Last week I was able to offer you the beautiful notion of harmonious passion. Music connects. It stirs our souls.
A new passion almost always starts like that—beautiful, warm, exhilarating, fun, a little scary (in a good way). Harmonious.
And then often, when the work starts to creep in, it can feel loud. Overwhelming. Unobtainable. Frustrating. Scary (in the not so good way). Other priorities might start to suffer.
How do we keep our passion part of our perfect song?
While there is no manual, we can gather tools to cultivate our passions. To nurture them like we care for newborn babies, puppies, or even a brand new plant. We need to move forward with a sense of awareness.
Say yes to awareness. Just say no to balancing your passions with other priorities.
In order to live with passion, we cannot expect to honor a traditional and defined sense of balance. Our scales need to constantly tip. When we add new life to our busyness we understand that more time and energy goes into caring for the vulnerable creature. We don’t expect life to feel easy or for our time and energy to be spread out evenly over all aspects of our lives. The scales tip, but with awareness not so much that we give up on all other things that are important. Showering. Eating. Drinking water. Exercising. Reading. Time with family and friends. We need to treat our new passions the same. You can let some things come to the top while still honoring others.
If caring for another living creature doesn’t stir up feelings of positive imbalance, then think of exciting times in your life. In the book, The Passion Paradox, authors Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness ask the question, “During the times that you have felt the most alive, have you also felt balanced?” Consider when you fell in love, worked toward a big project, or focused on training hard for a sport. This was not a time of life balance.
If you are constantly striving for the idea of balance you will always have the sense of falling short. Your energy will be used to resist your true desires. This leads to discouragement, frustration, bitterness, resentment, and ultimately often giving up on your goal. To find true balance you will be forced to dull you excitement and energy for your new passions or inauthentically shine importance on mundane things to bring them further to the top. This does not sound harmonious at all.
Living in the pursuit of passion and striving for balancing priorities are contradictory goals.
Tip the scales. Allow yourself some single minded time in your passion while learning to make the sacrifices that work best for you. Maintain awareness of other priorities in life. Be alert to the potential for obsessing, which most often leads to burnout. Having a keen sense of self awareness helps ensure that you are intentionally choosing how you pursue your passion. You have a sense of control, versus constantly reacting. Being aware will give you a sense of peace and excitement when pursuing who you really are and what you really want.
When I first started racing I had little self awareness. I went all in. My life became mostly about mom-ing, training, and churching. My husband worked almost all of the time and so wife-ing was not part of my harmony. After noticing this he decided that he would pick up my hobby in an effort to spend more time together.
It was thoughtful and sweet. His intentions were out of love. And I am embarrassed to say that I was not excited by this. I felt territorial over my new ‘me’ time. He has always been good at athletic endeavors and I didn’t want him to steal my glory. I reacted out of selfishness and insecurity. Luckily, he did not give up on the hobby or on me.
After my reaction I felt ashamed. I spent time thinking that I should achieve more balance. Sadly, it either left me feeling lackluster or filled me with an overwhelming sense of constant failure and resentment. Over time I realized my need for self awareness and instead pursued that. I became grateful for having a partner who truly understood the demands, investments, and joys that come with our sport. In 2008, we toed our the start line of our first half ironman enjoying the imbalance of life. More aware. Together.
Letting go of the idea of evening the scales and instead focusing on awareness led to self love, a healthier marriage, AND an amazing training partner. And now, a family that races together.
So if not focusing on obtaining balance, how do you nurture your passions without becoming obsessive?
- Work to achieve self awareness. This has to be intentional.
- Have your priorities in order when seeking and cultivating a new passion. Be honest with yourself and others. Communication is key with family and friends.
- Choose to be great rather than to settle.
- Focus on gratitude. You don’t have to do the work in your new passion. YOU GET TO.
- Make healthy sacrifices to honor what you really want, not what you want right now. Eat for fuel and nourishment. Get enough sleep. Respectfully rid your life of distracting situations and toxic relationships.
- Find supporters that encourage you to be the best you. Spend time with them. Encourage them as well.
- Let go of the idea of balancing your time and energy across all interests. If that is what you are striving for you will never be able to live out passions. Scales must tip. Constantly. Focus on awareness instead.
- Be the real and BIG you. If you are excited— be excited! Do not downplay yourself or your new passion process in order to tip the scale away from you. When you are you I promise you that you will be better able to serve others.
Let go of trying to hold all things up at the same level. Become aware. Let some come up and don’t be afraid to drop others.
Gain the control of nurturing your passions. They are yours.
Keep playing your song.