Just as we humans are stewards of the Earth – we, as individuals, are each stewards of the light of passion within us.
It fills us with warmth, possibility, and inspiration. It emblazons us to act. It whispers sweet nothings into our ear coaxing us to take risks in expressing ourselves, reaching out, and trying something new. It is a caldron we can reach into at any time to receive the next idea, image, dream, color, or inspiration we need to weave into the creative tapestry of our lives. It is the nurturing hearth we sit by to reconnect. It is the north point on our compass guiding our way. It is our muse.
But this light, like a candle, is susceptible to the flickering winds of our thoughts and feelings, which can diminish it just as easily as build it up so if we want to strengthen our connection with our passion and creative energy, we have to tend to it. And just how might you go about doing that? Exactly how you tend to the valued relationships in your life – with attention, sweetness, listening, generosity, openness, receptivity, affection, love, playfulness.
We live busy, stimulating lives. We juggle innumerable responsibilities and correspondences. Our minds are so full and swirly sometimes that it’s a wonder our heads stay attached to our bodies! We often end up feeling alone or disconnected… but we are not disconnected from life. That connection is inherent to who we are simply because we are. What we get disconnected from is ourselves. But no matter how far out there we get, we can always come back.
When I find myself in a spun-out place, I know that the way home to myself means I need to let go of the responsibilities of my daily living for a bit and do what makes me feel good because that’s the path that brings me back into a feeling of connection… Walk in nature. Meditate. Journal. Stroll around town with my camera. Move. Sing. Breathe. Lie in the sun. Laugh. Write poems. Draw. Paint. Dance.
This is tending my fire. Sometimes I’m tender or worn out and a gentle action is all I’ve got in me… but 5 minutes of journaling or stretching can be surprisingly renewing! Sometimes I’m full of energy and can give more. But either way, I keep coming back and my light stays burning, keeping me warm, filling me with aliveness.
But don’t think for a minute that I don’t have to jump over hurdles to get there sometimes because I do. My mind’s tricks are just like your mind’s tricks – full of distractions, judgments, and lists of “responsible” tasks I “should” be doing. It says to me: Who do you think you are to go enjoy yourself? Things are piling up on your to-do list and you only have two hours before such and such happens. What you Need is to Get Shit Done. You can enjoy yourself and be creative later.
Maybe you’ve heard this same sort of “logic”? And maybe you’ve figured out the same thing I have – that if you regularly listen to this voice, the later moment where art, nurturing, creativity, passion, play, renewal and joy happen may not come because the list of responsible things you should be doing is never ending… at least according to the voice in your head.
The bottom line comes down to this, which is the same as in all parts of life – we have a choice.
We can choose to feed the voice of fear and control that’s full of rules, limitations, and shoulds OR we can choose to engage in our lives passionately, weaving wildly nurturing (and sometimes deceptively simple!) acts of freedom into our daily living knowing that this is how we stay connected to ourselves, open to the flow of well-being and aliveness, and to a source of guidance that’s greater than us that guides us from within.
One thing I did recently to help live more of my passion in my daily life is that I moved my painting studio into my kitchen from where it had been upstairs in my home. I wanted to spend more time in my kitchen’s cozy vibe and be around my garden, which my kitchen faces. I also liked the idea of being around cooking pots of food and steaming tea which has, so far, had two unexpectedly positive side effects. First, I’ve burned fewer pots of food because I’m actually in my kitchen and paying attention to what I’m cooking. Second, I noticed that waking up to an art studio filled with dirty dishes wasn’t how I wanted to start my day so I instituted doing my dishes and tidying up my house before I go to bed each night so that when I start a day, I’m starting it fresh and not cleaning up the mess of yesterday. Pretty sweet! And, I’m painting more. Both in long stretches and also in small moments like while I’m waiting for my bread to toast because my art stuff is all right there and it’s easy to pick up.
Sometimes people say to me things like: You’re so artsy and do all sorts of creative things. You’re a million miles from where I’m at – there’s no way you can understand what I’m going through. I want to be creative but nothing comes and when it does it’s bad. Maybe I’m just not creative, talented, good enough..…
But maybe you are. In fact, I know you are. We all are. Every single one of us has a beautiful light and unique expression inside us. And the more we tend to it, the more it glows and the more it has to give.
We may not have been raised with models of how to nurture ourselves through living passionately but we can use our creativity to create what we want that to be like now. This is how we set ourselves free. We choose how we want to live now and live it.
But it’s a process and a practice so here is my prayer for each of us on this path:
You may have shut yourself down with judgment a thousand times,
Made a hundred unkept promises about following through on your inspirations and dreams.
Been told that you couldn’t sing, paint, dance, or write and have held yourself back ever since,
Perhaps you don’t feel good enough or believe that it’s too late.
Let all of that go now.
That was yesterday’s storyline – none of it matters anymore.
Every day is a new day to choose.
The fire may not always blaze
But it is always burning,
Glowing with a warmth
That can melt away your worries and walls…
If you’ll let it.
So let it.
In gentle steps
And sweet sounds.
In big strokes and
With the power of choice ripping through the veil of fear-soaked illusions,
Breathe life into the flames of your fire
And let your own passion and desire
Heal and remold you
Stripping away layers of
And all the other webby emotions that have
Nothing to do
With who you truly are.
Create yourself awake,
Each day anew,
With whatever simple or full-on means the day may call for.
The path home
Is a way of living,
Not only a destination –
Let your light of passion guide you there.
Photo: I made this painting, Tending the Light of Your Passion, for a friend some years ago who’s always looking to feel more free with her creativity.