How do you feel about the phrase “living your passion”?
Does it make you tingle from head to toe, eager to bust out and share your passionate stuff with the world?
Or does it piss you off?
I used to be in the latter category. Mostly because I wasn’t living my passion.
It seemed impossible. Unattainable. But with time, and spiritual practice, the impossible and unattainable became possible and attainable. (To read more about how I got there, go here and here and here.)
These days, my passion shows up in three forms: writing, speaking and music. Sometimes, like with metaphysical nerd rap, I get to do all three at once and achieve living my passion nirvana.
It was while frolicking in the land of nerd rap nirvana that I came face-to-face with three very different reactions to what I was doing.
What was most helpful about this experience was that each reaction was like a barometer, helping me to assess just how fully I’m living my passion.
Are you thoroughly confused?
I hope so. Cuz I’m going to explain it all. Right now.
Way back when, I participated in a One Heart Choir concert at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa. I accompanied the One Heart Choir for six years. The experience transformed me as a musician – I bloomed and blossomed in the love of the choir and its director, Claire Victor.
Because of all that bloomin’ and blossomin’, I left my choir gig to pursue other activities. Like building OhMyGod Life with my wife Melissa.
For my last concert with the One Heart Choir, Claire invited Melissa and I to do one of our spoken word songs. We chose a song called Peace, Presence, Power.
In this song, we invite the audience to do the spoken-word chorus with us. Every time we do it, Melissa and I go into a trance.
In a good way.
At that point, this particular song was still really new, and I’d never done it at my home Center before. I was feeling apprehensive. Although there were hundreds of people in the audience, I managed to channel my apprehension into worrying about the reactions of two key people.
The first was A-Person-I-Was-Sure-Wouldn’t-Like-It.
Spoken word is not her thing. Melissa’s music is not her thing. I knew she was going to hate it, or at least not like it very much, and I was dreading her reaction. Not that she would tell me she didn’t like it.
But I was sure I would somehow know that she hated it.
The second was A-Person-I-Really-Wanted-to-Like-It.
Her opinion is important to me, and I really, really wanted her to like the song. I thought she might, I hoped she might. But I wasn’t sure.
The rest of the audience fell into a third category, one I’ll call People-I-Hoped-Would-Like-It-But-I-Didn’t-Care-One-Way-Or-The-Other.
Of course, I wanted everyone to love it, but I know that’s not always the case. As I’m learning from Karma Yoga, it’s about doing my best and turning the results over to the Divine.
After the concert was over, one of the first people who came up to me was the Person-I-Was-Sure-Wouldn’t-Like-It.
She loved it. She said the song moved her deeply. She said Melissa and I were onto something really cool and we should keep doing more.
Alrightee then. So much for my assumptions.
A little while later, I saw the Person-I-Really-Wanted-to-Like-It. Although I would love to say I was totally cool and nonchalant about it, I wasn’t. Not at all. First thing I did was ask her if she liked the song.
She said she did, but it was what I’d call a lukewarm response. Like piping hot tea that’s had plenty of time to cool down and is now the temperature of spit.
It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.
I then spent the rest of the night interacting with the People-I-Hoped-Would-Like-It-But-I-Didn’t-Care-One-Way-Or-The-Other. Many of them loved the song. Others didn’t mention it. It was all fine with me.
Until the end of the night.
That’s when I was approached by one final member of the People-I-Hoped-Would-Like-It-But-I-Didn’t-Care-One-Way-Or-The-Other group.
This person said he loved my piano playing. He wanted to me to know that I was a great piano player and that, no matter what, I should keep playing the piano.
He didn’t mention the song at all.
Once the event was over and I’d had a moment to catch my breath, I realized that these three different reactions were a great litmus test for me. Indeed, each reaction provided a way for me to gauge how fully I’m living my passion.
Check it out:
1. The reaction of the Person-I-Was-Sure-Wouldn’t-Like-It was one of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm fueled my own.
She gets it! How cool is that?! I loved doing the song, and she loved hearing the song! Yesssssss.
It was like the Universe saying: Ding-Ding-Ding! You’re on track!
2. The reaction of the Person-I-Really-Wanted-To-Like-It was one of room-temperature spit. This lukewarm reaction made me realize that it’s not my job to make everyone love what I’m doing. Not even people I really, really, really want to impress.
It was like the Universe saying: Do it for Me. Not for others. Do it because you love it. And I love it. That’s enough.
3. The reaction of the Person-I-Hoped-Would-Like-It-But-I-Didn’t-Care-One-Way-Or-The-Other group was one of totally missing the mark. His reaction helped me see that playing the piano is not my passion. Yes, I like doing it. But it doesn’t have the same charge and excitement as the spoken word songs.
It was like the Universe saying: He might not be able to see the power and importance of what you’re doing. But I can. And that’s all that matters.
Each one of these 3 reactions – the person who got it, the person who kinda got it, and the person who didn’t get it at all – allowed me to see more clearly what was important to me. And to the Divine.
The key was to notice my reaction to their reactions.
As I did so, I was able to use each of their reactions to bring me closer to owning and claiming my passion.
So the 3 ways to tell if you’re living your passion are:
1. How do you react to people who appreciate your efforts to live your passion?
2. How do you react to the lukewarm spit people?
3. How do you react to people who don’t get it at all?
Your reactions might be different than mine, but they’ll help you see when you’re on track.
That said, I know there are lots of other great ways to tell if you’re living your passion. What are some of yours?! Share your comments below!