Looking out the window at all the concrete here I’ve begun thinking about the next step in my life. Passion came to mind. What is my passion? By nature, by definition, I should know. Right?
All the books. All the experts. They all say to find your passion.
What does passion mean?
The definition says it is a strong, powerful, compelling emotion. Desire or fondness towards someone or something. Lust.
What does that mean?
I mean, I understand what the words mean, how they work in context with each other, how they jump off the page and infiltrate my skull and bounce around the mysterious inner workings, looking for connections to make sense. I know what passion means.
I don’t know what passion is.
Recently, I discovered the curiously compelling world of Criminal Minds. I’ve always appreciated an interest in abnormal psychology and the show illustrates that to great effect. I found the writing quite good and the characters engaging. Traits are doled out slowly and begin to reveal motivations for doing what they do. In essence, there was something during their childhood that drove them towards their occupation as FBI profilers.
Something makes them tick. I don’t want to delve into any more details because I don’t want to ruin the show. It’s a great example of character driven crime drama.
Then I read a book; the main character has clear passion. Her motivation is a defined and monumental moment from childhood. Another television series comes up. Passion defined. Passion everywhere.
Passion began to look like obsession, even addiction. It sure is a fine line, to be sure. Passion has a healthy connotation full of positive encounters and productive enterprises. Obsession and addiction, on the other hand, lead down a pit full of sharp spikes.
So I started searching my childhood for that one thing, that special motivation that changed my life and pushed me toward and inevitable conclusion. Passion.
Nothing. There is no defining moment in my life. No motivation to push me towards that clear goal.
Then it made sense.
I’m an alcoholic. I have addiction. That’s passion. The problem is that I’ve been sober for close to nine years now. Those nine years have been spent controlling my passion, staying away from it at all costs, acting paranoid because it could creep around any corner without warning. I’ve been living in fear since that decisive, chilly day in April.
Consciously, I want to redirect that negative passion into positive, productive endeavors. But perhaps there is a part of me that fears the power of passion. Because it is powerful. Releasing myself to it could lead to another detrimental experience; a deeper, darker hole that I might not be able to crawl out of.
I must admit, sharing this is very difficult. I’m not looking for empathy, pity, or sadness. I made my decision and I’m sticking to it. I’m just exploring a concept that has become central to our modern time and how it relates to me. Finding passion is the new American Dream. It permeates every aspect of our culture from popular entertainment to education to religion. Passion is everywhere and has become a homogenous entity expected as a recognized privilege. Well, not a privilege, an entitlement. We deserve to find our passion.
Be careful what you wish for.
As I near the end of my blathering tirade, George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You” came up on my random playlist. The outlook looks bleak, but it isn’t all bad.
The very nature of passion makes it uncontrollable, but if we can manage to redirect that thing, convince it, if you will, to find positive and productive endeavors to focus on, we will be able to walk out of that pit with our heads looking ahead and all around. To finally seize life rather than be manipulated by it.
Is it true passion?
I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s all I have.
“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell