Passion and Purpose: A Question of Value
“Start with what delights you that you can’t help sharing because that is the joy that no one can really resist.”
Passion and purpose are words I see and hear a lot in the ever-expanding literature of self-development. I don’t know a life coach or a spiritual advisor or self-help guru who hasn’t included some mention of these concepts in his or her book or seminar or blog or speech.
I read those books and blogs and listen to those tapes and get as caught in the notion of a passionate and purposeful life as anyone. Who doesn’t like the idea of living his/her dream, following one’s bliss, etc.?
But when I take off the reading glasses and look in the mirror clarity sometimes seems to scurry out the door, leaving me with a lot of questions about where I put my passion and purpose and how to retrieve them, assuming I ever really had them to begin with.
I look at what at I’ve done and what I’m doing and I wonder things like, does any of it really matter? Does anyone really care? If I continue—or stop doing it—or do something else, will anyone even notice?
So I asked the Shower Team: “Where’s the value in what I do or in what I have to give? How can I know that what I have to offer or if what I regard as my passion or purpose has any real value?
It’s a tricky question you’re asking, not because the answer is difficult or even all that complicated, but because there are some powerful false premises attached to the way that you’re asking it.
The simplest and purest answer to the question, How can I offer something of value?” is to just decide that you’re going to offer yourself something that you value. That is, you should always start with you. Start with what lights you up or makes your heart sing and your feet dance and your smile beam. Start with what delights you that you can’t help sharing because that is the joy that no one can really resist. That is the gift that your world most needs and that will be most appreciated because there’s no way not to appreciate a gift offered from such a sweet, honest and joyful place.
But, this notion trips you up because it seems to conflict with your longstanding and oh so seductive perspective about ‘service’ to others and the only honorable route to such service being to put your own desires and dreams and “selfish pleasures” in the backseat where they supposedly belong.
You have a hard time believing that anything that feels too good can be a good thing for yourself much less for anyone else. So rather than making your passion—your bliss—your life purpose, you dig around in the dirt for something that looks nobler or feels like more of a sacrifice because you’ve trained yourself to believe that if it doesn’t hurt at least a little—preferably a lot—if it doesn’t cause you to suffer or to give up something you really like, then it can’t much use to anyone else. After all, how can something you truly adore and find absolute joy in doing possibly bring any value to anyone if there’s no evidence of what it cost you?
The other tricky part of your question is that embedded in it is the notion that someone other than you gets to decide the value of you. And while we can se how this notion arises from the conditions you observe of others placing price tags on products and services and creations, when some ‘they’ out there appears to be deciding how much this or that is worth . . . while we can see why you might conclude that you not the ultimate authority on how valuable your gifts may be, we still say to you that from the broader perspective, no one else decides this for you unless you let them. You may be one who sells some creation of yours for what some would call an obscene amount of money and never really believe that your creation was worth the paper or canvas or plastic or wood or whatever other material on which it was rendered.
If that offering had no real value to you, the price tag dangling from it or the dollars flowing into your bank account from the sale of it will mean next to nothing to the one whose opinion of it matters most—the one who created and offered it. Without your agreement on its value, any quantifying of that value is just economics, and economics continues to be one of the most persuasive illusions to which most of you ascribe.
So, you ask how can you know what is in you that is of value? What gifts do you bring to the world you inhabit and the people who inhabit it with you? And we continue to say that you will never sacrifice or suffer enough to improve the world you inhabit or to make a difference to those who agree that your only worthy option is to sacrifice and struggle.
You will only see reflected back to you the light that you allow to shine through you—and the only real way to be that light is to be who you truly are, to identify and express the most passionately selfishly true joy of your being, whatever that might be . . . and to offer that as your gift first and foremost to yourself, and then to offer it to those (and we promise you there will be plenty) who are able to recognize and receive the incomparably unique value of that perfectly offered gift.
It’s curious to say the least, how much easier it seems to just join the clubs whose creed is that nothing worth having-or giving—comes without sacrifice or suffering. Membership is open 24/7 and never stops growing. You see their flyers everywhere.
Could finding and living with passion and purpose really be as simple as just being myself? Am I even truly willing to belong to a club that would have me as a member? Far be it from me to argue with The Shower Team, but don’t be surprised if you see me tripping over that truth a few more times before it really sinks in.
Parting aFLOWmation: “Be the gift to you that keeps on giving.”