It seems to be the rage about how we must all find our passion in life to make our lives have meaning. I believe this is true. But, for myself and for many other’s finding this passion was a very, very long process. And for the lucky few, it seems they know what it is from the day they were born.
I had an art teacher in design school who taught me 2D drawing. He was a middle aged man, who had a sense of quiet confidence. You just felt that he knew what he was teaching and doing. One day he told us his path to becoming an artist. It started when he was a child who just loved to draw cartoons. This was his passion. And by the age of 11 he just knew that he was going to draw in some form for a living. For him, it was all a very natural progression and a straight path. I envy that.
Unlike my teacher, I feel like my path has been just a complete mixture of roads. My first career I was an aerobics teacher. A friend of my cousin wanted to start an exercise franchise in Tokyo and they needed instructors. They organized an audition and my cousin asked me to go because they were afraid not many people would show up. So, I innocently went with my girlfriend.
We passed the audition and they decided to train us to be instructors. Along the way, my girlfriend decided it wasn’t for her. But, I stuck to it and enjoyed teaching.
Well, one thing led to another. We were invited to join a TV show and I ended up with a career in the entertainment business in Tokyo.
Then, I decided that I wanted children. And my husband’s job required us to move. I was a full-time mom of three boys for the next twenty years.
My path has been a winding road after that. I tried so many things but nothing seemed to be the right fit. But, as I kept trying there are a few things that remained constant. One is my love of Asian culture. It is a grounding presence in my life. It’s the calm in the storm. When I have a rough day, just fixing a simple meal of white rice and an Asian stir-fry relaxes me. Or even a bowl of hot noodles will do the job. For me, it’s not a burger and fries.
The other is my love of self-cultivation through feng shui, Asian philosophy and the Tao, taught by my master Shan-tung Hsu. Feng shui is a vehicle to help us reflect on our life so we can work to become a better person. I realize that I want to share my knowledge of feng shui, design and Asian culture that many have been so generous to share with me. But, this was a long, long process. It took me ten years to figure it out. Yet, for other people, it could just happen in an instant. Like my ikebana teacher.
My teacher is originally from Japan and came to the U.S. when her children were in elementary school. She and her American husband got married in Japan and intended to make it their home. But, the earthquake in Kobe and various other factors made them decided to move back.
Being a very creative and artistic individual, she took an ikebana class here in the U.S. . And she said, she immediately loved it. Whatever it was, it moved her. So much so that she called it her “Tenshoku”. Well, I never heard of the word tenshoku before. So, I had to ask her what that meant. Ten, meaning Heaven and shoku meaning work, or job. So, it means, god’s given work. She just knew that this is what she was meant to be doing.
And she has dedicated her life to teaching, sharing, learning, and mastering the art of ikebana. As her student, I just feel so fortunate to have a teacher who is all in. There is no questioning her passion.
So, I realized there is no one clear path to finding your passion. Everyone’s road is different. Some know from childhood, other’s it could happen in a second. And for me, it’s taken a very long time. But, the common thread is the constant pursue of something that makes you feel good. What makes you tick? If it brings you a little joy, keep at it. And the better you get at it the more excited you become. I believe that’s the first step to finding your passion. It’s all the little steps that make the progress.
What’s your passion? Did you find it immediately or did it take you through many points of trial and error? I would love to hear your story.