Take a moment to think back to a time when you felt passionate about something. A time when you were fully engaged, ‘in the zone’ and absorbing in what you were doing. Now think about how you felt at the time. When we ask this question of a group we’ll get a whole range of responses, such as: excited, in the flow, soul connection, tingly, fun, warm, sense of beauty, energized, alive, happy, joyful, buzzing, creative, soulful, focused, open, free, divine, a sense of meaning and so on. Every time these responses contain experiences on several different levels: there is the physical and energetic aspect (tingly, glowing, alive Š), there is the mental aspect (focus, direction Š), there is the emotional aspect (happy, excited, joyful Š) and there is the spiritual aspect (soul connection, divine, sense of meaning Š). This indicates that passion, in its fullest sense, is a whole person experience.
True passion leads to full engagement in life, which means all of these energies are in alignment. There is an abundance of physical energy, a sense of feeling emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a sense of a bigger picture of life. When these are all managed well and replenished, you feel great.
What does this mean? Physical energy, for example, is our basic fundamental source of energy. To be replenished we need, among other things, enough sleep, a good diet, and regular exercise.
Managing emotional energy is all about our ability to connect with ourselves and others, to be able to listen, have empathy. It is about recognizing what you are feeling, listening to that, and responding to situations, rather than reacting.
Managing mental energy is about enhancing your ability to concentrate, focus, be flexible, see different perspectives. This is supported by positive and encouraging self-talk, cultivating an ability to visualize, and holding a sense of realistic optimism.
Managing our spiritual energy is about enhancing a sense of purpose beyond limited self-interest, and holding yourself to your deepest, truest values. It is about living a life of integrity, and feeling that you are in some way contributing to life.
It’s clear then that each of these four energies have their own distinctive characteristics, but it is also true that none of them are ever alone, and while each can be managed to a certain extent individually, they all greatly influence each other. With this in mind we got to wondering what the French philosopher, René Descartes (of ‘I think therefore I am’ fame) would say if he did a passion map. We reckon it might be something like: ‘Wow! I am, therefore I think, I feel, and I experience passion.’
Quick Tip Creating Energy
This is a great exercise to do alone if you’re feeling in need of a boost, but it’s especially energizing for a group of people, particularly if you want to bring a touch of fun and life to a long dull meeting. Watch the energy in the room soar. Exercise: Remember a time when you felt passionate, in the flow, in the zone, totally absorbed in something you really enjoy.
What were you doing? What was happening for you? How did you feel? Make a list of all the words that come up for you. (or if in a group, collect responses on a board or flip chart) Observe how all the different energies (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) are represented. If time permits repeat the exercise for another time you felt passionate, in the zone etc.