We all need a good passion in our lives. I don’t mean sexual passion, although that’s fun, too. I refer to those activities, objects and relationships that make us want to jump out of bed and seize the day. Or if you’re like me, to at least shove the covers back and stagger to the nearest source of caffeine without as much whining.
One of the greatest encouragements I ever heard for giving in to passion came from a sermon. The priest said that those things that make our heart sing are what God means us to enjoy. Whatever you believe (or don’t) about God, we human beings are not meant to slog through life with a mental chorus of ‘should do’ and ‘ought to’ making us miserable. Among the obligations to do things for others, we also have the gift of intense attraction to certain activities or objects. These are our passions, and they deserve exploration.
What makes your heart sing? Old houses? New houses? Gardening? Hiking? Movies? Dinner with family? Gaming with friends? I get excited by writing, ballet, period movies, roses, sitting under a shade tree on a hot day. There’s more, but hopefully you get the idea.
Note that I said “good passion” in the first line. Those feed our souls. People who are drawn to activities or behavior that hurt themselves or others need to explore their passions as well, but under the guidance of a professional who can help them heal or master their urges.
Granted, any unmastered passion causes problems. It’s a matter of balance. If you indulge in your love of restoring hardwood floors 24/7, you’re going to alienate the people around you who don’t share that particular passion, and you’ll neglect practical matters like washing the sawdust out of your clothes and eating right. Much as I love writing, at some point I have to turn off the computer or put the pen down.
Souls are smart. Once you discover a way to do things you love on a regular basis, your soul knows it will have another chance to sing. The trick is finding or making the time to feed it in the first place, and then keeping that commitment to yourself. Have you always wanted to learn to dance? Maybe there’s a beginner’s class out there somewhere if you can set aside the time and money, although I’d be careful and ask to observe the class first. The director of our family dance studio believes that dance benefits anyone of any age and sets up ‘adult beginner’ classes so no one is intimidated. It is better to forgo classes if the atmosphere does not nurture you.
If you explore your passions, you might find an activity that brings you so much joy it gets you through the work week. You might even end up with a new job that gives you a sense of purpose and wonder. Either way, a good passion brings out the best in you.
If I had not explored my fascination for telling stories, I would not be published. How many of you have discovered things, big or small, that make your heart do a happy dance? What have you always wanted to try?