One of the deeper crisis moments of life can be losing one’s passion.
Passion, what is it? The desire to be alive, the need to create, the spark driving your next step in life.
Words to describe passion: Ardor, Infatuation, Zeal, Frenzy, Fervor, Fire, Intensity, Commitment, Higher Calling…
What good’s a man
Who’s lost his soul
Can’t take a stand
Mmm, when his flame’s gone cold
– Avi Kaplan – Change on the Rise
We grab and strive towards passion, but to only hold it smothers it.
After a year and a half of COVID-19 and worldwide shutdowns, we are experiencing a hidden epidemic of passion depletion.
Let’s go into how to reignite the higher calling of feeling the fire again for your life.
Passion is Only Human
To be human is to hold a story. Passion is when we are living our story with all our heart. When we lose our passion, our life’s story deflates, and we lose direction.
A higher calling is when we release stories of survival and work towards stories of thriving.
So if you find yourself losing passion, examine if you are only surviving; if that is the case, it’s time to build up some infrastructure to live against and revisit your stories in life. Think about it for a second: passion is a creative and building process.
If you keep finding your passion falling apart, chances are you don’t have solid support to keep your passion growing in life. The fundamental foundation of being human is our stories. If things keep falling apart for you, chances are something is off in your story. Revisit and revise your stories in life to improve how well your passion grows in life.
One of the first steps of living a passionate life is revising your life stories towards positive outcomes. If your life story is tearing you down, eventually, the gutter’s mud only leaves you nothing to be passionate about in life.
It’s always possible to improve the script of your life’s story, always!
Steps to Finding Passion
In helping people, I go through several steps to solve a problem or to help them re-script their stories. The first step is usually triage, where you sort the situation out and deal with the most pressing problems. Fixing passion is usually many steps down the list. For example, you need to release an abusive relationship before fixing passion. It’s hard to have passion when another person is draining your life away.
Many people will try to fix their life by chasing passion as a way to ignore their problems. You can chase passion for a few years as a way to avoid problems, but over time your problems add up to gut your life down to nothing. Once you are down to nothing or suffering a nervous breakdown, no amount of passion will save your ass.
Understand the first step to reigniting passion in your life is healing and making sure you are in a strong place to be yourself. Healing is a process to make a person whole. If you wonder what you should heal in your life first, take a look at everything undercutting your life and slowly work towards your wholeness. Healing often can take a few years before you are ready to re-ignite your passion. You don’t launch a rocket with a broken engine (it will just blow up); you take time to repair and be whole before igniting your passion full burst.
Losing Passion at Work
Losing passion at one’s job is a widespread experience. I faced this problem also in my life, so I developed a technique to turn work into a monastic experience. Since passion is the force of how you push a story along, changing the story you are within changes the traction of how you interact with that story.
Working with a bad or hard job is never easy. I do help people redefine work all the time.
Here is a simple truth: passion and work don’t need to match up. Work is a tool for survival; people embrace passion for being more in life. Yes, many jobs are not going to match your passion. Sometimes we need to keep work simple and minimal and find passion in other parts of our life. Taoism teaches us to use force lightly and selectively. Put too much passion into your work, and you might discover you lose passion in other parts of your life. We have many, many stories we actively have at any one moment. To over-push passion into your work can take away passion from your lover, children, or other pursuits of life.
We can share passion, through inspiration, through our actions, by helping others when they are low.
Inspiration, while powerful, has limits. Inspiration on its own won’t be enough to save the world ahead. Inspiration may stir up the heart, but passion requires action from our hands and feet to make it real.
Comfort is the enemy of passion. In comfort, we stop our actions. Perhaps take a walk, go on a journey, write something down, kick start your life with little actions. Those little actions can then avalanche into bigger consequences that lead to new passions.
In being passive, we give up our actions to others. The actions of another person never replace our own actions. Sometimes in losing passion, it’s because someone else has taken our action away. Remember, in passion, to make passion your own by claiming your own actions!
Hard Truth: The love of another person isn’t enough to replace passion. Sometimes you do have to release people who hold you back in life.
