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All our lives may be charted as a series of “letting go” experiences.  Sometimes we choose and let go graciously, often we are forced to let go and most often of all, we let go by “making them wrong”.  To be born into this chaotic, inspiring frightening, beautiful,  painful rich life, we ‘let go” of the womb. Soon after, we “let go” of mother’s breast. We let go of our childish stuffed animals and move onto more sophisticated toys… and so it goes.

People, experiences, ways of viewing the world – as we mature and grow we “let go”of what is outdated, too narrow, too small for our larger selves. And in this “letting go” we gain new experiences, new work, new friends, lovers,  a broader world view.

Some people make these moves with grace while others struggle and chafe as they make their way through life. What is the secret to this grace?  Is it a gift for a special few or are we all equally capable of bringing it into our daily lives?

“Making them wrong” is the way many of us “let go”. We qualify our decisions by finding fault in the people or places we are leaving, the organizations we no longer support, the teachers we no longer go to. By finding fault, the responsibility rests elsewhere. We are absolved. Furthermore, any movement away is seen as a wise move.

Yet, if we closely observe those we admire, we see that they too “let go” only they do so without blaming. Instead, they are able to appreciate what they received, honor the gifts, the lessons learned and experience true gratitude while moving on. The energy of gratitude is very different from that of blame.  Gratitude invites us in, asks us to come near the campfire to warm ourselves. Gratitiude is expansive, creating space for wonder and awe – for feelings of blessing.

Blame is stiff, hard and cold. Blame is strident and points a crooked finger. Blame makes our eyes squint, thus limiting our vision. It is contracted, thus limiting our movement. Rather than possibility, blame subtracts from what is possible, keeping our attention on  staying hurt or anger and being a victim.

The choice is yours. Will you choose the gains in letting go or blame?

Passion is Power: Finding Yours

“Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” asks Mary Oliver in a famous poem.  What is your answer?

And on a spectrum between  faint interest and rabid obsession  when are you in the red zone?  These days, when do you light up? Sometimes the details of humdrum making a living are so entangling that even the idea of passion loses it juice. Gregg Levoy, in Callings, says that “passion is accompanied by the sound of primal yahoos, castanets in the heart, the beating of wings.” When  and where do you experience this upsurge?

Passion is what we would do if we weren’t worried about consequences or the neighbor’s opinions or our self-image or just stuck in  outdated routines.. It is the path we would follow if we dared rip away the “shoulds” of our lives and seek beneath them for meaning and connection. The form passion takes is less important than the movement to staple it to our living. Regardless of whether we take up  the tenor sax, or  trek in Nepal, began writing children’s books or open a knitted shawl business, something profound shifts. Sometimes adversity points out strengths we didn’t know we possessed, or   a collaboration leads us in a new direction. We  may educate ourselves into a calling or simply add a magical  ingredient to our life without a total overhaul.  Regardless, we must find the courage to seek our aliveness. The movement towards our passion is  more critical  than the shape it takes.

Often we freeze because we believe  that living into passion means reconstructing our lives from the ground up – a daunting enterprise.  Sometimes inertia imprisons us. If we re-frame our fears, we find moving into passion more like a breathing into a conspiracy of Life coming to meet us, if we dare whisper what  ignites our creative force.

Reflection: In a journal over the next two weeks, record those events of each day where you came present. What sensations signaled that shift? What thoughts arose? After the two weeks, review for any emerging patterns. Then ask yourself: How can I bring more of this into my life?  What next steps am I willing to commit to and for what length of time? Who can support me in this?

Passion connects us to our humanity – our dynamic, creative potential. Through a passionate engagement  we respond to life  deeply, fully. Breath deeply, come  present and dance into your fullness. Like the knock of Love at the door, when passion rings the bell, there is only one response: Follow!