing so, we ARE living our passion. No more searching, just BE who we are.

So next time you’re searching for your passion or trying to figure out what you want to be when you “grow up” just remember:

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

-Glinda the Good Witch

 

This post is dedicated to someone I know who is at the end of a difficult journey. She has inspired me with her strength and courage and has been questioning what she will do next, what she will do when she, “grows up.” I hope in some small way this creates some light along her journey to finding her passion.

 

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S.A.D.

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“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

This is a difficult time of year for many, including myself. Although each year seems to get a little bit easier, I still need some reminders to take it one day at a time, and to have self compassion. I thought you might need a gentle reminder too.

Below are some links to a few posts from past years that might be helpful. I wrote them when I was feeling low during the winter months. I hope that by reading them you feel me reaching out and giving you a nice big hug.

I attended a class today on how to keep mindfulness in our everyday lives.  I was so excited when I signed up months ago, but as this day fast approached, I felt that the timing wasn’t right. In fact, it couldn’t have been worse, since it’s the most hectic time of year with my work schedule. So much to do, how can I afford the time away from my work responsibilities?

It turned out that the class came at exactly the right time and it was just what I needed! The community and connections filled me up. It was in this class that my instructor read this quote:

“The future is an infinite succession of presents.”

Keep it moving in even the smallest of ways and we’ll get “there,” whatever and wherever that is for you. We got this!

Here are those links:

https://beallthere.net/2014/02/22/the-power-of-positive-thinking/

https://beallthere.net/2014/12/06/feeling-gray/

https://beallthere.net/2015/08/22/funkytown-just-passing-through

If you just have time to read one, the last one is one of my favorites!

 

 

Balance

balance

I heard a statement recently that made me reframe my thinking. As I attempted to balance on one knee and one hand during a gentle yoga sequence (audio), the speaker said,

Balance is not static, but consists of tiny, constant movements and adjustments.

My whole body shook from side to side. I tried to shore myself up from my center so I wouldn’t fall over.

This experience made me think about how I view my life when different aspects aren’t, what I consider to be, “optimal.” When I’m feeling defeated at work, one of my relationships is strained, I’m not as kind or positive as I’d like to be or I’m choosing too much screen time over self-care, I feel as if I’m sucking at life.

What I’ve come to realize is that life, by definition, is never balanced, nor is it static.

It consists of tiny, constant movements and adjustments.

We just have to center ourselves as much as possible (and try not to fall over).

I know this can be a difficult time of year for some. The holidays are approaching and the days are getting shorter and colder.

I know I have less energy, my mood is lower and I’m really missing my parents. If you read some of my previous posts, you might even notice that my writing is more introspective this time of year. I’m definitely feeling the feelings.

Although my life isn’t ever static, it’s become much more balanced. If you’re interested, I wrote an essay on what I know works for me. You can read about it here: https://beallthere.net/2015/06/20/be-all-there/

Wishing you balance (and peace) now and always.

Love,

Jeanne xox

 

 

 

Plan B (B is for Better)

pipe to UGL2

The recent rain opened up a new section of our usual kayak route.  Beautiful picture taken by my talented friend, Mary Ann

 

Over the last few years I’ve learned to loosen my grip and let go of preconceived expectations.  This was more out of self-preservation than desire to give up trying to control everything and everyone.

I’ve always felt that if I didn’t orchestrate my life then things would surely begin to unravel. But when I finally realized that I was unraveling, I let go. I was so tired of trying to keep all the balls in the air that I just gave up trying. It wasn’t easy or comfortable, but I was tired and I needed a rest, so I just let go.

And I waited for everything to come crashing down around me.

But it didn’t.

To my surprise, things at work, at home and in my relationships  didn’t deteriorate and, over time (and with practice),  I became much more relaxed and less stressed. Life became more manageable and enjoyable!

I’ve learned a few things about myself in this process, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned about my relationships. Not feeling the need to always control things and taking a step back has made space for me to hear and really listen to those around me. I feel as if my relationships are more balanced and authentic and have even been told that I’m more fun to be around! I sure hope so!

Letting go of preconceived expectations has eliminated the trap of paralyzing disappointment when things don’t go as planned. But what’s really exciting for me is that I’m now more open and curious to what I can learn from alternate plans. I feel like I have more of a variety of experiences with people, places and things. My world has expanded.

I recently made reservations at what appeared (online) to be a great restaurant. When I arrived I realized it wasn’t where we wanted to spend the evening with our friends. Not only wasn’t it low-key enough, but I had actually mistakenly made reservations at one of the other locations…..in another state!  We had a good laugh about my online reservation blunder, decided on another restaurant, had a delicious meal, a great time and, since we were so close to our place, were able to extend the evening back there. Plan B worked out better!

Sometimes I can’t find the products I usually use and end up trying other products that I like better, or my preferred hotel is booked and we end up staying at a really great place and make wonderful memories. One time my husband and I even planned an entire trip around a visit to a National Park only to find out once we got there that it was closed due to a government shutdown! This experience turned out to be the subject of one of my first blog posts.

