Follow your own passion, not your parents. –Robert Ballard

Good morning Gentle Reader.  This will be my final posting for this topic; On the other hand, I am sure that at some point I will continue to explore this crucial topic.

In 1975 two events occurred which have continued to form and inform my own life and development: My mentor, Lowell, introduced me to Robert K. Greenleaf’s concept and I started on a path of serving others by helping them develop or develop more fully their gifts, talents, abilities, capacities and potentials.

For more than 43+ years now I have had the privilege of listening to many folks.  Part of my charge has been to listen and call forth gifts, talents, potentials, and ‘passions.’  ‘Calling Forth’ is the first definition of the concept ‘educare’ which is the root for our English word, ‘Educator.’  By definition, the ‘Teacher’ is the expert who ‘puts in’ and the ‘Educator’ is the one who calls forth.

This morning I will focus on ‘Passion.’  I cannot begin to count the number of hours I have spent with ‘professionals’ helping them explore, renew and even discover their ‘passion’ and ‘purpose.’  Like Bishop Jakes (see his quotation below) I found that ‘passion’ leads one to discover one’s ‘purpose.’

I designed and developed what I call a ‘work-treat’ (part workshop and part retreat) in order to provide professionals an opportunity to explore, renew, and/or ‘discern/name’ their passion (Professionals included: teachers/educators, medical professionals, attorneys, military officers, law enforcement folks, dentists, business owners, etc.).

Some participants joined us because the ‘passion’ that had motivated them was waning; the fire was burning out or was smoldering.  The poet David Whyte reminds us that when our inner fire – our passion – is extinguished that our body fills with dense smoke and we suffocate from within.

Some participants joined us because they were seeking their ‘passion’.  They believed that they were living someone else’s passion – generally their father’s passion.  Here is one story.

In 1996 I had the privilege of spending a few hours with four business leaders in The Netherlands; my host, Tjeb Maris had invited them to join us.  My charge was to listen to them and then invite them to reflect upon and explore a few challenging questions; questions that might help them explore their passion.

What each of these men discovered – or remembered – was that they were, each one of them, living out their father’s passion.  They were quite good at doing this.  What each was able to discern and name and ‘emotionally own’ was the passion – their passion.  They had buried their passion and each could recall the date that they decided to do so.  As they, once again, touched and embraced their passion the tears of regret flowed freely.  I learned later that two of these men left the business that their father had begun and had embraced their own passion.  I was told that the other two had considered doing so but were not able to ‘betray’ their father (each of them used this powerful term, ‘betray,’ to describe what it would take for them to live into their own passion).

Gentle reader.  Are you living your ‘Passion’?  If you are, what disciplines do you practice so that your ‘Passion’ continues to be nurtured more than depleted?  Two weeks ago my son, Nathan, the struggling artist, and I were talking and he told me that his life was ‘good’ because he had found a way of living into his ‘Passion.’  I could hear the affirmation and contentment in the tone of his voice and I could see it in his eyes.  He then looked at me and said: ‘You taught me that dad.  You taught me to embrace and live your passion.  Thank you, dad.’

Gentle Reader, who have you thanked when it comes to encouraging you to live your ‘Passion’?  If you have not thanked this person – or these people – when will you do so?

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  Your passion will lead you right into your purpose. –Bishop T. D. Jakes

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