Midlife Crisis Truth: Midlifers often struggle with reigniting their passion. Probably half the symptoms of a midlife crisis can be summarized as shifting passions!
Midlife partners are placed in a hard position. They cannot just jump into action for their partner (another person’s actions won’t ignite passion), and if they do nothing, they aren’t supporting a midlifer’s passion. It’s a classic catch-22 situation. If your partner is experiencing a midlife crisis, acknowledge their actions, but give them space so they can truly live in their actions.
Acknowledging passion is a major step in helping another person follow their passion. We are social beings. Our action to acknowledge another person’s passion goes a long way in helping others follow through with passionate actions!
Speaking of acknowledgment, I would like to give a shout-out to George Thompson.
George sent me a nice video of him following his feet to explore the world and Taoism. If you watch and are inspired by his journey, what actions will you take afterward to make a difference in your own life?
Passion & Essence
Earlier in the article, I said: “Passion is a force pushing your story along, changing the story, changes the traction of how you interact with life.” This is a deeper clue on how to work with passion. Living with passion is the path towards embracing your essence in life.
Essence is when we are truly living to our style in life. When a person lives to their essence, passion no longer becomes the primary driver for their life. As a person starts living to their essence, passion merges into the person rather than being something they push towards in life.
Once you are living to your essence, you feel complete in life. Passion dissipates as a driving force once a person is in their essence. You feel connected to life, and your pace slows down as you soak in life. This can be confusing at first, and a person can feel like they’re losing steam in life.
So if passion is the drive to strive towards your essence, why don’t more people just live to their essence? In Taoism, we teach live to your essence. In the West, children are taught to push to their passion. Neither approach is better nor worse than the other. Living to one’s essence tends to be more passive, while living to passion is a more proactive lifestyle.
One advantage of living more passionately is actively striving towards the many different aspects of “essence” we have within our nature. One advantage of living to your essence is to simplify your life.
If you find yourself losing your passion, perhaps it is a moment of your life to slow down to just be present in yourself. You can alternate between these two lifestyle approaches.
Rising to Your Passion
Living with passion is perhaps easier than living to your essence. Modern Western culture teaches people to push into their passion. Living to essence is a more passive approach to life.
I spend most of my time helping people stoke up their fires of passion over helping them settle into their essence. Both life choices are equally valid.
Closing tips to building up passion.
- Get enough rest. Burnout ends passion quite quickly.
- Eat well and have a balanced diet. Passion takes lots of energy and you need to keep your body and mind in peak form.
- Exercise and movement practices are important in keeping one in their passion. Dance!
- Make sure your hormone levels are solid. As we age, our hormonal levels change and can change our ability to push in passion.
- Be part of a community and share goals.
- Music to inspire you when you are feeling low.
- Release people who drain or undercut your passion.
- Change the story. It is easy to push towards the wrong story, and the lack of passion is the clue we are chasing the wrong story.
- Fix mistakes holding you back.
- Release mistakes holding you back.
- Take a break and recenter in your core essence to recharge your energy.
- Experiment!!! Many people think they know their passion and work towards destinations that differ from what they truly need to strive towards.
- Pause once in a while. Many times in passion we get ahead of ourselves, and we need to pause to let everything re-balance for better results.
- Sometimes we need to take care of more mundane things in life. If you feel stuck, take a few weeks to do all the little things you have avoided.
- Change your goals from large ones to smaller ones to help give you a sense of accomplishment.
- We are body, mind, and spirit. Modern culture ignores spirit. Take some time to explore your spirit, and you may re-ignite your passion with that dash of spirit added back into your life.
- If nothing works, then take a 3-month break to focus on your essence rather than passion.
Finally: Don’t live to fear! Fear puts out our fire. We are a living fire (we literally consume and burn with the food we eat). Find what burns for you and sing it out.
Sing out the jubilee
With all the fire we can breatheWe’re singin’ all day
And you can’t tame it
High tide, low tide, you know
Night time, mornin’ time, and
We’re goin’ strong