Where Is Your Passion?

by Peter Milhado PHD on December 12, 2015

What Fascinates and Terrifies At

The Same Time Is The Way Of The Soul

-Unknown Poet

 

Obviously this statement doesn’t suggest that we act out some form of neurotic or deviant obsession, nor is it a call to sell the farm and hightail it to Tahiti with a 22-year-old.  This poetic line refers to a specific time in the middle years when we have to respond to a summons of the soul, make a choice and take a leap into uncharted waters.  It’s about living life with passion.

Much of the first half of life we’ve lived according to the dictates of our culture, our parents and our religious and social institutions.  Those who lived in compulsive defiance also cut themselves off from their inner center.  In this process of trying to establish ourselves in the world, we’ve left vital and soulful parts of our natural self behind.  In the middle years, those neglected and soulful parts, which Levinson calls “other voices in other rooms”, come pounding on our door.  At that moment, we’re caught between a rock and hard place, because repressing those “other” voices, intuitions and images leads straight into depression and despair.  Yet, if we allow them to come into consciousness for reflection, we get blasted with waves of anxiety.  What complicates this existential dilemma even further is when we begin to hear that voice, see that internal vision and call for action, we never know whether they are a mirage or an oasis.  As much as I know, we eventually have to choose anxiety over depression and listen to our inner voice.  Needless to say, this is only done after a considerable amount of soul searching… never impulsively.  We might have to explore a couple of mirages before we hit the oasis.  Jung catches the bigger picture when he says, “The right way towards wholeness is made of wrong turnings and fateful detours.”

When we’re at the crossroads in mid-life, it actually feels like we’re hanging on a cross- a psychological crucifixion, so to speak.  No one has prepared us for this- here we truly stand alone.  Following someone else’s path always ends up in disappointment or worse, self-betrayal.

During the middle passage we reach a point when we realize that no one knows what life means for someone else.  Each path is different… there is no Guru.  Our old Ojaian neighbor Krishnamurti helped us with that one a long time ago.

For some, there comes a time at the crossroads where a decision has to be made, which is purely based on one’s personal code of honor, even if it is in opposition to spiritual dogma and man-made laws.  Obviously, these decisions are made in the service of soul.

Joseph Campbell always told his audiences to “Follow your bliss.”  He obviously didn’t mean to follow some spaced out narcissistic trip.  He was talking about following your passions, including all the sacrifices and sufferings we meet up on our soul’s journey.  The call of passion is to live life fully. Fear of disapproval and how we “ought” to live our lives needs to be thrown by the wayside.  Otherwise we’re doomed to live the trivial lives of cynics, hoarders, applauders of the past, martyrs, blamers, and celebrity clones… or we’ll end up grunting and sweating in so called “health” spas because we’re afraid of aging.  Believing materialism will make us happy leaves us absolutely bankrupt in mid- life.  Not living passionately leads to shallowness and eventually “hardness of heart”!

If we follow our passion we’re likely to become strangers to some of the people who know us, but at least we are not strangers to ourselves.  If we truly live our lives, our children are free to live theirs (Hollis).  Ultimately, living passionately provides greater consciousness, more choices and therefore more opportunities to forgive others and ourselves, because on one level or another all of us human beings have been idiots !

 

Love to Mother Meera.  One for all and all for one.

Peter Milhado

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ok July 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

but is it worth it to follow your passion, when you know what things you will be giving up? why follow your passion ultimately if you’re going to sacrifice relationships with people who love you, and time will be wasted that you can never get back, when you are chasing after a feeling (passion)

Peter Milhado PHD July 24, 2016 at 12:25 pm

U totlly didn’t t. Get it

Lily September 20, 2016 at 9:43 am

Dear OK
Is not so much about a feeling pərˈsā but about those crossroads that Dr. Milhado speaks about i.e. your “personal code of honor”. If you play it safe and make too many compromises for the wrong reasons you can lose touch with your true nature…The part of you that feels joy in just ‘being’ and the knowing of how unique we all are even though we are all connected. Personally I try to remember what brought me joy as a child and try to bring those activities back into my life. It could be building bridges with blocks or making a picture with crayons or simply lying on your back on the grass and watching the breeze move the leaves in the trees. Those childish activities are just clues about your true nature and what brings you pleasure before being distracted by worldly concerns being an adult in a very complex world.
You don’t have to make a public statement about it. You may or may not lose friends. But it might bring you pleasure and a sense of wonder and satisfaction. Try it…You might like it. Shhh

julie December 24, 2016 at 1:18 am

Love this and thank you for it – knowing that you are truly alone on your journey can be invigorating! Also scary, but then anything worthwhile always is.

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