The Meaning of “Ollin”

When I first came across the word “Ollin” while reading Kevin Hall’s book “Aspire: Discovering your Purpose through the Power of Words”, I had a wave of goosebumps.

It both spoke to the passion, purpose and “all-in” approach to life, and also so beautifully acknowledged the gift and necessity of community in order to fully experience our potential. In the word is also immediacy, movement and NOW. So needed during the precarious times we are currently faced with as a planet.

My intention in starting the institute is to help each other find our individual and collective “ollin”…and in the process  the institute will find its. — Founder, Trish Blain

Excerpt from Aspire: Discovering your Purpose through the Power of Words by Kevin Hall

“When an earthquake or great storm shook the earth, the ancient Aztecs described such power with a single word:


It is a word that can be found on the Aztec calendar and on many of the instruments used in sacred pre-Columbian ceremonies. Pronounced ALL-in, it ‘s an expression of immense depth that conveys intense and immediate movement. Stemming from the ancient Nahuatl language, Ollin is derived from “yollotl,” meaning heart, and “yolistli,” meaning life. Ollin means to move and act now with all your heart. It means to follow your path in life wholeheartedly. To experience Ollin we have to get “All-in”.

When an earthquake occurs, it signals it’s now time to move and act with full purpose of heart.

The Aztecs envisioned wearing your heart on your face to allow your eyes to open and see more clearly. When we view our path with clarity, we move with accelerated purpose and intent. We go forward with a full and committed heart. The Aztecs called it an Ollin heart. They believed that everyone had a sacred path that led to their life’s purpose. It was up to each individual to discover what they needed to do in their life and then give it their all. They believed that if everyone could find their purpose, the thing that made their hearts beat fast, the entire society could find its Ollin. It was not just an individual endeavor. It was a communal endeavor.”

“The words “Ollin” and “passion” are two sides of the same coin. They are companions, inexorably intertwined. Together, they produce enormous results. When we decide what it is we are willing to suffer for, and what we are equally willing to act on, the world opens up.” – Kevin Hall “Aspire”