Follow the curious road...
Every Sunday, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley drops by to discuss all the many things we may be facing, feeling or going through in our day to day lives. Share your questions and / or requests for topics with Arti anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a lot of talk in the day to day about following your passion and looking for ways to make it how you spend your time. And while I am a big believer in passion, it never occurred to me until I recently listened to a podcast recorded by Elizabeth Gilbert for Oprah, that all this talk about passion can actually cause people stress / anxiety / unhappiness, especially when that clarity surrounding individual passion is not clear.
Through platforms like Ladies who Launch, it would be expected that everyone interacting with the community would be clear on their passion project, but in sitting back and reflecting, I wonder if that is actually true. And instead if this community is also inclusive of people who are looking for inspiration and hope that will lead them closer to understanding what their passions really are.
In keeping with our theme for July which is all about “One size does not fit all”, I want to dedicate this weekly column to this idea that we are all still on these paths to figure things out and the clarity around our passions even if we feel we know them will continue to evolve. So irrespective of where you are in this idea of passion, I have one word for you and that is “Curiosity”. Just like the Curious in Curious George and / or the infamous phrase “Curiosity killed the cat.”
Now, those who know me in any capacity know I am a MASSIVE Elizabeth Gilbert fan, especially of her work through the book “Big Magic” and all of what it stands for. And having listened to the podcast mentioned above I now know where her idea of curiosity and following it constantly has come from (Big Magic was the book that helped me really embrace and understand curiosity in a way that has made it a massive pillar in how I live my life.). Which is that to find our passions in life we must follow the things that keep us curiously questioning and engaging, we may never know where what we follow will lead us, but the point is to follow openly enough that we listen, look out for and reflect on our feelings and signs around us.
Starting down a path with one idea or not even knowing what our idea is, is really just the start of the journey to where we will be led. The question then is where and how to even start, especially if you have no idea where to begin…
A couple of suggestions to get you started are...
A daily log:
Start a log of a time period of your choice (I would go with anything that is 7 days or longer, just to give you a full spectrum of your week). In your log I would write out the things you did on each day, whether you liked doing it or not and how it left you feeling. For example, on Monday morning I got out my email to do list and started at the top and within a couple of hours all of my emails were done. This made me feel so great because I was done something that has been hanging over my head, but doing emails really does not light my house on fire. And then you continue down this path…
Than, at the end of each day within your log, assign yourself a ranking out of 10 for whether the day was INCREDIBLE or not particularly great and list a couple reasons out to support your reflections.
As you complete your log for the agreed duration, go back and review the things you have written down – And look specifically at the things that seem to bring you the most joy vs. the things that don’t. In these joyful activities are there trends, things that tie together, that link and tell a broader story? Is there a way to fill your days with more of the things that make you feel that joy, so much so that you can start to unravel more of how those things make you feel? Think about it, reflect on it and use that as a starter to see how you can evolve the way you spend your time.
Get an A0 sheet of paper / cardboard / Bristol board / etc., a set of markers and pens and loads of old magazine and newspapers.
Start going through the newspapers and magazine and pull out the images, words, brands, pictures, etc. that speak to you the most and place them all of the blank A0 in whatever fashion that speaks to you. Use your markers and pens to write and/ or draw things and add colour
Once your A0 is full take the time to look at it and reflect on what you see, what it tells you about you and what some of the themes you notice about the things you are drawn to.
Now I will say that these are just a couple of things that I have seen work for me as well as some of my clients, and irrespective of whether these options resonate with you, the power really comes from taking the time to think about how you spend your time and how the things you do make time for make you feel, while also understanding what you wish you could make more time for amongst it all.
Also remember that the things we may love doing, bring us the most joy and / or are things we are most curious about, may not be the things we are perfect and / or good at. Recognise this and don’t let it be a determinant in following it forward.
I came across this Japanese phrase this weekend “wabi-sabi” that I will leave you with as inspiration and as a reminder. The phrase wabi-sabi shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us. It stands for instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it in things that are flawed, incomplete.
Use this phrase as a reminder in your journey to finding and owning your passion. Understand that it will not be easy and instead may be tough, frustrating and deflating, but all that aside know that it is a journey, that is leading you somewhere beautiful and therefore, it will be in these imperfect moments that you will find the things that literally light you on fire.
Wishing you all a week full of following your curiosities.
With love and gratitude always,
Arti, aka The Wellness Chief xx