Passion Where Art Thou?

Red flower (photo: Smith and Riegel)

Where has passion gone? Unfortunately, the misconceptions surrounding passion have relegated it to one of the “deadly emotions.” It’s not surprising considering the definition: emotions as distinguished from reason: intense, driving or overmastering feeling or conviction. We all want to be civilized, well-balanced and rational beings. So we try to steer clear of those ungainly emotions that drag us into undesirable territory.

Instead, we position ourselves from the neck upwards where the ego runs the show. Even though intellectual passion is allowed to creep in, it’s carefully regulated because the ego cannot bear to be diminished. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, is highly commended. We like people who are enthusiastic. Although it can be contagious, it’s safe and can be contained, unlike passion, which Kahlil Gibran described as “… a flame that burns to its own destruction.”

Set aside the dictionary definition and pre-conceived beliefs to consider the other face of passion, because passion lies at the core of all great works. There can be no doubt that Chopin’s concertos or Mozart’s operas arose from a well of passion. Likewise, passion is splashed all over the canvases of Monet and Picasso. Have you ever watched a splendid tango or flamenco performance void of passion? As Martha Graham said, “Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.” To create anything truly magnificent requires going far beyond the intellect.

Mother Nature orchestrates a symphony of passion for us every day. Sunsets, sunrises, flowers, waterfalls, volcanoes burst forth with drama and vibrancy. Seeds don’t push through the soil without an announcement! Have you ever stared into the face of a passionflower? The seeds of passion lie within us, so let your mind off duty and bring forth the watering can. Your spirit awaits a chance to ignite a fire to fill the hollow spaces with dreams and what truly matters to you. However, take heed of the proverb, “Our passions are the winds that propel our vessel. Our reason is the pilot that steers her. Without winds the vessel would not move and without a pilot she would be lost.”

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