Pie Chart to Passion – Has this happened to you before? Have you poured yourself into one thing for so long, that once you get to the place where you can start allowing other things back into your life, you’re not sure where to begin? Where is the passion?
That is where I’m finding myself right now. There are quite a few steps that I still need to take in order to bring my goal to the next phase, but this is the quiet time of waiting.
“Perfect,” I thought to myself. “Now I have time to tackle the long list of projects that I’ve been putting off. I promised myself that when I had time, I’d start checking them off.” This morning, I woke up extra early to do just that. Setting myself up with pens, highlighters, clipboard of fresh clean paper, I laid it all out around my at my keyboard and got to work. I took out the folder of long-awaited project ideas that I’ve been stockpiling for the last year and dove in.
“This will be great,” I told myself. I was ready, but there was something undeniable that I was missing.
Where was the spark?
One by one, I scrolled down, waiting for the spark of creativity to ignite something within in before flipping to the next idea. Nada. Nothing. No spark. No flurry or rush to grab my pen and get to work. Without that, I couldn’t decide where to start.
Maybe it was because I was so heavily involved and excited about the project that had taken so much of my attention, that everything else was dull in comparison? But at one point or another, these additional projects and ideas HAD sparked something in me, so why had not one single one of them pulled me back in with fury?
What do you do when this happens to you?
Completely stumped, I sat there for a long while. I decided that I needed a plan, because… well… plans are comfortable. It’s like a roadmap to a specific destination. Sure, you can stay right on course, winding up exactly where you planned to be at the moment you intended… OR… you can hop off the main road for a bit and take the sightseeing route. With a plan, at least I’d have a starting point, and a general direction, which is what I desperately needed.
My plan became a simple one: get back to doing what I love- what I’m REALLY passionate about.
I needed pie.
No. Not that kind of pie. I did something last year to help me figure out with a bit more clarity where my passions were; I needed to resurrect my Pie Chart to Passion. By my mid-late thirties, you’d think I’d have this figured out already, right? Not really. I thought I did for so many years, but when I tried them on and attempted to wear one or another proudly, they never felt like a perfect fit.
It’s fun and all, and I sometimes crave the process of creating, but it’s not the passion that gets me out of bed every morning. (An audible gasp is heard from those who know me.)
Nope. Not that either, though I admit that my mind’s eye loves to capture the beauty it sees. My brain, however, does not think in f-stops or apertures. It is constantly observing, and instinctually, I find always composition that tells a story, but I am only able to capture a great photograph with great lighting and a good deal of luck. (Phew! Sharing that confession feels like a ginormous weight has been lifted off of me!)
For so long, art and photography felt like they should have been enough for me because I had a knack for creating, but there were always other elements of my life that were missing, and I struggled to identify what those things were. I wanted passion for something. There is the “kiss on the cheek that you give your relative at a family party” kind of kiss. Then there is the “can’t keep my hands off you” kind of kiss. Do you see the difference? There were the things I was good at and enjoyed, but then there were other things that fueled a passionate desire that was always within me. I just had to figure out what those things were.
Here’s how I discovered my true passions:
It wasn’t easy. For one thing, I just always wore the label “artist” that some well-meaning people stuck on me years ago. I repositioned and adjusted it many, many, times myself. When my marriage ended and I had to evaluate who I was if I wasn’t someone else’s other half, then I put everything, and I mean all of my labels, on the table to be examined and scrutinized. It wasn’t until last year, however, that I challenged myself to test what would bring me closer to my own calling in life.
I called it my “100 Day Pie Chart to Passion.”
Sketching out a circle, I blocked it off into 5 segments. Over the following few months, I would dedicate time to five specific things that I wanted more of in my life. I wasn’t requiring much of myself, just a minimum of 10 minutes a day on at least three of the five categories. It didn’t have to be consecutive, allowing me to spread it out throughout the day if I needed. 10 minutes isn’t much time at all if you think about it, so it seemed absolutely feasible. And it was. In the beginning, until it became routine, I kept a journal of thoughts (of course), and even a calendar where I placed an empty circle on each day, sectioning off with color coded portions for a quick glimpse of where I was spending my time.
This is what I learned:
- Reading was often my reward.
- Self Care, in the form of dedicated time on the elliptical machine and working on my stubborn IT bands, made me feel stronger.
- Observing nature fed my soul.
- Writing was something that I needed to do, filling me the most, making hours pass as quickly as minutes.
Creating art, on the other hand, was the one thing that I usually didn’t mind dropping from one of the three things in my day. It was an interesting experiment that taught me that maybe it was okay to explore ways to embrace these other parts of myself. I began to allow myself to enjoy art when I was feeling moved to. No longer was I feeling obligated to create art. It was a freeing moment when I realized this.
It was rewarding to gain clarity, the discoveries made surprising me a bit. More than that, though, what I learned was invaluable to me, helping me to decide where my time and energy was best spent.
I may still be laying the groundwork for what I want to be when I grow up, but the past few years have felt to be a much more genuine pursuit, and I can’t keep my hands off of that! Yes, it was indeed time for some more pie!
What about you? What do you think you would learn if you tried a similar experiment? Give it a try, because you too may be surprised when you look back!