Beth Wonson & Company

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Where Passion and Purpose Intersect – The Golden Thread


I recently went to Harlow’s in downtown Sacramento to see Café Musique, a self-described gypsy, wild classical band that has been performing together for ten plus years and hails from my former home base of San Luis Obispo County. I’m not a big classical music fan, and I have barely any awareness of the composers or songs that are reworked and performed in their sets. But I am a giant, goosebumps-on-my-arms, shivers-down-my-spine fan of passion and purpose. And passion and purpose make up the golden thread that is the magic of the Café Musique.

Each member of the band exudes passion as soon as they lift their instrument.  It is obvious to me that there is a pre-music vibration that only they can hear. And when the bow or their fingers are just ready to alight on the instrument, they go from an individual contributor to a connected band woven by the golden thread.

Their individual skill, talent, and passion blends together into a sense of purpose that I’d be willing to bet they would have a hard time verbalizing. Without so much as a conversation with any of them, it is so obvious that creating, practicing, and traveling from venue to venue—night after night—to put their combined vibrational sounds out into the universe is not really a choice at all. 

It is in the magical moment where passion and purpose intersect that I, someone barely educated in music and unable to correctly identify any instrument beyond violin, drum, or guitar, well up as soon Brynn Albanese tucks her violin into her chin and Duane Inglish closes his eyes and hoists his accordion into place. They and their bandmates, Craig Nuttycombe, Fred Murray and Eric Williams, are transported and transformed—and the audience is welcome to come along.

Deep in my soul I recognize that place where passion and purpose intersect. It is the sweet spot where what you most desire to do and how you are best able to contribute to the greater good come together. And the product of that meeting is where you know you are being guided by something bigger than yourself.

Frequently in my coaching work with clients they will say, “I didn’t get all of what you just said. It was so spot on. Can you repeat it?” and I can’t. Sometimes I read back over an article that I wrote in the earliest part of the dawn and I can’t remember writing it. It is the place where I’m most grounded, least distracted, and most able to trust my own authentic knowledge. At the end of a talk I did for facilitators and consultants, a young man asked me how I long I prepare for a program. I told him 57 years. 

When I stand in the place where passion and purpose intersect, I can allow my thinking brain to take a break and instead let my experience—based on the learning and practice done in the more than half-century of my life—step in.

I went to Harlow’s because I wanted an enjoyable evening out and a chance to introduce a music-loving friend to the fantastic Café Musique. But the intimacy of the venue allowed me to be so close that I could feel the vibration of the passion and see the transformation of each musician. My sense was they were not playing for the audience. They were playing because turning vibration into music and releasing it out for the good of the whole is their greater purpose. 

I know that you’ve probably heard “Find your purpose” so many times. I certainly have. And you’ve also heard people like me talk about doing their work in their area of passion. I’ve heard it so much that in my late thirties I became slightly panic-stricken I might never find my purpose. I began searching. I went to workshops. I read books. I watched and tried to emulate the purpose of others. All others’ purposes were ill fitting. In my forties, I compared myself to others who were working their passion and purpose and wondered, “What is wrong with me?” 

I remember one afternoon while my daughters napped I sat frantically breathing and hungrily waiting to feel an angel’s wing brush my shoulder as I had read a “10 Steps to Feeling Angels Touch Your Shoulders” guide. 

I laugh now, but at the time the trying and lack of feeling resulted in shame. Why was I not good enough to feel that? 

The road to the discovery of your passion and purpose can be winding and bumpy. It can be straight and narrow. It can be an unexpected U-turn. As Byron Katie says, “Even when you know, you are still only guessing.” 

But I can tell you, your passion and purpose isn’t outside of you. You are likely already doing it in some part of your life, but because it seems so natural and easy to you, you are minimizing it. When I’m working with people to help them uncover what they can’t see, I am always amazed when they rave about how I went to the core of the issue with lightening speed—how I helped them to uncover what they were missing. For me, it is what I do naturally and with ease. For me, I know I’ve hit upon the truth the moment I feel a catch in my throat and a tingle on my neck. 

So if you are on a mission to discover your passion and purpose or are like so many people I meet who ask me how to find it, I recommend that you stop looking. Allow, rather than hunt. Start being instead of doing—for at least five minutes per day. Simply notice what creeps up from your subconscious. Notice what you feel inspired to do more of. Avoid the temptation to fill the empty time and space in your life with “things to do.” Allow the empty space to remain so as you feel drawn to or inspired by something, it has room to come in.

Over time, the five minutes of the stillness—of doing nothing—will grow a bit. It will become more comfortable. You will connect on a deeper level with who you are authentically. Over time, the sweet spot of the passion and purpose intersection will emerge for you. You maybe surprised to see that it is already happening; you just are too busy to notice the place where the you tuck the violin under your chin, close your eyes, and turn vibration into music for the good of the whole.

Interested in checking out Café Musique for yourself? Watch below!