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The most inspiring books to follow your passions

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The most inspiring books to follow your passions

What inspired me to start The Passion Co. has been a mix of tears and sweat as well as ink from the pens of those who wrote about life and its meaning.

For your holidays, I wanted to share with you these books that have been a source of inspiration and new ideas. Whether you plan to be lying on a beach in Mexico, taking the slopes of Tahoe, or at café in Paris, these reads will be sure to get your 2015 started with a new perspective, ideas and maybe an action plan. 

1) The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Why we love it: easy to read, makes you want to get out and do something, and full of memorable quotes. Pressfield’s style is masculine, honest and playful.

Category: Easy read

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2) Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

Why we love it: A classic, and an all time best seller, this book is worth reading once, twice and as many times. Dr. Frankl depicts the essence and core of our lives after having survived concentration camps including Auschwitz. In addition to telling his raw story, Dr. Frankl weaves in his experiments as a doctor in Psychiatry.

Category: Philosophical, story telling

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3) The Prophet, Gebran Khalil Gebran

Why we love it: Besides being from my home country, Lebanon, Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is one of the most beloved classics of our time. A collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and inspirational you can refer to at any time you are in doubt.

Category: Poetic, life

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4) The $100 start-up, Chris Guillebeau

Why we love it: Chris’s practical style makes a compelling case that you no longer need significant money or time to start something you love. The book has great examples to get you inspired and pragmatic advice.

Category: Entrepreneurship, practical 

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5) The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Why we love it: A book that I read when I was a teenager, Coelho tells a magical story of a young boy traveling the world, weaving in lessons and wisdom about life, love and work. Coelho’s words will be sure to warm your heart and inspires you to follow it.

Category: Classic, poetic

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6) Losing My Virginity, Sir Richard Branson

Why we love it: Branson’s life adventures will keep you off your seat, and make you wonder why you are not dreaming bigger. One of the most thrilling autobiography of our times.

Category: Entrepreneurship, story telling

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7) The Enneagram, Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life

Why we love it: Our favorite personality type framework, based on the ancient system of the Enneagram, will help you to enjoy more satisfying and fulfilling relationships in all areas of your life by introducing you to the nine basic personality types inherent in human nature. Soon you will start referring to people by their Enneagram number.

Category: Manual, personality type

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8) Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously, Osho

Why we love it: Osho inspired us to believe in embracing fear, which is one of the principles in our Find Your Passion Program. This is one of the best manual on fear, perfect if you are going through transitions or challenging times in general.

Category: Life, spirituality

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Shine - A Passion Celebration (September Edition)

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Shine - A Passion Celebration (September Edition)

What is your legacy? Mozart's was his music, Picasso’s was his art and for our Shine event this September we encouraged our Passion Co. community to shape it and begin living it fully.

Inspired by Burning Man and officiated by Anisha Desai), who launched her ceremony business, the event was truly a huge success and challenged everyone present to identify one thing holding them back from their legacy, what they need to do to move one step closer to it and finally to take a marigold blossom – a symbol of passion, creativity and possibility – and make a commitment to their legacy.

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The main focus, of course, was our latest group of 15 inspiring individuals, who took to the stage at non-profit community-based arts organization Galería de La Raza to showcase their Passion Projects after completing our 5 week program.

Divya Silbermann launched ‘Brave Stories,’ a website to share personal stories of overcoming loss.

Devastated by the sudden death of her fiancé from meningitis in 2002 after moving to the US from India, she believes that despite the huge number of social networking sites, it's still very difficult to find genuine stories of hardship and grief.

She said: 

My goal is to inspire someone who might be going through something similar. No one is going to give you magical advice that will make you feel better instantly, but you’re not alone.

Sierra Campbell debuted her non-toxic collection of beautifully designed yoga mats, Ventana Yoga.

After working on the line for 10 months, she decided to sign up for the program as she “needed an extra push.”

She said: 

Launching my own company, I felt really isolated and I needed a community. Most of my friends after month 5 or 6, when I would say I’m launching this and I would want support from them, their response would be, you haven’t launched it yet or they would focus on problems. The Passion Co. focused on excitement, solutions and solving things together.

Asked about the most difficult challenge she faced, she said: 

Keeping enthusiasm and finding a responsible manufacturer.

 

Attendees tucked into the delicious Hummus bar provided by Yamba Hummus and sipped on honey wine by Bee D'Vine.

Amanda Shareghi read a hilarious excerpt from a feature about her love life that she plans to submit to the New York Times’ Modern Love column, while DJ and yoga enthusiast Elliott Adams unveiled Mixflow.co, where he shares unique electronic beats designed to blend tempo with movement.

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Noelia Ruiz-Angel grew up playing the violin, but life got in the way until recently.

At the beginning of the program she made a commitment to start practicing again every day and wowed guests with her incredible performance at the event.

Sanjana Reddy and Vaishnavi Bodanapu created illustrations for a family cookbook and Aline Rudenisch showed off her unique hand-made fashion items.

If you want to discover or reconnect with your passion, join our next Find Your Passion Program.

Check out our Facebook page to see more pictures from our most recent event!

Written By: Aoife Anderson

Photo Credit: Nina Menconi

 

 

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6 Lessons From 100 Hours of Meditation and 300 of Silence – The AFTER

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6 Lessons From 100 Hours of Meditation and 300 of Silence – The AFTER

Credit Celeste Noche Photography

Credit Celeste Noche Photography

The last Friday of 2013, I opened my eyes to a very familiar sound: a sound I had tried to erase from my memory. Another bomb struck a moderate politician in the neighborhood where we pass by every day, killing people and causing destruction; shooting another arrow into Lebanon’s shrinking heart.

