“If you want to find your passion, surrender to your heartbreak.
Your heartbreak points toward a truer north…”
This quote is mighty good wisdom for the start of a new year, and also a little New Year’s Eve preview of what’s coming to Northaven, just after the 1st of the year.
It’s a new way of discerning what your purpose and calling in life truly is.
The ideas were first written down by Umair Haque in a blog he wrote (of all places) for the Harvard Business Review. Titled, “How To Have A Year That Matters,” Umair Haque challenges us to have a passionate New Year. Then, asks the simple, yet profound question: “What Breaks Your Heart?”
“Follow your passion, we’re often told. But how do you find your passion? Let me put it another way: what is it that breaks your heart about the world? It’s there that you begin to find what moves you. If you want to find your passion, surrender to your heartbreak. Your heartbreak points towards a truer north — and it’s the difficult journey towards it that is, in the truest sense, no mere passing idyllic infatuation, but enduring, tempestuous passion.”
Angela Maeirs also writes about it here. And we’ll reference her ideas as well.
Follow your heartbreak.
Surrender to it.
Find your passion.
There is important wisdom here.
For several years, I’ve been stridently anti-New Year’s Resolutions. There’s solid science to show that writing down, and then proclaiming loudly, some “resolultions” can actually keep us from achieving them. Don’t believe me? Check it out.
This is a different spiritual move, altogether.
Asking “What breaks my heart about the world?” can reveal the deep, longterm work, calling, and mission we most need to do in life, with even more clarity than simply asking “What’s my passion?” or “What do I resolve this year?”
Because the things that tend to break our hearts –in our lives, society, and the world– often reveal those passions. They point to the sufferings we are called to redeem, the pains we are called to assuage, the situations that perhaps we have been uniquely created, placed, and gifted to impact.
Spiritually, we know that God can use heartbreak for great things. God does not create heartbreak so that we can do great things.
But Easter reminds us that the dynamic of new life/hope growing from death/suffering is hardwired into the universe itself. God is always inviting us to step into this very same kind of dynamic. To trust that sorrow can be redeemed. The broken pieces of our hearts may never quite be put back together as they were before. But resurrection is always about a new life, anyway.
Listening to what breaks your heart, then following where it leads you, can push you to powerful and transformative living.
In the same blog, Umair Haque also writes this incredible paragraph about living fully, rather than just just plodding through life, year after year:
“We’ve been taught to be obedient rationalists. And the rationalists say: there’s no magic in the world. But they miss the point. There’s a kind of quiet magic that each and every one of us is condemned to have in us, every moment of our lives: the facility to exalt life beyond the mundane, and into the meaningful; beyond the generic, and into the singular; through the abstract, and into the concrete; past the individual, and towards the universal. And it’s when we reject this, the truest and worthiest gift of life, that we have squandered the fundamental significance of being human; that the soil of our lives feels arid, featureless, fallow, a desert that never came to life; because, in truth, it has been. And so this almost magical facility you and I have, potential, is something like an existential obligation that we must live up to: for it’s only when we not just accept it, but employ it at its maximum, that we can reconcile ourselves not merely to regret, but with mortality; that we can escape not merely our own lesser selves, but the all-destroying scythe of futility; and come, finally, to find, at the end of the day, not merely time’s revenge on life, but life’s revenge on time: an abiding grace for both the fragility and the fullness of life.”
Amen and amen.
So, what breaks your heart?
Listen to that, and perhaps discover where your true passion is this coming year.
And join us at Northaven, as we take this journey together in coming weeks.
- Umair Haque interviewed by Thinkers50 (ritholtz.com)
- Heartbreak Mapping in Action (angelamaiers.com)
- How To Have a Year That Matters (hbr.org)