Passion, Purpose and an Ah-Ha Moment – Part 2

Iowa, Color the Wind Festival

Iowa, Color the Wind Festival

While I was still pondering on passion, Otto posted another thought-provoking article Finding Purpose. By the way, if you are interested in these subjects like I do, I highly recommend you go read Otto’s articles… on second thought, even if you are not interested in these subject, you may still want to go take a look. I’ve printed them out and plan to read again and again.

Before I continue, I want to thank everyone who has commented on part one of this article. Life is more complicated than my little brain could comprehend. Before I started writing this, I thought I had everything figured out. Your comments brought me some new knowledge, and, believe it or not, I have made some necessary changes (for better) because of that. THANK YOU!

There was something about me that not many people knew: finding purpose (of life) was important for me since I was very young. I remember telling one of my junior high school classmates that I knew there was a purpose of my life, but I had no idea what it was. She rolled her eyes. That was when I realized that not everyone had thought about his purpose of life (particularly at that age). Several years later, I asked my high school teacher what the purpose of life was. As a shy Chinese girl who, most of the time, kept a distance from her teachers, asking my teacher such a philosophical question showed how desperately I was at the time. Many years later when I was a computer programmer, one day, I asked my officemate what purpose of life was and he almost fell off his chair.

Otto’s two articles gave me a lot to think about. It finally dawn on me that passion alone couldn’t sustain (Using Perpetua’s words: passion is a fleeting thing. Thanks, Perpetua. 😉 I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be when a reader told me she liked my book because publishing a book was a goal and the moment I reached that goal, I was done with it and ready to move on. Even though all the profit from selling the book was donated to the food bank (this could be used as a purpose for writing the book), the idea of donating money was an afterthought. It was my passion (in writing) helped me to set and reach that goal and when the goal was reached, my passion seemed considering its job was done and inched to the background.

But, does it still exist?

Otto (and his friend) recently has several posts on his Ethiopia trip, which you can find it at Untold Stories. Those stories had made some impact on me that I don’t know how to describe. I’m grateful for what they had done, but, at the same time, I knew I wasn’t brave enough to do things like that. I was also very touched by Randall’s story The Endurance of Tacloban: Heart of the Philippines. I could feel Randall’s caring and warmness toward those people. In my own photographing experience, my happiest moment was the time I took photos of the lady at a Chinese grocery store and later gave the photos to her. I can still hear her giggling and I remember how happy I was because my photos had made her day.

Suddenly I realized that all these stories were powerful for me because they turned people’s suffering into hope with human (our) compassion.

Maybe… passion is a word that carries too much weight for me. It’s easier to think things I like to do.

My aha-moment came when I’ve reached to a conclusion that it’s not that I don’t like writing or photographing anymore; it is that now I want to do it with a purpose. The result that I am hungry for can only come from reaching out to people and do things benefit them. As an introvert, I know this is not going to be easy.

I feel better now 😉


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Passion, Purpose and an Ah-Ha Moment – Part 2

  1. Adhika says:

    I always find the word “passion” very intriguing. Derived from the Latin word “passio” which means “to suffer”, I was once told that “passion” is something or someone that you are willing to “suffer” for. For example, I am willing to wake up at 4 AM to get that sunrise shot even though it means I have to sacrifice my beauty sleep (Oh yeah! LOL). So, there is that element of willingness to go the extra mile for our passion. The catch here is that passion develops. Yes, you might fall in love with something at the first sight but I think for most of us, we are not going to suffer for something that we cannot connect. So, I’d theorize that what you are going through is actually necessary in developing your passion. I am so delighted to read that you are starting to discover the true joy of your taking pictures. For me, it’s about being awed by the mundane things that we often take for granted: The air, the water, the fire, the earth, and yes, people. I am cheered by the joy of sharing this to people. Your journey begins and you will soon discover that it evolves, too. And it’s alright.

    Three cheers to you, Helen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Adhika. I didn’t know the suffering part of passion, but it does make sense 😉
      My first thought, after reading your comment was how come you are so young and you already know the true joy of your taking photos and I am old (supposed to be wiser) and it took me so much effort to find it out. Then I remember my photographing year is, actually, quite young. Ha ha.
      I agree with every word you said. I am going to start a new journey and I am excited. Thank you so much. I appreciate it a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. billgncs says:

    growth, and moving outside of our comfort zone is always uncomfortable at first.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy says:

    I think purpose of life, passion, dreams… are there, perhaps, it just there for us to analyze or define. Some people change their life purposes, etc. as their life seasons change (as Susan said), some follow persistently no matter what, and other may get bit of confused during the season change (like me 🙂 ) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Helen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. seeker says:

    I am glad that Adhika defined the word passion because as it happens during lent we meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I am glad that I was able to help you define what passion is. As for writing the book, as much as you had passion, you were determined to write one. Determination is a big thing because you finished the book. One can be passionately about many things but never really accomplished anything. I think the answer is right there: feeling happy because you made somone’s day. That is just grand, Helen. And compassion, to boot! Perpetua.

