Archive for the ‘Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Category

How Do I Find My Passion?

Our ability to find and live our passion should be as easy as eating a bowl of ice cream on a summer evening.

But it’s not, is it?

Children should be taught from day one how to find and live their passion.

But they’re not.

Imagine a culture that is filled with people knowing and living their passion.

Now, that would be a great place to live.

Until that day comes, we’ll just have to figure this out on our own, one person at a time.

I think we can all agree that before you can “live” your passion you need to “find” your passion.

I’m surprised by the number of people who ask me “how can I find my passion?”

My reply may surprise you. The chances are, you know what your passion is.

You just have a very powerful inner critic that has persuaded you to ignore it.

So, the goal may not be to “find” your passion but to recognize it for what it is, to honor it, and give it a much higher priority in your life.

To help you “find” or “recover” or “rediscover” or “recognize” your passion here are a few tools you can use:

  • Read the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
    Do the tasks she outlines in the book, especially what she calls “The Morning Pages.” This will help you develop the habit of sitting down and develop a dialog with your inner self. This allows you to provide a space for your passion to reveal itself.

    Do yourself a favor, get some friends together and read this book as a group. I tried several times to read the book on my own and never got past chapter 2. My inner critic kept giving me excuses to do other things. Only when I got together in a book club that read the book did I complete the entire book and thereby discover new parts of my creative self. I highly recommend this book and the practice of doing Morning Pages.

  • Read the book “The Power of Story” by Jim Loehr.
    This is a powerful book especially if you do the exercises in the book. It will help you discover the story you have been telling yourself that prevents you from living a fuller more rewarding life. This he calls your Old Story. He then walks you through the steps to create a New Story, a story that is empowering and help you live your purpose (a.k.a. passion). This is a hands on type of book. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
  • Read the book “Authentic Happiness” by Martin Seligman.
    Discover how different activities can generate different qualities of happiness. Some activities generate a type of happiness that only last as long as the activity while other activities generate a type of happiness that is longer lasting. Perhaps as you read this book you’ll discover the relationship between happiness and passion.
  • Look in the mirror (figuratively). Look at your life with the eyes of an outsider. Grab a notepad and walk through your house and notice things that make up your life. What types of books and music do you most enjoy. As you scan items in your house pay attention to the thoughts and feelings you have. Are there some objects that remind you of a lost dream. Is there a book that reminds you of a project you would love to do “some day?” Write down a list of these thoughts and feelings. Also notice the thoughts or feelings you have when you remember one of those postponed dreams. Chances are that will be the voice of your inner critic. Write down what the inner critic says as well.

    Also, keep a daily diary for a few days to track how you spend your time. How do you spend your free time. What activity brings you the most joy? How often do you do it? Write it down. Learn to pay attention to that part of you that is telling you what your passion is and listen to the voice that is your critic and is trying to keep you away from your passion.

    In your diary or notepad try to clearly define what it means to you to “find your passion” and “live your passion.”  These two phrases can mean different things to different people. For example, would you be satisfied to work at a job just to pay the bills and then spent your free time living your passion or does living your passion also have to pay the bills?

  • Sit quietly. Get still. Listen to the world behind your eyes. If you want, learn to meditate. Learn to focus your awareness away from the day to day distractions. A frantic “monkey mind” does not have an incentive for you to find or live your passion.
  • Study archetypes. Find out which archetype(s) you most identify with. Knowing this can give you a guide to or a name for some of the larger themes that keep appearing in your life. And thereby help you find your passion and understand its importance in your life. For information on archetypes look into books by Caroline Myss and Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Caroline Myss offers a deck of archetype cards that are quite inspiring. Clarissa Pinkola Estes offers several audio CDs that are very inspiring. I highly recommend “The Creative Fire.”
  • Collect images online. When you find an image on a website that inspires you, save it to your hard drive. Create a folder of your favorite images. Get a slide show program that allows you to view your favorite images on your computer desktop. That way you can be visually reminded of what inspires you. Perhaps a theme or passion will reveal itself.
  • Create an “I Hate…” list. Write down a list of everything you absolutely hate. What is it that just pushes your buttons? Maybe your passion can be found helping to prevent or cure or solve one of those things that you really hate.
  • Create an “Oh Wow!” list. Write down a list of everything that gets you jazzed, everything that causes your jaw to drop, everything that causes your body to feel flooded with excitement and joy, everything that causes you to cry tears of joy, etc. Perhaps your passion can be found in spending more time repeating one these experiences.

Bottomline: to find and/or live your passion you will have to learn:

1. how to develop an awareness of what is steering you towards your passion and what is steering you away from your passion.

2. how to get out of your own way.

The best way to get out of your own way may differ from person to person.

Depending on your situation, you may need to:

  • practice forgiveness for others and yourself.
  • learn to strengthen your inner child or your inner parent or your inner clown or your inner artist.
  • get out of your head and into your fingers.
  • do more/less planning
  • learn to strengthen your strengths
  • change the questions you ask yourself
  • change the people you hang around
  • disconnect “making money” from “living your passion”
  • learn to give more.
  • learn to receive more.
  • give yourself permission to make mistakes.
  • trust your intuition.


The Creative Fire

Are you looking to reconnect with your passion and creativity?

Do your self a favor, listen to The Creative Fire by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

The Creative Fire

This recording was produced specifically for people who create for a living – writers, artists, thinkers, teachers – anyone who must depend on their creative powers every day.

Through the retelling of myths and tales gathered from many world cultures, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines the inner fires of creativity.

Very seldom do I hear an author who speaks directly to my heart. This is one of them.

This audio CD is available at and most libraries.