Where in your life are you the most frustrated? What in you yearns for change, or growth, or even transformation?
Frustration is a smoking gun for passion. Our job is to follow the smoke and identify its source within us.
Prior to last month, I had been as frustrated as a child with ants in my pants with the vacations my husband and I had been taking. While I was grateful we could afford nice hotels and restaurants (I had been a self-employed, dollar-poor artist for much of my adult life) traditional vacations left me feeling empty and isolated.
At the same time, I was frustrated with our social life, and lack of community. Trying to schedule get-togethers with our friends had become a tear-my-hair-out experience (“Your first available Saturday night is three months out, you say?”). What I really craved was an organic experience of our friendship circle, in which lots of us could interact all together, regularly, on topics we care about.
The breakthrough on my vacation frustration came in the form of our wonderful volunteer vacation in Costa Rica last month with Global Volunteers. The breakthrough on my community frustration is the Last Sunday Supper & Salon series that Thor and I have launched. (A salon is a hosted, lively discussion.) We hosted our first salon last Sunday, with the topic of Volunteer Vacations & Meaningful Travel. We socialized with about 22 friends over an early potluck meal, and then started the salon discussion about 5:15 p.m. Two teenagers handled child-care in the front room.
I wish you could have seen the animation, the joy with which people talked about their best travel experiences at our first Last Sunday Salon. The passion in the room was palpable. I got enthused emails and even a handwritten note in the days that followed. It’s a hit. Our next salon is Sunday April 27th. Topic is Right Livelihood and Vocation. If you’re not yet on Thor’s and my invite-list and want to be, just leave a comment or drop me an email.
My frustration with our vacations and with our social life had been the smoking gun of my passion for contribution, and for community. Taking volunteer vacations instead of traditional, consumption-oriented vacations is the right path for me and my marriage. And our Last Sunday Salon series is our happy path for building community.
Kim Sisto Robinson, a writer friend of mine, is passionate about victims of domestic violence. Her sister and soulmate Kay was murdered four years ago by Kay’s husband, shattering Kim’s world into a million pieces of grief. Her blog My Inner Chick is the vibrant, life-giving result of her profound frustration/passion. (Besides being great to read, it’s got a high global rating at Alexa. I try to not be jealous of that.)
Frustration is a smoking gun for passion. And passion needs outlet. It needs to trigger loving, dynamic actions — art, song, dance, sport, salon, class, spiritual practice, etc. Last summer it exploded for me into a joyful climate change demonstration, and also climbing the third-highest mountain in Oregon (here is how to climb a mountain or tackle any hard thing).
Where in your life are you frustrated? What in you yearns for change, or growth, or even transformation? Your frustration is the smoking gun of your passion. Following the smoke back to its source can trigger changes that make you richer in what matters.
I will never share or sell your email address.