“A life without passion is like living without air…without it, suffocation is inevitable.”~Dawn Garcia
I first read that quote while walking through San Diego’s Artwalk in 2008. It was displayed across a mixed-media piece and it stopped me in my tracks. “Yesss…” I breathed. What is the point of living if it’s not fiercely passionate? Why love someone, have a job or do anything if it’s mediocre?
Often times the things we are passionate about aren’t practical ways to make a living. So rather than pursue them even just on the side, we abandon them altogether and trudge through life feeling unfulfilled. Instead of refusing to settle for anything but mad, passionate love, we decide that since we may never find it, that it’s better to not be alone, or to find someone that we simply get along with. We are no longer living, we are only surviving, we merely exist and we may not even realize it.
Living a life filled with passion isn’t something to just dream about. It’s something you can achieve, and sooner than you think.
The Art of Living a Passionate Life
It Starts Small
I love food. Eating is one of my favorite things and being Italian, good quality food is so important to me. I swear I can taste when something is made with love. At one point I decided that I would no longer eat something if it weren’t amazing. Suddenly, I was passing on donuts because they weren’t moist enough, pasta that wasn’t fresh, fruit that wasn’t ripe…If I put something in my mouth that tasted anything short of delicious, I set it down. I wanted to savor and enjoy the taste of food, and so I did.
If you eat junk all the time, you are less discriminate about what you put in your mouth. If you eat bland all the time, eating becomes a habit and a mundane ritual. When I cook, I cook with a purpose. I am thoughtful with my ingredients. Even when I am making healthful creations, I always ensure it has great flavor, because if not—what’s the point?
Start small with your life. Look at the places where you didn’t realize you were settling for less, whether it be the lunch cart or the coffee you drink, and commit to higher standards.
Find What’s Missing
Do you love to paint but because your work doesn’t rival one of the greats you don’t make time for it? Do you enjoy dabbling with code, but know you aren’t good enough to build websites from scratch?
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how good you are. There are people that hit up the same karaoke bar every week because they love to sing. Sure, maybe they know they won’t hit it big time, but they love it so they do it.
So what are you missing? What thing that brings you joy have you talked yourself out of? Whatever it is, get back to it. Hit the craft store, pick up the instrument, start splashing paint around. Being passionate about something doesn’t always have to equate to being good at it. And if you are good at it, or even great at it—that’s even more reason you should be doing it.
Embrace Your Work
Unless you are somehow independently wealthy, whether you have won the lottery or are a trust fund baby, you need to work to pay the bills. Do you like/love/enjoy your job? There are plenty of people that have jobs that some of us would find to be boring that others genuinely enjoy. So where are you at?
If your work isn’t bringing you some sort of joy, somehow, then think of what will. For some people, they are passionate about making money, and that’s good enough for them, others want to genuinely love what they do, and still some others might not love the actual work but love the results they produce. Everyone is different and it’s important to assess where you fit and what you want.
Not everyone is able to turn their passion into a viable career, but there’s always the possibility. I am a huge advocate for chasing down your dreams and if there’s something more you see yourself doing, then go after it! You don’t have to be reckless about it either. If you can’t (or don’t want to) drop everything and start fresh tomorrow, start doing what you love on the side until it becomes a full-blown career. You will know when you’re ready.
Give to Others
For me, giving to others is something I’m very passionate about. There is nothing like seeing a smile on someone else’s face and knowing that you put it there.
When you are living a passionate life, wanting to share and spread your passion becomes natural. Helping others to achieve their dreams or feel the way that you do about your life, feels good and can really become addicting.
Don’t be afraid to give to others, offer what you can of yourself, and you will see that you don’t lose anything by doing so. In fact, you’ll always have more than you need.
Have a Love Affair
After our first love fizzled out we have grown exceedingly more and more cautious with our choices. We date people who are “safe” and we refuse to let others beneath the superficial surface. We’re afraid to get hurt. We’re afraid it won’t work out. We’re afraid that we’ll care more than they do.
So what if you get hurt? So what if it doesn’t work out? So what if you care more than they do?
Every minute you’re on this planet and not loving at your max capacity you are doing yourself a great disservice. No, I’m not saying that you are nothing without a man, but if you’re going to be with a man (or a woman), don’t be with one you feel mediocre for. Don’t hold back from the one you feel wild about. If he’s not the right guy, you will know. Maybe he will hurt you, maybe he won’t care as much as you but you owe it to yourself to find these things out.
Having passion isn’t about losing your head. If you fall for a jerk, shake him off, move on and open your heart just as wide for the next one. Revel in the experiences, allow the sex to consume you, shudder at the touch of their hand. Each passionate love will lead you to the next, and when you have your heart open, you have the chance to allow the right person in rather than holding back because of being burned in the past.
This is probably going to be the toughest to accomplish, but also the most important key to a passionate life. And honestly, a constant work in progress. We are always harder on ourselves than we are with anyone else. What do you think it would look like to have a mad, passionate love affair with yourself?
It could be treating yourself to your favorite meal just because, buying yourself flowers, going to that movie you’ve been dying to see that no one else wants to. It could be giving yourself a break when you need one, forgiving yourself for the stupid choices you’ve made, patting yourself on the back for the good ones and celebrating your accomplishments.
Accepting who you are at your center and vowing to be the best possible version of you will set you on the path that you need to be on. The fun, slightly uneven path that most others don’t bother to venture down.
That woman in the mirror loves you and wants you to live a life full of passion and happiness, so much that you forget about existing, and truly living becomes second nature. Living a passionate life is truly an art form, but you don’t need to color in the lines to achieve one. Just follow your heart and you’ll be well on your way.
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