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Posts tagged ‘passions’

Habit 3: Feed your passions and talents

It can be easy to get into a mode where one feels more as if one is enduring life rather than enjoying it as an adventure: work,commitments, chores, the drudgery of life all seem to have taken the place of that joy one felt as a child to explore, learn, and find ways to experience one’s passions.
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It’s said the people who are happiest are those who turned what they loved doing as a child into the work they now do. I know a few people who have done this: a garden designer who looked after the school greenhouse and a drama teacher who used to make puppet shows as a child.  I used to stand in my garden at nights a 10 year old looking at the stars wondering if I would ever understand the mystery that seemed all around in the dark of the night and the enormity of space. This was the early impulse towards my later explorations of Buddhism through community living and monastic training and my work now. Not all of us necessarily carry a passion from childhood into our adult career but thinking back though we can remember what it was like to have something we loved doing that we could spend the day or even the holidays absorbed in. What hobby did you once enjoy that you may have forgotten to give time to?
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One of the ways we can deal with a busy work life is to start cutting out the things that seem extraneous in the hope that if we focus on the task and get it done we can then return later to our other leisure activities.  But the result is that we can start to live a life where there is little that is nourishing and our focus gets pulled increasingly towards work deadlines and commitments, just as  a black hole sucks in everything in its grasp.
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When reflecting on this we can start to look at ways to bring these nourishing activities back into our life. What did we once find enjoyable that we may no longer do? When I think of my childhood and teens there were many such things: reading, going on long walks and cycle rides with my step sister or paddling in the river and making a dam, spending the day in a boat on the river or with a friend tidying the church yard and talking about life, the universe and everything or singing in the chorus of the village Gilbert and Sullivan society! I used to get so much pleasure from what I called my museum, which was a collection of pottery shards, pipes and old bottles I found on walks and going to the young archeologists club in Cambridge. When I compare this to my life now I realise how busy it has become and how much less time there seems!
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This lack of time for things is partly the change from being a child to an adult: I now have to shop, buy food, have meetings, work etc.  But how can one reconnect with that ability one once had to make time for the simple things, the things that give joy and are not just about surviving? Some of you may still do this naturally, making time to go to choirs, or clubs that relate to interests you have; going out for walks or to talks and debates or concerts or films, having a hobby and enjoying making time for it. But for those of us who may not be doing this, as we enter 2015 this may be a time to look back at what we once found pleasure doing and ask how we can make time for this, in a simple way, every day. This might be a case of changing our routine – walking home through the park rather than rushing to get home to do some tasks or other activities that don’t in themselves give any sense of fulfilment. Or taking a book with us to read on the tube rather than the free paper; starting to carry a sketch book with us again as we may have done when studying art and feeding that joy even if we didn’t turn out to be the next big ground shaking artist! Or giving an evening a week to attend a club or activity we once enjoyed.
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To start this process think back to your childhood and teens.  What were your joys, passions and talents. What did you want to be doing? And how might you connect with this now as an adult? Consider also what you are doing in your life now. Can you see that your work or other activities does in fact give expression to following a passion although it may have started to seem like a chore?  And if so how can you reconnect with the passion and feel that joy to be doing something you value?
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We’ll reflect on this after the tea break this Monday and there will be a chance to explore it in the Loving Kindness practice. The following give some useful pointers for reflection on this topic.
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