Laughing BuddhaAll this striving to find our passions seems to have developed into a weird amalgam of soul mate and auction fever.  Our passion is come to represent “the one”.  It is the one thing that will define our lives, give us meaning, provide us with joy, make everything that has gone before it make sense, bring us ever flowing abundance, show us our soul’s path, and if we’re really lucky it will give us a 20 year old body, Mensa intelligence, and a private island we can call our home away from home.  It is also something that we should strive to find. Yes, you can set a limit on how hard you should work to find it. I mean there’s a reasonable limit to how hard one can look in any direction. But then, we’ve invested so much time and energy in this direction. I mean, all the signs point this way.  We can’t give up now. Just a few minutes more, just one more work shop, just one more practice, one more class, one more experience, just one more book….

No passion is meant to be all of this. No passion can resolve all of our issues plus make up for all the life we have devoted in search of it in the same way that no one person can be everything to their significant other. To try and make them so it self-deception at the very least and definitely co-dependent.  Meanwhile, the point is to have a fulfilling and joyfilled life. But what if a passion, if we have one, isn’t meant to bring us joy?  If you ask someone who has and lives by their passion what brings them joy they will talk about the results of their passion. They will talk about the secondary effects, the reflection from other’s experience of what they do. When they speak of their passion they will talk about the work, the struggle, the energy expended, the personal path, the transformation, but not joy. Because passion is a bully and it takes as hard as it gives and sometimes harder.

Joy requires nothing from us. Joy comes of its own accord. It surprises us. It shows up when we least expect it and rarely does it have any connection to our having earned it or worked hard for it. We can connect all the dots that might have brought us to that moment, but the moment stands alone. We’ve all had that experience, of the bright smile we don’t realize we’re wearing until we feel the muscles in our face working. We look on something and it fills us up.  Just because it exists. Just because in that moment we feel that feeling like sunlight brighten our souls. It doesn’t have to be about anything productive, relevant or in any way important. The silliest thing in the world can bring us joy. And thank goodness. Without it we would have no reason to do anything difficult, especially follow our passion.