Going through the motions. Boring routine. Living life on automatic. While we learn how to be ‘useful contributors to society’ by putting in the hours at work to earn our keep and not be a burden on society, many people find that the dullness and lack of emotional and/or intellectual connection with our method of earning money interferes with our love for life. How does one find that joy in everything they do?
Our programming as children sets in our adult subconscious mind the associations with comfort, wealth, happiness, responsibility, pleasure, discomfort, etc. While we learn to process our experiences as adults without the emotional outbursts and turmoil of the tantrum meltdowns of our prepubescent selves, we actually are for the most part driven by those childhood memories of a simplified world of good and bad sensations. A simple example of this is a child with two absent working parents who grew up with many siblings- having to compete for attention, eventually learning that it was their lot in life to be the neglected middle child, this individual grows to be an adult who has no problem functioning on their own on solitary work projects and probably even dislikes being amongst groups of people.
What does passion mean to an individual who learned to amuse and protect themselves without human interaction? To be ignored or attention starved as a child means that the manipulative use of crocodile tears does not work. It also means that if one grows up in a household that values reading, the young person will find companionship and a way to dream of other places through their readings. This explanation in Simon and Garfunkle’s song of emulating objects in nature, finding stimulation from a purely intellectual source, and the ‘reward’ given to ‘good’ children who follow the rules of being seen but not heard, shows the poetic shutting down of the human want and need for touch~ “…I am a rock, I am an island… I’ve got my books and poetry to protect me… An island never cries.” And so begins a life lived as an oxymoron- solitary confinement surrounded by throngs of people, committing hundreds of hours to doing purposeful work that earns money for the coiffers to afford spending a limited amount of quality time doing what one REALLY wants to do.
I am really fortunate as a worker bee in the work force- I am blessed with work that is play and I get to play at work. Starting at a very young age with the determination to make my adult career a professional musician in the world of Classical music, the hours of honing my skills in the practice room, in private lessons, in orchestra and chamber music rehearsals paid off with playing and well paying opportunities for me around the world. The music field is competitive, but I simply put my head to the grindstone and set to work, proving to myself that with focused study and work ANYTHING is possible. My mentors along the way also impressed on me that it was my obligation to give back to society by teaching others. The concept “If you want to learn something you are passionate about, find a a good teacher. If you want to become a Master at that passion, you must teach.” is very important to finding the joy in one’s life, your life’s passion. But that is just the beginning. I have learned that probably the most important element in this equation of finding and honing in on the passion that brings absolute joy to one’s life is seeing through the successful attainment of that craft in your students. To introduce people to a particular hobby or interest at the novice level is easy enough because anything new is always shiny and fun. But to practice diligently, crafting one’s skills through a structured practice with focus/patience/discipline takes the level of participation and understanding to an entirely new level.
The Three Steps of Passion Work
Engaging people in today’s overstimulated world is a challenge. And yet there can always be a unique attraction for that which is of the dream world. The first step on the path of finding one’s passion is in connecting with an activity that brings an emotional/energy charged reaction when thinking about it or participating in that activity. While I have lived most my life and loving it as a musician, my single-digit years were spent participating on a competitive swim team which established for me at a young age the habit of getting up very early to participate in this most exhilarating of team sports. The nature of the music world has a lot of competition and solitary practice, which leads to a rather unhappy musician if they don’t have it in their practice or value system the need for cross-training in a completely different activity that will work other parts of the brain, social dynamic, and body. Pretty much any kind of sport is good for the professional musician to participate in, and it happens that one of my physical joys is in discovering the many layers of the body through yoga. About five years ago, when I first dabbled in the physical (asana) practice of yoga, I found that following the instructor’s directions in the beautiful flowing Sanskrit language and the numerous minutiae details of body alignment to be overwhelming during the yoga class, especially while the music was blasting, and so I decided to take an Instructor Course for the sake of making my class participation as a student more comfortable and fluid. I also stumbled on to the practice of partner yoga, eventually taking private lessons in this movement art as well. The body awareness and strength that I have gained over the past five years immersed in a daily asana practice has dramatically influenced and improved my musical playing abilities, inspiring me to take my solo recital presentations in a different direction- this renewed passion for my craft is a blurring of the lines of dancer and musician, a little bit of which I talk about in my post titled HOW TO CONQUER THE STAGE. Check it out at https://karenelaineyogamusic.wordpress.com
Soon after renewing my passion in music by incorporating partner dance/strength/balancing elements of acrobatic yoga, I was offered a delightful invitation to teach beginners how to do this partner/acro/trust yoga in the beautiful meditation garden of the Mystic Journey Bookstore when they opened their newly expanded space at 1624 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the chic and spiritually evolved section of Venice Beach. A workshop geared for beginners but of course open to acro yogis of all levels, I now had the opportunity to REALLY learn this physical practice by offering my care and attention as a teacher to others. Teaching a craft profoundly develops one’s understanding and appreciation for that specialty, an important part and element #2 of finding and honing one’s passion work.
Last year, I had a beautiful young couple sign up for my weekly INTRO TO ACRO YOGA WORKSHOP at the Mystic Journey Bookstore http://www.mysticjourneybookstore.com. Dave and Maysa had a plan- they were going to be getting married in six months and wanted to learn a few partner yoga poses. They were both novices to this particular practice of yoga and they were both coming in with mild physical injuries. I always encourage my students during class to be mindful of what’s going on in their bodies- with patience and daily practice, all is coming.
As is my practice, I enjoy taking my students on a tour of the bookstore to encourage them to invest in the yoga anatomy picture books and my favorite book Contact Yoga which has some of the partner stretches and balancing poses we visit during the workshop session. The value in having these books is that while I am the Instructor once a week, they have to be the tutor for six days a week. Two months of weekly workshops, a photo session, a magical wedding ceremony, just now back from their honeymoon on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and this beautiful and inspired pair of students shared THIS with their teacher~
One’s mission is accomplished when such inspired images of love and light are brought back as a thank you to the teacher. Oh, and I am still striving, pursuing the infinite ways that passion/life/work intersect. I am ever grateful for the blessings in my life, which include the emotional excitement and electrical charge of doing something incredible that happens to inspire others to also raise their vibration to one of pure joy and love for life. Here’s to finding one’s passion, drawing wealth and great value from it and spreading that good stuff around.