“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” — Proverb
Editor’s note: Following your heart is not the safe or easy path. Passion comes with a price, but so does staying in a cage.
This is a guest post from Nadia Ballas-Ruta on choosing passion over fear and living your truth. Nadia is founder of Happy Lotus Lifestyles and author of The Buddha Blueprint: Building the Foundation for Happiness and Inner Peace.
Without further ado, here’s Nadia …
A Quest for Meaning, Happiness, and Inner Peace
Let me first start off by thanking JD for inviting me to write a second guest post on “Sources of Insight”. I was honored to receive the first invite and to get a second invitation is just icing on the cake.
As you may recall, my first guest post here was about the top ten spiritual lessons I learned on my quest to find meaning, happiness and inner peace. Writing that post was an amazing experience for me and it made me realize that the quest had finally come to an end.
One of the many beautiful things about life is that there is always something new to learn and discover. None of us knows it all and none of us should think that we know it all for that would make life kind of dull. I mean, how can you enjoy the experience if there is nothing that you are curious about?
Waking Up in the Morning with Joy (vs. Dread)
This leads me to the subject of passion. Many people talk and write about living their passions. Many people want to have a life that they love which subtly implies that many people do not have lives that they love.
People talk about living their passions with a sense of romance. Life would somehow become more magical when you are doing what you love. Waking up in the morning would be greeted with joy as opposed to dread. I have seen people fantasize about it as if living their passions was the equivalent to a day at the beach – all beauty and no effort.
The Word Passion Meant Suffering
Get ready…this is where things get interesting because the etymological origin of the word passion comes from the Greek word “pascho” which means to suffer. Up until the 1630s, the word passion meant suffering. It did not mean to live with enthusiasm and joy.
When I first learned about the original meaning of the word “passion”, I was shocked but then as I contemplated it, it made sense. Think about it: every person who has ever achieved something that we admire had to suffer at some point in order to achieve it.
There are numerous stories of people who had to pinch pennies or live in cramped places in order to fulfill their dreams. Those who go off and pursue their passions are not often greeted with enthusiasm. I talk from experience.
My Choices Have Led to Greater Wisdom, Experience, and Joy
All of my decisions (past, present and future) are based on the premise that life should be lived with no regrets. If wondering about doing something would eat away at my soul, I figure it would be far better to “jump off the cliff” and try it as opposed to spending the rest of my life wondering if it would have worked or not.
Not all of my decisions have lead to successful outcomes. I have had to endure a lot of criticism, too. However, the majority of my choices have led to greater wisdom, experience and joy. I am a much better person now than I was a year ago or even ten years ago.
I Threw Myself Into the Fire of Life
I didn’t achieve the wisdom that I have by playing it safe…I learned it by throwing myself into the fire of life. And sometimes the fire of life can be very hard to endure but the wisdom learned is worth every single tear or frustration.
To live a life based on what you love is not an effortless task. A passionate life is not for the weak. Yes, we all can have lives that we love. We each have the potential to create a life based on passion. However, what prevents many of us from doing it is fear.
Greatness is Not Served on a Silver Platter
So many of us are frightened of suffering. We avoid it at all costs. Yet the irony is that greatness is not served on a silver platter. It is earned and you earn it by putting yourself out there and just being true to what you believe and love.
You put up with all the possible distractions that may come your way because to not live your truth would be like selling out. Fear, at its core, is a bully. It is loud and scary but has no substance.
When Fear Talks, Listen to the Wise Part (Discard the Rest)
Whenever fear creeps into my mind, I check to see if it has anything wise to share and if it does, I pay attention to the wise part and discard the rest.
I have come to believe that the reason we love heroes/heroines is because they remind us of what we are capable of doing. We each have the power to add beauty to the world. Whether you are a mother or a banker or both…you have the ability to make the world a better place simply by how you choose to engage with the world.
A person who succumbs to fear is playing life small and there is no merit in playing it small. It is far wiser to step into your full potential and just be you. Don’t morph yourself into something you are not. Just be you, live what you love and believe, hold on tight and enjoy the ride. Passion is not a thing, it is a choice.