If you have been following my blogs or been to my website, you have heard me say, “AWAKEN! It is time to live a more meaningful life!” Today, the question that begs an answer is, how? How do you go from:
Busy, Busy, Busy…
People pulling you from here to there…
Not enough time in the day to finish the projects…
Not enough energy to meet all the family demands…
Working a ho-hum job that just pays the bills…
After all, if you are like most people, you are just trying to get through the day, make ends meet, get to work on time, be a nice person and occasionally get a guilt-motivated workout in. Right?
Just getting through each day is challenging enough. Admittedly, routine may feel a bit ordinary and mediocre, but it’s plenty demanding none-the-less. But, meaningful??
Maybe you feel that some of what you do is meaningful. Taking care of the kids is meaningful. Listening to a friend is meaningful. Paying the bills is important, so I guess that’s meaningful. Loving well is meaningful. But, where is the passion in the meaning? How do you go from an ordinary, mediocre, busy existence into a passion-fueled “I can’t wait for tomorrow!” and “I make a difference!” in my everyday life? Does that kind of life even exist?
I think it does, and I think it starts with you.
Passion and Meaning are not fueled from outside, but sourced from within. For instance, you might think that winning the lottery would be just what you need to live a more meaningful life. After all, you would not have to work so hard at your ho-hum job all the time. You could finally do what you really want to do. Consequently, you reason, an improved bank balance would provide the fuel to energize the passion resulting in a more meaningful life.
Or, maybe for you, it has nothing to do with money. Maybe, if that toxic person that has invaded your life would just leave you alone for a while (or permanently) you would be way less distracted and could finally find something you feel passionate about and thus achieve more meaning in your life.
Or, maybe if you could find a better job. Doing something that you actually like, rather than doing stuff every day that you don’t really care about. Maybe that would give you more meaning and ignite passion.
But here is the reality check: Passion and Meaning do not come from changes in outside circumstance. They always come from within. They represent states of being. Passion is about who you are being and how you feel inside. It is not about altering outside conditions so as to suddenly arrive at passion and finally have meaning in your life. I get it, I really do. We all want our lives’ circumstances to change now and then. But, the two important take-aways are: 1) Whether or not life circumstances change, a Meaningful and Passion-filled life is still available, and 2) Becoming an “Awakened” person is the sustainable source for a truly Meaningful Life.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I was smack in the middle of an ordinary, mediocre (healthy or so I thought) life, searching for passion. Cancer was a HUGE interruption to my plans. Amazingly however, it was during cancer that I was able to feel the presence of my passion. It was within that very painful and unexpected circumstance that a more meaningful life was born in me. Here are three lessons I learned:
1 Become Aware
Cancer treatment was a rough road for me. It forced me to slow my life down (because I was sick, not because I wanted a slower life) and to tune-in to what mattered to me. Living with a diagnosis that catapulted me into a balancing act between life and death, suddenly gave me permission to tune-in, get real, and stay brave.
Here’s some free advice. Don’t wait for the dreaded diagnosis. That is definitely the hard way to do it. Get real now! Become aware of how you feel inside.
Passion is about energy. Feeling depleted, demoralized and damaged means passion is missing. Take time to get clear about what depletes you and what energizes you. (If you are a pen and paper person, write it down. Make two columns. Energy and Depletion). Then, do more of the things that energize you and do less of the things that deplete you. Add more good things and eliminate the bad. This takes courage, bravery and time. We often drive our lives down the path of least resistance. Mediocrity, routine and the ordinary require little risk. Doing the courageous often upsets the proverbial apple cart.
More free advice: It’s your life. Go ahead and dump the apple cart. Life is too short!
2 Take Action – (dumping the apple cart…)
Get out of your head. Don’t overthink it. Take action. Action can be small. Start small – but start! Passion is energy and taking action requires momentum. Once you take action, you naturally create inertia. Inertia is a great friend because it helps produce change. Being connected to your passion (and subsequently living a more meaningful life) is a continuum – a state of being – and it is only available from within.
When you become aware that your life is your life and welcome the courage it takes to start the change; when you take some action by moving away from what depletes you into what energizes you, transformation happens! You will begin to see the possibilities. A passionate and meaningful life will no longer be a thing to reach and achieve outside of you somewhere. It will become your own. It will resonate within.
3 Focus on Progress
Progress comes step-by-step. Focus on progress rather than on the whole project. As you begin to see the possibilities, build on them. Explore your ideas and try things along the way. Do some research and get feedback. Every time you make progress and add an energizing element to your life, acknowledge it, feel it, and live it. Your passion will join you as you progress. Your life will become more meaningful. Perfection is NOT required.
Passion came alive to me, right in the middle of chemotherapy and wigs. I focused my day making one step of progress after another. Believe me when I say, some days I didn’t believe I made any progress at all and some days I felt like the advancement was very small. But once I decided that I would focus on making progress, my life became an exciting adventure to be lived, even if it was in waiting rooms, doctor’s offices and infusion centers.
A more meaningful and passionate life is available to you. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your life at this very moment. You don’t have to go get it. It is not ambiguously outside of you somewhere wrapped up in the crazy veneer of your life. Passion and meaning are states of being. They will naturally come to you. They are about who you are and how you feel inside. Become aware and Awaken!, take action, and make progress. It is your life. Live it!
Karen Creasey is a Speaker, Author, Health Coach and Personal Trainer. She is passionate about motivating, inspiring and educating people to improve their health, wellness and overall life performance. Karen is the cheerleader everyone needs! Find her on www.karencreasey.com