The Thing About Passion

I was 22 years old when I said goodbye to my grandmother.  I had come back to Russia too see her and a few of my other family members. After a two-week visit, it was time to go back to the US, a place where my parents had moved my brother and I eleven years prior. My grandma hugged me and I remember feeling comforted and loved in the moment. She then peered into my eyes and said, “We will probably never see each other again.”  I brushed her off and replied, “That’s not true”. I didn’t want to think about it. “Crazy old people always try to be dramatic,” I thought. I tried to tell her that we will see each other soon but deep down in my heart I knew she was right.

She passed away a year ago in December. It was nine years after our goodbye, and she was right – we never got to hug again. When I found out of her passing, I heard her words like it was yesterday – “We’ll probably never see each other again. I love you.” I heard them so clearly and they put me into a calm state. It gave me comfort to know that we got to say good-bye. It gave me comfort understanding that grandma understood life enough to say something that wasn’t easy to say. It gave me comfort that she gave up getting to know and see me more so I could have an opportunity to grow up in a place where she believed I could pursue my passions.

There are moments in life that are so timeless and significant, they stay with you forever. You may not know their weight right away, yet they stick with you like catchy songs do. You hum them in the car as you drive and you catch a glimpse of them when someone says something that seems familiar – a deja vu, a similar tune. However, you don’t connect with that moment again fully until something happens to snap you back into it – like you hear that song years later after forgetting it even exists. All of a sudden it’s comes on filling you with emotions and memories of the past. You see yourself clearly, all of your parts; the why behind the past, the beauty and raw reality of the present, and the purpose for the future. The song you hear is an analogy of your life. It’s parts – the lyrics, the music, the rhythm just like your past, present, and future; they all come together in a melody that is your purpose, your sankalpa as we say in yoga.

Sankalpa is your heart’s passionate desire and purpose, the purpose you only know when you have let your guard down and see yourself clearly – as through a mirror. Yoga is my mirror. I attempt to look inside every day, whether I physically practice or not. Some days the mirror needs a good cleaning, some days I can stare so deeply into my soul I have to back away. I am learning to trust what I see. I’m also learning to create a life around me that is relevant. I’ve found my passion and I’m doing everything I can to stick with it. I was meant to share it with many people and I owe my family a huge thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so by moving to the US and by encouraging me through my career search, never judging, and letting me figure it out on my own.

My grandma watched us move thousands of miles away so that my brother and I could grow up in a place where the children of a rock and roll mom and a Jewish dad could do what they loved without extra road-blocks of discrimination. This place isn’t perfect, yet I know in my heart it is where we’re all supposed to be. I owe my family a full life, the kind that will allow me to one day whisper these words to my granddaughter and feel content – “We’ll probably never see each other again. I love you.”

We all deserve to live a life full of passion and meaningful work. If you are still looking for yours, trust that those closest to you know what it is – they see you fully. Trust that it’s already inside you, nestled in the corner of your heart somewhere, possibly fearful to come out. Most importantly; slow down, take a breath, and trust the process – don’t force it. The song you’ve been singing your whole life, that’s the song that matters.

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