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Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Passion For?

Growing up in rural Austria of the 70ies, I did not hear much talk about passion from parents or teachers. Looking back though, I was already living them from very early on and chances are, so were you. As adults, our passions can help us during days, when things seem difficult or even dire and make us or break us in times of grief and transition …

Sitting on my beloved swing-set, watching snow melting away and snow drops break through the ice, inspired me to come up with my first poem and sang it over and over, so that I remember it to this day. At 13 I won the writing competition in my school. Writing carried me through transitions of moving away to college, break-ups, as well as helped me stay compassionate and yet unattached enough to the sorrows of my 10 000 callers at my my job at a psychology helpline. Yet, it took decades before I became conscious of being a writer and developing that passion further (as in this blog, my columns, published articles).

Another passion of mine showed up in my favorite childhood play, which was helping imaginary customers choose patterns for their homes from my napkin collection (which were the samples). I remember that I wanted to help them be happy with their environment and themselves. Being a psychologist and life coach is the adult translation of that passion to help people be happy with their lives, and a big part of who I am today.

These are two examples of passions showing up early in life and playing key roles throughout the life-span. We all have them. It is as if it is instilled in us and we are happiest if we make them conscious enough to incorporate them into our current lives and continue to develop them.

I have seen stamp collecting carrying people through times of grieving for a deceased parent, cooking and gardening being the only reason for someone with depression to get out of bed, singing help a client overcome stuttering in one case and decrease shyness in another. A friend overcame her "empty nest" with marketing her desired cookies and selling them on farmers´ markets, another one redefined meaning in life after years of infertility treatments by reconnecting with her passion for crafts and opening an online store with her handmade items.

We don´t need to turn our passions into a profitable business or make them even pay for themselves. What they add to our lives is far more valuable than money. They bring balance, fulfillment and meaning to our days short- and longterm and are invaluable times spent in our days.

It can be tempting not to see their intrinsic value and rationalize them away, after all, we are always too busy already. I strongly advise you to make them a priority and make sure your passions have a presence in your life. It may take some time and prompting to reconnect with them, but they will resurface.

Start with 2 questions:
What was your favorite childhood play? What did you want to be as a child, when your grow up?

May the passions run strong in you.