Rather than wallow in disappointment, sadness, fear, and even anger that your plans don’t work out, be curious, adventurous and spontaneous and embrace Plan B!

It could be the Best thing you ever did!

 

Do you have an example of when Plan B worked out better? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Embracing Imperfection

buddhaEmbracing imperfection is easy when you feel like you’re doing a pretty good job of keeping your imperfections at bay and you’re feeling nearly perfect. But this seems counterintuitive. Kind of like when people say they place little value on money when they have never struggled financially or had to cash in their loose change for milk or bread.

But no one’s perfect and we should be acutely (and constantly) aware of that if we truly want to be accepting of who we are, warts and all.

Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.

~Brene’ Brown

What will people think of me? I wasn’t as kind as I could have been, I didn’t cover my mouth when I sneezed, I used foul language, I didn’t get around to talk to everyone, and on and on and on, the shame storm goes.

I know someone who always uses the quote, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.” I think it’s a sports reference. It always irks me when he says it, since I think we’re allowed to take a little break and appreciate how far we’ve come. It doesn’t mean we are backsliding. Sometimes we just need a rest.

Thank goodness I never reacted to him one of the many times he’s used this quote like I was tempted to with, “I completely disagree and here’s why!” I actually see the value in it now and, while we can feel good at how far we’ve come, we can’t rest for too long.

If we know what makes us feel healthy and balanced and we stop doing these things, then we may not feel so healthy and balanced.

I know what makes me feel good. I love to be out in nature, hiking, walking or gardening. I feel more balanced with meditation and yoga. These things make me feel strong and self-confident. Perhaps if I didn’t lose sight of them, if I continued to “move forward,” I wouldn’t worry so much about what someone thought about me when I didn’t cover my mouth when I sneezed.

Don’t lose sight of what you need to give yourself to be your best and keep doing these things. If you fall out of practice, get back into your self-care routine as soon as you can because you never know when you will be knocked off-balance and feel as if you are “moving backwards.”

If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.

~Herschel Walker

The Ebb and Flow of Life

the ebb and flow of life

I couldn’t wait to get home from work. I parked my car, got the mail, unlocked the door, stepped into my cozy living room, turned up the heat and changed into my pajamas.

It’s 3:38 in the afternoon.

It’s been a cold, unpredictable spring, with sudden changes in the weather, at work, and in the lives of the people I care about.

I’ve been struggling to find balance and momentum lately. I feel tired when I wake up in the morning and I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been following through in my self-care routine. I haven’t been able to keep up.

Keep up with whom or what?

When I paused to think about my feelings I realized that the standards that I fell short of were self-imposed and could easily be adjusted. Maybe I just needed to simplify my self care routine and focus on one thing right now, like meditation or writing, or even sleep. With warmer days ahead, perhaps I will focus on just getting outside and moving more.

Growth comes in many forms. Life is a process and there will be times that we move forward, times that we take a few steps back and times that we remain still, pause and reflect on how far we’ve come.

Each of these situations is an opportunity for growth.

“Being fully present isn’t something that happens once and then you have achieved it; it’s being awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life, being alive to the process of life itself.”

~Pema Chodron

Lose Your Stuff And Find Yourself

I really didn’t have a game plan, I just knew that getting rid of things made me feel better. Over time, letting go of the clothes, household goods, personal items, relationships and commitments that didn’t “add value to my life,” to quote The Minimalists (https://www.theminimalists.com/), allowed me to focus on what was beneath it all!

At first it was a little overwhelming. Without all of the distractions, I had no choice but to examine myself.

I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round hole and rather than get to know and embrace who I was, I found it easier to fulfill the various roles that I held: daughter, sister, friend, student, wife, mother, teacher. There was some sense of comfort in knowing what each role required and carrying out my “duties” to perfection.

But perfection isn’t ever attainable. I found that I was constantly concerned that I wasn’t meeting my high standards (or my assumptions of what others’ expected)  and exhausted for continually trying. I felt inauthentic. 

This time was different. I had simplified my life to the point of having fewer distractions and in grieving the loss of my dad realized that, while roles are fleeting and can disappear at any moment, who we are at our core is constant.

This time, I decided to remain focused on my simplicity journey and myself. I let go of the need to be in control, the expectations of others and the all or nothing attitude. These things hadn’t served me well, in fact, they depleted me.

I’ve shed many of my old habits and replaced them with what makes me feel balanced and happy (close relationships, meditation, nature, to name a few). I’ve written about them and my self-care routine in earlier essays if you want to read about them in more detail.  

I bring who I am to every relationship, rather than what I think any role might dictate.

Being authentic and following my heart is surprisingly easy. Simplifying me has made things less complicated, more carefree and lighter. I’m happier and able to focus my time and energy on what’s really important and meaningful to me and those that I love.

Who knew that losing my stuff would lead to finding myself?

Lose Your Stuff And Find Yourself

In the moment with Ellie!

Thanks so much for reading! Writing is something that I really enjoy doing. It helps me sort things out, in a way, and I hope that by sharing my personal journey I can help someone else or make even one person feel less alone. Please share if you’ve connected with my message and/or if you think someone else might. Thank you! xox

Jeanne