Passion is about being alive. Our passions make us who we are, help to define us and fuel our joys. I love it when I hear people describing their passions…“I discovered beekeeping in my 30’s, and now I sell honey all over the country.” “There was just something about tax law I found so compelling…I know it sounds boring, but to me it’s fascinating!” “Providing holistic health care to people with serious and persistent mental illness…it is my passion and has been for over 20 years.” “I can’t explain it…I pick up a paint brush and only then do I feel truly at home with myself.”
How exciting, then, to wake up each morning with the possibility of not only experiencing passion, but to come across it in some unforeseen way. In my experience, we can find passion unexpectedly, and just as often, passion unexpectedly finds us. But we have to be ready. To be ready, I’ve learned, we must cultivate our sense of curiosity.
Curiosity as a survival tool?
At a workshop I attended a few months ago, called The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter, one of the facilitators declared that we cannot simultaneously hold both curiosity and judgment in our hearts/minds. If we are judging someone or something, we cannot be curious about it. Our minds are closed, our decision is made, our judgments are levied….Good/bad. Safe/risky. Cool/awkward.
Yet, if instead we stay curious, those labels and judgments are held at bay while we observe, describe and learn about whatever is before us. This holding off of judgment is what lets the possibility of passion rise up. A closed mind is so busy defending its judgments that there’s no room for surprise, for delight, for discovery, for connecting to something that speaks to us….and our passions.
Did curiosity kill the cat…or save it?
In my life, I have spent so much time in “judgment mode,” categorizing people, events or situations as either “good” or “bad.” It’s perfectly understandable…in our early days as a species, if we judged quickly and wisely, we survived. We have a long history of coming out ahead when we chose action over deliberation…Remember the maxims, “Eat or be eaten” or “It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there”? And my personal ex-favorite, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Poor cat. That same sense of curiosity would have served him or her well today, I think.
Maybe, instead of judging, we need to slide ourselves over to the curiosity side of the survival continuum, as a way to not just to survive, but to navigate and thrive during these challenging, changing times. By connecting to our passions, allowing ourselves to be surprised and staying curious, we’ll develop a map of this unfamiliar territory. Who knows? Stay curious and find out what happens next.
What unexpected happening are you experiencing these days? How are your passions connected to it? What are you discovering about your passions as a result of this surprise?