    I read Otto’s blog and I am not sold because it’s was mostly about the book. The blog of Untold Stories is more powerful because they are working for a just caused. It never mentioned about passion as far as I can remember but they are compassionate about the well-being of the people. And that is making a difference to humanity. In the end, it’s not just about “me”. It’s them as a whole.

    Thank you for sharing the link and bring out what I truly believe. For me, it’s more of a calling rather than passion. And that, my friend, is a blog I might just have to write about. Blessings. Perpetua.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Perpetua. Once I took a drawing class in a local college. At the end of the class, I asked my instructor what my strength was. He thought for a while and said, “Your determination.” I laughed. I said, ” You mean my drawing was not too impressive, right?”

      Otto shared a lot from the book, but whatever he’s shared, for some reason, triggered something deep inside of me. Recently a blogger (I forgot who) commented that Chinese are practical (something like that). It’s true for me. I want to do something I like and to help others at the same time. When I wrote this, I, too, was thinking maybe it’s calling instead of passion. But I decided not to dig deeper since I already had too much in mu head 😉

      Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sunsetdragon says:

    I have a passion for photography and finding things an places others do not go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. joannesisco says:

    I liked this post. You attempted to put into words what many of us feel. I agree that there is always a so-what undercurrent in everything I do. Thanks for putting it into words!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rommel says:

    Very nice sophomore post from the first one.
    Although, I’d rather not think about life’s purpose. That may sounds awful, but I think that kind of things I rather come to me as I go. Carpe diem. Live as I do. That’s really more of me. And to those who do follow through with their dream of what they want to be, with what passion they strongly strive for, or those who do focus with their life’s purpose… my hats off to them.
    I remember the grocery store story. 🙂
    Good luck and good job following what your heart desires.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Rommel. Everyone is different. All my siblings are like you and sometime I wish I were that way, too. I’ve learned that I can not change who I am; I have to accept and do the necessary things to make this life worth while and of course, enjoy my life while doing it. 😉


  8. Dalo 2013 says:

    Beautifully written post, and sometimes I find myself doing something even though it really does not make sense. There is a sentence that you used that could have come out of my own mouth as I feel this way often…”Life is more complicated than my little brain could comprehend.”

    But then at some point I realized that I was through with trying to figure out life, and instead just to let it flow. In a sense, similar to Rommel’s idea of how to live life.

    I still over-analyze many things (usually all work related), but when it comes to what I love to due, then I really just let it go and plan on making many mistakes. This is nice, as when I make mistakes, I will not dwell or get too discouraged for as Perpetua says: passion is a fleeting thing.

    But what I think it really comes down to with this post is how you say “I want to do it with a purpose…” and I think that defines the necessary state-of-mind that turns a pursuit into a passion. A purpose provides the drive & energy, so we can focus just on the doing (and doing it well). Great post, and also thank you very much for mentioning my post…it made me think back to Tacloban, and the happiness there. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Randall. I feel pretty good now. I guess a trip to Scottsdale to soak up some sunshine really helped. 😉
      Seriously, you and Otto’s posts have helped me in a way that I couldn’t explain. I now have a project in mind and I have courage to make some changes for better. Thanks. (I may email you later 😉


  9. This is a fantastic post, Helen. You approach yourself with openness and a willingness to see beyond the obvious. Keep that longing for a purpose in what do with you wherever you gp. This is the key. Go after it and it can take you anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can totally relate to what you’re feeling Helen. Just like you, I have always wondered what my purpose is in this lifetime. The never ending thoughts about it have inspired me to write poems about finding my purpose and life in general. To this very moment I am still questioning my life’s purpose. What is it really that I am meant to do with this life that I am blessed with. I worked hard and went to college to get a degree in Information Systems because I was into web design, then got really into programming…coding can get a little crazy at times but I loved it…then ended up working in the IT field for over 10 years but in the past 2 years I’ve slowly lost my interest in the field. I try not to feel that way because I keep thinking about all the hard work that I’ve put into it when I was in college and all that experience but I just couldn’t get myself to love it like I used to. Honestly, I can’t even picture myself being in the IT field anymore! I guess I got burned out completely. Right now I’m debating between pursuing what I’m really passionate about and what’s practical but I realized that life is too short and I can’t waste my time deciding which way to go though deep in my heart I know which way is it. I think it’s also because of fear. There’s a part of me that is afraid of the unknown and afraid of failure…..but is there really such thing as failure? I should never look at it that way but rather an opportunity for learning and an opportunity something new. It might take some time but I’m working on building that courage to pursue what makes me feel alive and I believe that it’s all about the right timing too. I know I’ll get there and I believe that everything will fall into place at the right time. 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring thoughts Helen! You totally made my day!! 🙂


I would love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s