Living your Passion – the intuitive drive towards the deepest experience of self, requires us to take a risk, mostly the risk of trusting ourselves. When we do, fresh opportunities present themselves. Whether these come in the guise of challenges or welcome gifts, they often bring us closer to ourselves and what is most important to us.
In about November 2008, so that’s about 6 years ago, my husband and I were having one of our Friday-start-of-the-weekend talks. I remember saying to him that to live your passion, you are required to take risks. About 8 years before, he had stopped working for an employer and had become self-employed. This was a risk. It was also something essential to him that he needed to do. He was passionate about having a business of his own and being his own boss.
Nearly 22 years ago I moved to Australia from the Netherlands. The impetus to do so was an intuitive one. This is to say that I didn’t think it over or weigh the pros and cons; it was a choice I made with the sense that this is where I needed to go, something I needed to do in my life. I sometimes question whether there are decisions at all; maybe one just the follows signposts. Needless to say, this was a risk as well.
In both cases, taking a risk allowed a whole range of new possibilities and opportunities to open up in our lives. Moving away from the comfort zone of the familiar and the predictable steers you into new and unknown waters. Yes, it is a jump in the deep end, in that you learn to swim in a part of the sea where you don’t know how long it will be before you can feel firm ground under your feet again. In the process though, you learn a whole lot about yourself. How and why you did things before and beliefs you held to be true, often won’t work in the new life; they simply no longer have any relevance. This forces you to find those core, deeply held values that only major change brings to the surface. These core values are what describe your passion in life. Slowly but surely these values assist you in building your new life. How fast or slow this happens also depends on how easily you are able to become aware and let go of the building blocks of your former life; parts of your identity that are tied up with the job you had, the country you lived in and the social support you had in friends and family or relationships you leave behind. When you make a change purposefully and voluntarily, you’d generally expect some uncomfortable process of assimilation. This process of loss, grief and rebuilding takes place in its own time and you might not necessarily be able to fathom how long and in what ways this might happen.
To come back to the conversation I had with my husband on that evening in November…. To live your passion, you need to take risks, sometimes big ones and sometimes also little everyday ones.
That Christmas 2008 we holidayed in Newcastle again, with family, as we had done many times before. Every time we had been up there before, we would always say in passing ‘Gee, we could live here!’ (I have learned to take heed of the things that are said nonchalantly in passing, as they are often signposts.) This time we didn’t even say it, we just looked at each other and it clicked. We both knew what we were thinking. This was the big risk, the next thing to do. 7 months later we were living there… now here. We sold our property in the Hills east of Melbourne and moved the four of us plus dog and cats to a rental property with a pool in the backyard. Another 6 months saw us in our own house.
This time I felt I was well prepared, having learned from my move from the Netherlands to Australia and its integration over time. As soon as the decision to move had been made, I placed the intention of tying off all loose strings. I wanted to be as unencumbered as possible by the time we made our way north. This entailed having an awareness of what needed to be let go of and actively working towards making that happen. Now and again I even performed some little symbolic ritual for myself to aid this process in mindfulness. Mainly and generally I let go and forgave some of the difficult times I had had since coming to Australia and becoming a mother and wife. It was important to make the move with as little ‘baggage’ as possible.
It’s been nearly 5½ years now since we moved up here. Our life here is completely different from what it was before. Instead of living on an acre property on a dirt road on the edge of the forest, we live on a 600m2 block with neighbours 3 meters away! We live a much more urban lifestyle here and the beach is only ever a thought away. My husband has had to learn to do nothing in particular, which has been a long hard road for him! Weekends are no longer filled with house and garden maintenance, but consist of buying vegies at the local market while having a coffee, going to the beach, bike riding or spending the day in the pool or on the outside couch doing nothing much at all.
For me….I felt at home the moment I moved here, which I hadn’t truly felt for a very, very long time. So much so that I finally felt that I wanted to become a citizen of Australia, which I did, in 2010, after 18 years of living here.
Now finally having a sense of belonging and groundedness, I really feel I want to stay here for a long time to come. However that sense of belonging and being at home is not about a geographical place. Feeling at home is something that happens on the inside and is reflected in my environment and the people around me. And starting to feel at home in myself and in my life; I am starting to recognise myself, I am starting to get to know myself and what makes me tick and I am starting to be accepting of that and …. even love and like what I see.
So in taking that big risk we have taken a step towards living our passion. And even though the changes have been at times uncomfortable and unpredictable, we both now live a life that is more authentic and gives us more time for our family, for doing things we value and more time for each other. Personally, I feel more relaxed and peaceful within myself, each day coming more home to myself and my life.
Living your passion is about knowing what drives you, from a place deep down inside you and taking the risk of living that drive. Those deep values at the core of that drive will inform your beliefs and actions. So when you take the risk of change, it is not your values that change, but your beliefs about who you are and what is possible. When you go to a new country, you need a new language to interact with your environment. If you never go to that metaphorical ‘new country’, you might not realise there are other languages. Passion is the feeling of wanting to manifest your deepest values, that longing you feel to bring something precious from within you to the surface to enable to reveal it and share it with the world. Living your Passion demands you get to know yourself and the world over and over again.