 

As the stress and anger started mounting, I began breathing, feeling my hands and feet and breathing again, until I calmed down. Whether it is a bomb, the daily stresses at work or in your relationships, the feeling is the same and so are the tools I learned at Spirit Rock for dealing with them. 

Lesson 1- Pain is Inevitable

Our society is conditioned to avoid pain at any price. Whether it is taking medicine, or promoting the sole pursuit of happiness. The truth is that life is like a pendulum – and for pleasure to exist, there will be pain.

 

Sitting for 14 hours a day cross-legged is definitely something my body was not a fan of, especially my injured knee. By day 3, I had had it with pain, and my only option was to give in to it. Breathe and let go of it. All I remember is that the pain turned into an euphoric emotion and slowly faded away.

My knee pain was a lesson in emotional pain. The reason why we suffer so much, as it turns out, is not because of heartbreak, or a job loss or loneliness. The true reason is because we are conditioned to fight this emotion. To become hard on ourselves, to drink, get high, or watch TV and “forget,” in other words hurting ourselves more, making it even more difficult to move on.

Lesson 2 – Pain is Good

The retreat was a celebration of solstice, the darkest time of the earth. For darkness is a symbol of pain, difficult times, the feeling of being stuck, lost, confused or hopeless. The beauty of the solstice is threefold. First, it allows you time and space to reflect and pause. And so does any loss in our lives where you experience intense emotions. Secondly, the solstice also marks the full moon, which is symbolic of the light that comes after darkness. Where your heart turns from stone into stars, as a poet put it. Lastly, the darkness is a time to ask for forgiveness: forgiveness from yourself and forgiveness from others. It is the time to liberate yourself from fear and what is holding you back.

 

The teachers kneeled down on their knees and asked for our forgiveness by the end of the retreat. It was both humbling and inspiring. And I decided to do the same with the people close to me by writing them after the retreat, and asking for forgiveness.

Lesson 3 - 99% of Our Thoughts are Rubbish

You are upset with someone at work. Your mind starts telling you stories such as they did not collaborate on the project because you are not good enough, or they think they are better, or because they are just bad at what they do. This thought starts causing you anger and anxiety and alters your mood.

One cool thing of being stuck with your thoughts for 7 days is the ability to eventually observe them objectively, and do what is called "mental labeling."

 

Here is a pie chart of what I found in my head:

6 Things I Learnt From 100 Hours of Meditation and 300 of Silence – The AFTER.docx.jpg

Then you stop and notice that this thought is coming from the storyteller, and is not reality. You can take 3 deep breaths and try to focus on the present.

And there were 5 stories I kept telling myself over and over again. They consumed my mind to the degree that I missed out on the present, I missed out on being creative and imagining.

The truth is that conquering these thoughts was mission impossible. Instead, simply being aware of them and categorizing them gives you control over your mind.

Lesson 4 – Silence is Sometimes a Better Way

The first evening of the retreat, we were allowed to speak; later, during my daily work meditation where I was washing the dinner dishes with 3 other people, we found ourselves to be more efficient on the rest of the days when we were not talking.

 

"Thank you" and "Sorry" kept popping up in my head, and each time I realized that they were unnecessary. Not talking taught me to notice others’ body language for example, and by end of the retreat I felt as close to my kitchen co-workers as though we knew each other deeply.

We say so many words, overcrowd our speech, we miss out on the unspoken, we waste energy and it slows us down.

Lesson 5 – Start with Intention (vs Expectation)

I came into the retreat thinking that I wanted to relax, resolve some issues and understand myself better. As soon as I sat down, I realized it was all rubbish. My true intention was to open my heart to whatever I am about to receive. Expectations are the mother of disappointment. We set goals, go to meetings, watch TV and do things all day. What if you stop before you start something, and think about what intention you have for it? In other words, realign with the real "why" behind why you do what you do.

We were instructed to do that before every meditation session, and it is a relief to come back to it, when I start feeling stressed, bored or tired.

Lesson 6 – The Real Meaning of Listening

I had lunch with Buddha in the garden, and noticed while staring at his statue for an hour that he has huge ears. Listening is often brought up as a virtue one must have. My silence and focus on my body taught me another type of listening. A heart-full listening.  Being truly present when someone else is speaking. How to do that? A small trick. Coming back to your body which is present by feeling your hands and feet. Try it, it works magic.

The Truth

As humans, we adapt fast. By day 2 I was used to waking up at 6 AM to the sound of the gong, used to 12 meditation sits and used to not speaking. I did not even think of my phone. The truth is, it is not technology that we are attached to. We are attached to distraction. The escape from the now. The escape from the pain. The escape from truth. For truth is found in the stillness of life. And oh how many times do we turn a blind eye to it.

 

P.S.: In full disclosure, there was one thing I truly, dearly missed. That thing was writing. If it was for one thing, the silence and the meditation bootcamp confirmed to me that writing is indeed my ultimate passion.

Trippers and askers surround me,

People I meet....the effect upon me of my early life....of the ward and city I live in....of the nation,

The latest news....discoveries, inventions, societies....authors old and new,

My dinner, dress, associates, looks, business, compliments, dues,

The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,

The sickness of one of my folks—or of myself....or ill-doing....or loss or lack of money....or depressions or exaltations,

They come to me days and nights and go from me again,

But they are not the Me myself.
— Walt Whitman
Credit Celeste Noche Photography

Credit Celeste Noche Photography



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