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want passion?

by Sandra Paolini

“The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.  This is what is called following your bliss.”  Joseph Campbell

We all want to feel passion coursing through our veins.  And sometimes it does.  But as an internal feeling, it’s very confusing.  It’s here, then it’s gone, leaving us feeling disappointed and even bewildered.

What’s happening?  Where’s the disconnect? 

the disconnect is not our fault

Well in a nutshell, the disconnect exists because we’ve built up all kinds of unrealistic expectations about what passion should feel like, think like, last like and be like.

It’s not our fault.  As with the “happiness myth”, we were set up… set up to expect lasting greatness, fireworks, magical transformation and a ticket to easy street.   But ask yourself; “has this ever happened”?

feelings come and go

Truth is, feelings of passion come and go.  They are not sustainable over the long term.  Like all feelings, they are transient, moving, flowing, fleeting and changing.  If you want them to be different than they are, you are the one who suffers.

So our only recourse here is to change our attitude.  How do we do this?  We cultivate the “aspiration” to be present with whatever shows up and then we work with it.  (This doesn’t mean we can actually do this… but we can aspire.)

So, when passion shows up, we watch it arise, question it, expand it, play with it, watch it as it changes and then let it go when it naturally dissipates. 

And then after it goes, we watch how our minds deal with all this.   Are we chasing after the feeling, beating ourselves up for not being passionate enough, sinking into a negative mind-set, giving up?  This too, is all part of the experience.  In fact, it’s a very important part.  It’s the part that shows us where we’re stuck.

being stuck has it’s benefits

Being stuck has its benefits.  It presents the opportunity to clearly see how we create our own misery.  It has a feel about it.  It usually feels bad, uncomfortable, and yucky.  Funny, but in a weird way, this seems to be the feeling we fixate on, enhance, practice and perpetuate.

But what if it were the other way around?  What if we enhanced, practiced and perpetuated passion, joy and bliss?  After all, we have the strategy down pat. Why not simply apply it to something that benefits us?

we want our good feelings to last longer

Part of the reason we don’t do this is that we really want feelings to last.  They don’t.  But somehow it seems much easier to get the bad feelings to last longer.  In fact, we’re masters at this process.  Perhaps because negative feelings have more energy, or are evolutionarily expedient, or are unconsciously internalized from early childhood. Or maybe it’s the deeply embedded hope that we too will be permanent, if our experiences are.  All this ties into our unconscious fear about death.  But that’s a another post.

Getting back to the point: if we’re so good at making matters worse, how can we use some of the same strategies to make things better?  Even though feelings are fleeting, is there a something we can do to foster a more stable sensation of passion?  Yes we can.  It’s almost too simple.  

when passion shows up, just feel it.

When passion shows up, just feel it.  Focus in, stay with it, sit next to it, give it a hug.  Observe what it feels like in the body and notice the thoughts and images around the feeling.  Breath it in and see if you can play with it as it expands on the inhale.  Can you move it around the body or even outside the body?  Can you drop the thoughts and just feel it?  Can you use it as a vehicle of compassion, wishing that everyone, without exception, could feel this?

And finally, can you let it go when it naturally dissolves?

it’s about natural stabilization

Yes, letting go is paradoxically part of the stabilization process.  Our willingness to allow experience to melt away can be freeing, liberating and healing.  When you think about it, how could this not add to passion?

So, when passion shows up; lean into it, savor it, play with it, then let it go.  As you do this, you’ll gradually notice the beneficial results and it will simply occur to you to keep doing this.  In the end, it will become a habit; your brain will be rewired, your attitude will be adjusted and bliss will abound.

practice:

  • Make an aspiration to notice. lean into, savor and expand passion whenever it shows up.  Further aspire to let it go when it naturally dissolves without chasing after it.
  • Physically write down this aspiration and place it by your bedside.  You can use a post-it, create a vision board or paint it on the wall.  Make it simple.  One sentence simple.
  • Read the aspiration every morning for a month.  Let your words be heartfelt, let them sink way down to the bone.
  • Check in at night and review how you did.  Don’t criticize, judge or compare.  Just review and fortify your commitment to continue.
  • Continue.


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