Taking Flight: My Journey to Live a Passion-Driven Life

Last November, I watched Elizabeth Gilbert’s SuperSoul talk, Flight of the Hummingbird. At the time, I had a well of passion burning in my heart that was not-so-patiently waiting to be unleashed with fury. These passions of mine were dying to live, yet I had no idea how to give them life. Liz’s words took that passionate drive within me and gave me the courage to curiously embark on my own flight.

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Open Heart Series #030816-800

Follow what lights
Your on heart fire
And sets your soul free.
Take a giant leap
And choose love.
You may not know
Where you will land,
But following your passions
Far outweighs living
On the sidelines in fear.
Would you rather feel
Painstakingly alive,
Following your passions
Into the unknown abyss?
Would you rather feel
Your heart burning in
Your chest or
Wonder what
Could have been
Had you courageously
Said yes to love?
Would rather not know
Where your leap lands
Or have your feet
Firmly planted right
Where you are in
An unexplored life?
When at the crossroad
Of fear and love,
choose love,
Every damn time.

—Karilyn Owens

The Curiosity Driven Life

According to Author Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert, Passion was the main driving force in her life until one fateful day when her world was rocked. Until a pissed off reader courageously spoke up, she continued to vehemently preach to live your passions without the acknowledgement that there are so many souls who have not identified their one, burning passion (because they either don’t have one or they cannot narrow down their myriad passions).

Thank you to the woman who called out Liz and turned her view on passion upside down. It sparked a journey that eventually led to giving the talk, The Flight of the Hummingbird: The Curiosity Driven Life. Liz is a supreme gift to the world. Her spiritual practice is to bring the light into every encounter that she has. She does this with such vigor that you want to get out of your chair and start living a more purposeful life, right this minute. Passion was the driving force that made her stay in the game throughout life’s obstacles to become a best-selling author and one of my personal role models.

You have to identify your passion, that tower of flame, that will be your guiding, purposeful light; and you have to find that thing that makes you feel like your head is on fire; that makes you feel like there is a soul revolution going on deep inside your rib cage; that makes you feel like you would sacrifice and risk everything for that thing, that nothing else matters; that thing that you know you were born to do; and then you have to get every molecule in your being and you’ve got to funnel it directly and powerfully into that one thing and no other thing and you have to focus on that forever and that way, and only that way, will you succeed.

-Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz discovered what forms our passions and even purpose can only unfold from leading a curious life with an open heart. Only from this type of curious living can you gain the wisdom that is buried deep within your essence, that accumulates throughout your life experiences and grew out of a new perspective on life, love, and every lesson that arises.

A curious life takes a courageous heart. Liz’s dear friend and fellow author, Brené Brown, taught me her valuable definition of courage that lit my heart up: to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart. We do this by putting our vulnerability on the line, a topic that Brené speaks and writes passionately about.

I can relate to the woman who spoke up to Liz, because my many passions have somewhat taken me down a path to finding my purpose; yet thinking of following through and living my purpose by defining the one, driving passion in my heart is an anxiety-ridden, overwhelming idea for me to swallow. And to combat this pressure-filled feeling that takes me so far into the future with worry, I simply take any sort of step I can toward determining (and living) my passion.

Liz refers to this step as following your curiosity. This concept calms my nerves and relieves me from not only narrowing down my passion, but also from feeling like I need to live my passion when life has me situated in another path. As I stay grounded in the amazing career I now pursue, I find peace in the passionate purpose of spreading light and love wherever I go. When I am feeling stuck or uneasy, I can embrace my curious heart and mind enough to take one step toward my newfound passion and purpose.

As long as I’m taking those brave steps toward my dream, I get a taste of that tower of flame and feel guided with the purposeful light Liz refers to. In that moment, all that matters is how I’m feeling because I am saying yes to what makes me feel alive: passion. It doesn’t matter if it’s my day job; it doesn’t matter if I realize how my passion will manifest itself (or even what or when it will be). All that counts is my soul feels as if it is on a revolution while I am making progress. Progress even if I’m writing until 3am and have to be up at 7am for work. It is this kind of drive and focus that turns your passion into your life’s work.

As far as I have learned, if you do this and follow whatever feels truly authentic to your soul, the Universe will provide everything you need to see it through. You must simply practice faith that the solution will appear. The kind of faith that Dr. Joan Borysenko defines as “the willingness to be present to reality moment by moment as it evolves.” By being present to reality instead of drifting off to fantasy island and gripping onto hope alone, you understand that action must be taken to achieve your dreams (whatever small action that may be in the moment). It may be as simple as keeping an open heart by practicing loving kindness, especially toward strangers and those you deemed unworthy of your love. Staying in this heart space is essential to unveiling all you’ll need on your path.

When you are in complete alignment with your authentic self, you will attract everything you desire in life.

The minute I began to own my authentic self with the audacity it took to admit I wasn’t living a life I could own with grace and dignity, and then digging deep inside my heart to reveal all I’d been holding back out of fear, the curtains literally dropped to display every bit of the puzzle that would keep me on my path of living authentically and wholeheartedly. Liz’s Flight of the Hummingbird speech is yet another God nudge among the infinite Grace I’m been shown along the way.

My dear Grandfather was a prolific writer who instilled a deep passion for writing that I always possessed, but I couldn’t share to the capacity that I do now; I hadn’t yet learned the lessons I was destined to discover. My curious heart led me to embark on a journey where fear would have left me waiting on the sidelines of my own life. It is that heart that is responsible for the words you are reading.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be, because I followed my heart and the curiosity within its walls. And because my broken heart allowed me to feel my way to wholeness, I can now fully live my passions in whatever form I find.

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