What if following your Passion doesn’t lead to Fulfillment?
We talk a lot about our passions and the impression most of us get left with is that following what we love will bring fulfillment and lasting happiness. People blog, speak, write, hold talks and do whatever they can to pursue what they’re passionate about.
So when I came out of a ten year depression I made sure to run head first into the things that lit me up. Soon enough I found myself immersed in nature, plants and herbal medicine. This was the answer. This is what I was meant to do. And so I was prepared to follow where the love of plants took me, no matter what.
I took the time I had, all my RRSP money, went to school, became a practicing herbalist and created a company called Herbal North. And it was exactly what I thought it would be. It was exciting, it gave me hope, energy and a healthy dose of fear that only comes with being an entrepreneur. I felt I was on my way – at least for a while.
But for some reason, it wasn’t good enough. I loved what I was doing but a part of me, a big part, was missing. Slowly my passion dwindled and I started to think I’d made a terrible mistake. As my enthusiasm waned, a strong need to do something different rose inside me.
It took me a long time to realize that this yearning was actually an urge for expression. I came to realize that my depression, the time I spent in that dark place hadn’t really left and there was something in that experience that held value and needed to be shared.
I started to think that by my describing what happened, people who were in the throes of depression wouldn’t have to feel so alone and that those who loved someone going through depression might better understand. But how?
The answer had been staring me in the face. It was there at night when I looked at my nightstand to turn off the light; when my daughter and I went to our favourite store and when I went to the library to get some much needed quiet time to plow through work.
In fact, it was at my personal mecca (the local Chapters store) when I realized a book might just be the answer. Here I was an English grad who hated poetry, holding a copy of Milk and Honey to see what all the fuss was about and my brains were running out of my ears.
It was the ultimate AHA moment. My brain, my entire soul exhaled, Oh wow! I can write like this! It was the quietest, smallest, most profound Hallelujah. The flood gates opened. And for the next three months writing was basically all I did.
That was last year and this year I can proudly call myself an author of a collection of poetry entitled, It’s Not Safe to be Happy. It’s on Amazon, Kindle and everything! God I love technology!!
And so all this to say, that for me, it was compulsion that renewed my passion and to the discovery that I have a very strong need for self-expression through the written word. Passion was NOT the starting point, instead it was the end result of following my intuition.
And while I’m still an entrepreneur, a happily practicing Herbalist and the owner of an herbal company, I feel more complete, more whole if that’s possible. More like who I am, is better reflected in the world I inhabit.
So if you ever feel like you have a piece missing, a part of you that isn’t fully present when you follow your passion, listen closely. It may be a hint from your soul saying there’s more for you to do and become and that your spirit has a plan much bigger than what you’ve built for yourself in the present. Don’t be afraid to follow your compulsions. It may be your soul’s way of saying there are more paths for you to tread.
Bev McLeish is the founder of Herbal North Inc. and a practicing Herbalist working one on one with clients at the Out of the Woods Wellness Centre in Aurora, Ontario. Her first book It’s Not Safe to be Happy is available on Amazon, Kindle, iBooks and Barnes & Noble. Bev is continuing to expand her reach through speaking and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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