The Ruling Passion Exercise is designed to help you clarify what it is you really want in a life, date, relationship, career, job, vacation, pet, community, home, religion, garden—anything you can imagine. My clients and I have found it useful because like many folks, we often confuse what we really, truly want deep down with what we think we really want, what peers, bosses, coworkers, family, life-partner and society tell us we should want, and what we think we can get.
The Ruling Passion Exercise is based on the idea that we all come into physical reality to create certain experiences for ourselves, experiences which, if left unfulfilled, may cause us to feel that we have wasted our lives. This exercise is also based on the idea that we each have a Greater Self who knows what we really want, and is constantly seeking to nudge us toward the experiences that will give us the greatest joy and satisfaction.
It’s not enough to have a dream. We must also know what experiences we wish that dream to give us. Armed with such knowledge, we can work out a practical strategy for translating our dream into physical reality without having to waste years of effort following false trails.
The Ruling Passion Exercise
Copy the following form onto your desktop or onto a sheet of paper.
WHAT I REALLY WANT IN MY IDEAL_____________________________________________
- Set a timer for 5-10 minutes.
- At the top of the form fill in the blank following the title phrase WHAT I REALLY WANT IN MY IDEAL (career, life-partner, vacation, etc). I.e., write down the general category of dream you would like to clarify in this exercise.
- Start the timer.
- Beginning with line 1 above, list all the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual pleasures, benefits, experiences, or qualities you would like from your exercise’s chosen topic in an ideal world. This last is very important. Forget about past failures or successes. Set aside just for the 5-10 minutes of the exercise all the reasons why you imagine you cannot have what you really want: your age (“I’m too old!”), looks (“I’m too fat!”), money (“I’m too poor!”), status (“I have too many people depending on me”), level of ability (“I flunked out”), character shortcomings (“I’m too lazy”), fears (“What if I fail? I’ll be a laughing stock”), and self-condemnations (“I’m too much of a screw-up; nothing like this could ever happen to me”).
- Write as quickly as you can, with as little self-editing as possible. Don’t be alarmed if some of the things you write down are “politically incorrect”, shocking, or unexpected. When you run out of ideas, stop.
- If you have not listed twenty-one, ask yourself, “Am I really being honest with myself?” If you can’t think of anything to list at all, ask yourself, “Whom do I know or have read about who has the successes, qualities, or experiences I would like to incorporate into my dream?” If you still can’t think of twenty-one things you want our of your ideal dream, try turning the exercise on its head: try listing twenty-one things you would hate your dream to bring you. Then write down next to these hates their opposites. (You may also set aside the exercise for a day or so and return to it.)
Next: Evaluating Your Ruling Passion List