Maximize Your Potential: Recovering Your Passion

Dance Wall

As kids, most of the things that we are passionate about do not make reasonable career pursuits in the minds of our parents. As a child I wanted to be a Broadway dancer, as a teen my sister wanted to be a fashion designer, and upon heading off to college my niece wanted to be a journalist. Albeit well-meaning, parents so often steer their children in the direction of respectable and stable career choices in the name of job security (as if there is any such thing anymore). As adults real life begins to happen- marriage, kids, bills, career, etc.- and long lost passions seem foolish in the light of everyday life. We tend to brush old ambitions to the side rather than finding ways to infuse small pieces of what we are passionate about into our respectable and stable lives.

All through my twenties my life just seemed to feel flat when I considered the person I thought I'd be. It wasn't until shortly after my 30th birthday that I realized I had completely disconnected from all of the creative and artistic endeavors I had so much passion for long ago. I began excavating my passions when I first read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Not long after that I found myself back in dance classes. Somehow doing that gave way to the courage to do other things like taking drama classes and acting in a play while I was in seminary. I even noticed that my artistry and creativity popped up in unexpected ways, like in my preaching and teaching.

For this reason I became particularly excited when I read the story of Ria Dawn Carlo in the November issue of O magazine. As a child Ria fell in love with playing the piano and had dreams of becoming a concert pianist. After her teachers discouraged her by telling her that the odds were pretty slim, she grew away from music and eventually became a astrophysicist. When a change in career suddenly allowed her more free time, she decided to begin playing piano again at the age of 34. Since that time, she's won an international competition and has even performed at Carnegie Hall for a fund-raiser. I'm sure when Ria made the decision to reconnect with her passion, she never imagined she'd grace the stage of a such a world-renowned and beloved venue. It just goes to show that you never know where pursuing your passion may lead you.

This article in O magazine also highlights seven other women with similar stories of following their passions (not all artistic), including that of Liana Munro. Shortly after turning 64, Liana began taking dance lessons in some of the Latin dances she'd learned as a child in Cuba during the mid-1950's.  All of the stories were inspiring in a very practical way. It was a reminder that the gift that is in you is always waiting to be acknowledged and expressed, no matter your age. It's never too late to recover your passion for something that you love to do and make it a real part of your life.