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What if Audubon Had Done His Day Job?

By Nancy Swisher
August 22, 2012

The last line of the famous novel "Babbitt" by Sinclair Lewis is, "I have never done the thing that I wanted to in all my life." Don't let this be you!

Passion has been on my mind lately.  I should say in my heart since that is the location of passion.  The passion I feel for color, nature, clients, new love, my life, my business, my teachers and the world.  

Passion is how we feel our purpose.  Yes, you do have a purpose.  But let me tell you what I read about Audubon.

Recently I found a new book in our local library that has all of Audubon’s prints of birds in it.  The book is huge!  I checked it out because I love birds and also because I paint birds in my paintings and wanted to study how he portrayed them.

In the introduction to this massive book, I read:  “His near total focus on birds led to several business failures and to hardships for his family, but he (and his equally undaunted wife Lucy) always found a way to get by and his passion and total commitment shines through in his letters and journal entries.  Writing about his time in Louisville, KY around 1810 when he was supposed to be helping a business partner run a dry goods store, he said, ‘I shot, I drew, I looked on Nature only, my days were happy beyond human conception, and beyond this I really cared not.’”

When I read this passage I must admit I burst into tears.  Why?  I felt the absolute courage it took for Audubon to follow his passion.  I also thought about the world without his amazing work.  Then I thought about all of the people who go to work day in and day out, with no passion at all.  In fact, they (and you know who you are) realize deep down that they must do something to change their life, but don’t do it.

Passion is the key to unlocking your gifts, your purpose.  It’s not that hard to find it when you are committed to living your soul’s calling.  Think of all the amazing manifestations that will not happen in our world because people are afraid to step outside the box of their programming about how to be safe and secure.

I’m not saying quit your ‘day job’.  But I’m saying you have a choice about following your passion, about discovering it, knowing it, acting in alignment with it.
Look and see for yourself if your life is passionate or not.  If not, what is the focus you maintain that blocks your passion from rising up?  Is it your job?  Your habits of thought?  Your associations?  

You have a choice in each moment about where you place your focus.  And where you place your focus will either take you closer to your passion or further away from it.    

Simply ask yourself: “What am I focused on right now?”
And then, “Does this focus take me towards my passion or away from it?”  


Nancy Swisher, MA, MFA is a Consciousness & Creativity Coach, a Certified Inner Bonding Facilitator, Artist and Workshop Leader.  For more about her, go to or call her at 641-233-5072



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