Beliefnet
The Spark

Wherever you are in life and no matter what you do professionally one thing is certain: You want more! You want to love more, earn money, achieve more, feel more, BE more. Maybe you feel you have untapped potential. Maybe you are looking for a breakthrough in a particular area of your life, or just feel stuck, tired and uninspired.

Why then is change so difficult? Why isn’t it easy to kick a bad habit, leave a depressing job or unfulfilling relationship and go after your dreams? After all, you know exactly what you need to do to make it happen. You’ve read the books, bought the DVD set, been to the seminar, searched the internet – you know exactly what it takes! And yet you can’t budge. Why???

One simple reason:

People don’t change because they see the light. People change because they feel the fire, the heat. Knowing what it takes to accomplish your goals won’t get you the desired results. There are a lot of smart people who want to lose weight or quit smoking or live a healthier lifestyle but seldom do.

You need a trigger. Something that stirs you to action and ignites a fire within.

There are only two forces that will create this fire in you; a fire that compels you to take action towards transformative and decisive change: Passion and pain.

Passion: Passion is love. It’s a compulsion, sometimes crazy and irrational, to do something you love doing. It’s a force that compels you to act not because you seek gain or recognition but because the very performance of the act brings you pleasure.

If you are passionate about acting you will find a way to integrate acting into your life. Whether you become rich and famous is not the driving force. It’s not your incentive. Einstein was passionate about physics so he spent his evenings and weekends working on the Theory of Relativity while holding down a day job in the Swiss patent office. He wasn’t after the pay check or the glory. Bill Gates was passionate about computer programming so he spent most of his free time as a teen working on that. Michael Jordan had a passion for basketball and continued playing even after being cut from his high school basketball team.

What are you passionate about? This is the million dollar question. Where you find your passion you find your life. But this is only the beginning of your journey…The real challenge involves turning your passion into something useful that brings value to other people and puts food on your table. This isn’t easy my friends – and will take blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of pain to get you there.

So let’s talk about pain, that gnawing nuisance of a feeling: we try to avoid it like the plague (why be “negative” right?) but there it is. Pain is unavoidable. Why? Because life causes pain. Your passion will bring you pain. Love causes pain. Loss causes pain. Change causes pain. Success causes pain. Stagnation causes pain. Growth causes pain, like when you work out in the gym and stretch your muscles to breaking point.

The trick is to accept pain and allow it to drive you to meaningful, purposeful action; to passion.

Consider the Buddha: Seeing the plight of the poor and diseased in the villages around him forced the young prince to leave his palace and seek enlightenment. It was his pain that moved him to find his calling. His passion.

Moses fled Egypt to find God and more importantly his own calling and leadership potential in the wilderness of Sinai after seeing the pain inflicted on a Hebrew slave by an Egyptian taskmaster. The injustice pained him so he took action.

Similarly, Jesus was moved by the pain and suffering he saw around him. The oppression, inequality and marginalization of the poor prompted Jesus to become a preacher and healer. Later on, it was his own suffering on the cross that led to Jesus’ resurrection and redemption. To the passion of the Christ. Pain led to passion.

How many people do you know who lost a loved one to a disease like cancer and have taken up the cause as their life’s mission? How many people have been ‘called’ by the injustice of war, or the plight of the poor, or the damage done to the environment, or animal cruelty…and become champions of the cause?

Look at any success story in this world and you’ll see the same thing happen time and again. Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey – they all took something difficult in their life; an obstacle, tragedy, or dark moment and transformed it into something beautiful. You must do the same.

So if you want to change your life, change the way you relate to it. Don’t run from your pain – run with it. Take the energies at your disposal (and pain is a potent energy, its simply the flip side of passion) and direct it towards something productive.

Martin Luther King once said; ‘if you don’t stand for something – you will fall for anything.’ What do you stand for? What’s valuable to you – what are your values? What things in life are you willing to fight and struggle for, maybe even die for? These are questions you must figure out before setting out to change your life.

Take some time alone today or this weekend to reflect upon these questions. Quiet your mind, close your eyes, and go deep to find answers.

Change is within reach. You just need to align yourself with the energy that will get you there.

Love and light,

Elan

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