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Finding Your Special Thing: Connect with Your Passion

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” ~Rumi

You know what it is; you’ve always known. Maybe it’s been just a shadow in the fog, or it’s crystal clear in amazing Technicolor before your eyes. Either way, it’s there, sometimes stinging you with a numb sense of denial, sometimes scratching at your skin like a bad case of poison sumac.

It’s existed since the day you arrived on earth with a cry and a gasp.You knew it already when you were small, when you drew pictures with crayons and finger paint, when you learned what a ruler was and how to multiply by three. When you found out that nouns were followed by verbs and that seeds, planted right below the surface of the dirt and given water to drink, would sprout green just days later.

You knew it then, and you know it now.

So many things vie for your attention. Job, kids, house, yard. Family, friends, the blessed computer. But your special thing sits right under the veneer of frenetic busy me, counting the days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds for you to finally take notice and accept its sacred presence.

When you see someone else doing something that remotely resembles your special thing, you might react in a panic.“Wait. Her. She’s living my dream!!” But it’s not someone else living your dream that brings on the racing heartbeat; it’s that you are not living your dream yourself.

Your special thing is your work. It’s your purpose. It’s the goodness that you produce from the center of your heart. You might already be doing it without completely realizing it. You’d do it without having to be paid for it but if you could make your living from it, what joy it would bring.

When I first started to heed the call of my special thing, my husband and I were working as hard as we could, thinking there would never be another way, wondering how long it would take for us to just burn out and disappear.

There was something in the distance, though, a chance thought. It was engulfed in mist at first, but emerged into the light as an opportunity.

In a short span of time, my husband’s and my professional situations changed, and the possibility to buy an abandoned farm in Italy presented itself. We sprang on it, knowing it was the right thing to do at some deep level.

It required us changing countries, diving into a language we didn’t speak, and integrating into a culture we didn’t understand. What developed over time, with a huge amount of physical and emotional restoration work, was a little bed and breakfast.

I thought that was it, that I had, with a great expenditure of effort and energy, found what I was meant to do. But that was just the beginning.

Once the old stone house was renovated, up and running, and filled with guests from around the world, I started a blog about our experiences. That blog has now turned into an ebook about courage and change, and an about-to-be-published novel about the Italian wine country.

I now see that my relationship with life change has allowed me to experience something much more important than rebuilding a house from rocks and cement.

Mentoring people through words touches me in a deep place. Whatever I’ve put out there has come back to me thousand-fold, as people, after reading what I’ve done, share with me their stories, their dreams, their hopes and fears. This old house was simply the stage I chose from which to create my own opera. My calling is clear.

After years of digging and restoring, both literally and figuratively, I had opened the door to my special thing. And I’m just getting started.

It might be drawing buildings with computers; it might be raising clay high from a metal wheel. It could be talking to mothers in trouble or to kids without mothers at all. It might be bringing meals to the elderly, running in marathons, painting murals on the sides of walls.

Whatever it is, if it’s still just a shadow in the distant haze that you can’t quite yet fathom, there are a few things you can do to coax your special thing into the sunshine.

Learn to say no for the purpose of freeing up energy for your special thing.

Refusing to take on commitments that exhaust you and pull you in too many directions will give you pockets of time to focus on what you love.

Take ten minutes of silence without thinking every day to clear your tired mind and make way for new ideas.

This can be a form of meditation, or you can simply call it your quiet time. Sit by yourself and imagine your thoughts floating by and away as clouds. Stick with it for at least ten minutes each day, in a place where you will not be disturbed.

Surround yourself with mentors who understand the things you’re drawn to.

You’ll find there’s no room for jealousy or insecurity when you actively engage with people doing work similar to work you would like to do. Ask questions and show gratitude for the answers. More often then not, if you open up to people you respect, they will help you on your path with generosity and joy.

Know that you already know what’s right for you, because you do.

You were given that knowledge before you could even think. Now all you need to do is access it, call it forth, make it happen in the three dimensional world.

