Posted on Dec 28, 2014 | 7 comments
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” – Vincent Van Gogh
I have friends, many friends to be precise, who annually choose a word to use as a touchstone or a reminder of how they want to live for the year. Over the years, I’ve marveled at the wonderful words they’ve chosen to guide their lives. I love the simplicity and beauty of having just one word to keep in check and stay on track.
For the past several years, as the year’s end approaches, I’ve watched as one friend and then another announces their annual word. I too have searched for the perfect word to guide my year. Instead, I struggle and in the end am unable to come up with single word for myself.
So while my friends sashayed into each new years with words like “curiosity” and “freedom” and “purpose” and “wonder” and “fierce” attached to them, I trudged along behind them wordless.
It was disheartening to say the least.
A couple of months ago, I was docenting a group of high school students through the art at the High Museum. They were researching a writing project for school and the information I provided would figure into the final assignment. Concerned that I had covered the topic adaquately, I checked with one of the teachers to make sure I had hit all the required points. She reassured me that I had and then added, “I really enjoyed your tour today. You’re so passionate about art.”
I appreciated the compliment, and I really loved that she recognized how much I love sharing art with people. It’s true. I am passionate about art.
Over the next several weeks this word “passion” kept coming up. A friend comment on my “passion” regarding a topic we were discussing. An acquaintance noted my “passion” on a particular subject. People began to say things to me like, “wow, you’re really passionate about that” or “I love your passion.” I found the frequency the word was being attached to me…curious.
I ruminated on the word “passion” for a bit. I turned it over in my mind many times. Finally, I came to this conclusion.
I like feeling excited about the people and things which I surround myself. I want to have an “intense desire and enthusiasm” for my life. When I love open heartedly, when I live my life with intensity, when I throw myself body, mind, and soul into what I’m doing, I find it exhilarating even though this level of intensity can be more than a little intimidating.
I placed the “word” on the back burner because “passion” is kind of a big “word” and I’m not one of those people who has a “word,” and I began making plans for 2015. Without giving it any thought, as I contemplated the projects I would take on this upcoming year, I found myself asking the following questions:
Am I truly, deeply passionate about this?
I had to consider that in spite of my resistance (or because of it) that maybe, just maybe “passion” is a good word for me to use as a touchstone or a reminder of how I want to live in 2015. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided “passion” it is and I immediately felt apprehensive and excited and nervous and more than a little scared.
Then I realized that this is just as it should be. If your touchstone, if your reminder for how you live is with “passion” then being apprehensive and excited and nervous and more than a little scared is probably about right. In any event, it defintly beats bored.