Once you’ve discovered your special thing, embrace it.

Love it and absorb it as if it’s part of you, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a reflection of your soul in its sparkling, individual glory. It will open the path back to who you really are.

Once you start, there’s no stopping. Your energy, your determination, your love will be contagious. Giving  yourself over to the thing you love will open new channels of healing for your soul.

And maybe most important, you’ll  become a mentor yourself someday, for someone whose special thing is just a shadow, hiding in a thin shroud of fog.

Photo by Undazir

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Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Jonathan

    I have realized my passion over the past few years having stemmed from pro bono work my advertising job has allowed me to do. I am currently transitioning into working more with non profits catering primarily to abused children and the homeless, but without being in the ad job, never would have gotten to do the work for this cause. So one intentional strategy led me to my passion, and I am thrilled about it. Good post as usual!! (and I’d love to win that book Lori!! Peace)

  • Uzma

    Mentoring people through words- how beautiful. I find inspiration in sharing words that describe the wisdom and magic of this world. Your story is beautiful. Thank u for sharing.

  • Barbara

    This is so true. I thought when I admitted to myself and spoke out loud that I was an artist I’d discovered my thing. Then I wrote a children’s book and people liked it so I thought maybe writing was my thing. After blogging for almost 3 years I know I love to write and people seem to like my writing. I believe, as D has shown so beautifully, it’s quite possible to be good at many things as long as you love what you’re doing.
    b

  • SHAJHAI

    Thank u so much D this would help me 4 sure….:)

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    Refusing to take on commitments or doing things which are not in tune with your purpose in the world is key D! Saying no to the things that don’t work for us allows us to say ‘yes’!! to the things that do.

    I would just add that yes, we can become mentors one day but each of us have resources, qualities and abilities that can mentor others today as well:) Thanks for the article!

  • http://acertainsimplicity.com/ D

    It is an honor to have my words appear on this beautiful blog. Thank you for your wonderful comments. Have a beautiful winter solstice, everyone, as the longest days of this precious time of year draw near.

  • Anonymous

    This article was so inspiring to read!! Thank you so much for writing it, as I have kept it on my “favorites” tab to read every now and then as inspiration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pandaTHEamanda Amanda Elizabeth Savage

    I absolutely loved this! The first few paragraphs are frighteningly similar to my own thoughts. Great advice!

  • Paula Johnson

    That’s all very well in good, “saying no to things which are not in tune with your purpose”…but REALITY for most of us means working at whatever we can to earn a living to put a roof over our head and food on our table. If you haven’t the financial backing behind you or a partner to take up the financial slack I’d like to know how the hell you go about doing what you actually want to do…without having to worry about how to live day by day…

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    hi Paula – agreed! We do have to put financial commitments and have our basic necessities in life met. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice about these things. But the moment we do start having choices, we can be more conscious about the choices we make.

    In a work situation, we can chose one type of work over another. Or one type of job over another (even if one pays more) But again, we don’t have the luxury of having these choices all the time. And like you point out,sometimes we just have to get the job done and put food on the table.

    Outside of work, we can make choices on which friends to spend time with, what fun things to do and where we spend out free (non-work) hours. We can say not to unwanted social commitments and some personal obligations.

    What do you think?

  • http://acertainsimplicity.com/ D

    This is the point, Vishnu, you have summarized it very well. When you make active choices as to where your energy is spent, you can change many things. Everyone, Paula, at least most people, live from day to day. I know that I do. Life is in many ways a struggle. People often make the mistake of thinking you have to change everything at once and that is, for just about everyone, impossible. But to change small things over which we do have control – the key is to start with those small things – can change our path. I thank you, Paula and Vishnu, for your thoughts.

  • http://acertainsimplicity.com/ D

    thank you for taking time to read my words, Shajhai.

  • http://acertainsimplicity.com/ D

    Thank you Uzma. xo

  • kavin paker

    This post and the comments have helped me tremendously in deciding what’s right for me.
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