by David Ward
Passion is usually associated with unbounded enthusiasm either about someone or something.
Wikipedia is quite rightly more expansive than me stating: ‘Passion can range from eager interest in or admiration for an idea, proposal, or cause; to enthusiastic enjoyment of an interest or activity; to strong attraction, excitement, or emotion towards a person.’
At Easter time and for Christians, passion is about suffering, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is quite a strong contrast and one for reflection.
When we strive for and live our passion, we break the shackles and so unlock our happiness and those of others. Through this happiness we find peace and live a meaningful, happy, life.
In these opening definitions there appears to be a balancing act between suffering and achieving. It is about attaining something for someone. At Easter time we are reminded that sacrifice is not about now but in fact about tomorrow. In the words of Elton John in his famous song ‘Sacrifice’, it is sacrifice, ‘no sacrifice at all’.
In my opinion, passion is especially about demonstrating, the unbounding love for someone, no matter what the circumstances. In other words, I focus on the ‘someone’ rather than the ‘something’. So, this passion propels us to persevere because we know that there is a purpose, an arrival that is worth striving for and cultivating, for the benefit of those involved and impacted. The more we do this for the people (and, incidentally, not just for the people we love) the more happiness we generate. Moreover, we know that passion and love walk hand-in-hand and equally we know that both are key for happiness in our lives.
As you read these words you may be struggling to find that this is true in your life but underneath you equally know that your faith will pull you through even though you are not 100% sure. It is a bit like saying ‘the only thing that is certain is uncertainty’. You need to strive for happiness and persevere, not like an obsession but a passion. That is why if we say ‘One day, I will find true happiness’ has two implications: 1. That day could be today! and 2. True implies truthfulness and endeavor.
Equally important is understanding, as early as possible in our lives, that we have a passion for ‘something’, so not just a person. This something could be a hobby, another role or job in your life or a life-long desire to realize a project.
The ‘project’ can mean many things and take many forms of course but it is our passion towards it that makes the difference. Key to the realization of this passion-project is the exploitation of our talents especially for the benefit of someone. This means that this ‘something’ is in actually fact about someone. It can be seen in two ways. The first way is about realizing the ‘something’ for someone else. In Rick Warren’s book ‘The Purpose Driven life’ he starts by saying ‘It’s not about you’: how very true. In other words, by realizing and putting into practice your talents for the benefit of others you both self-actualize and give your passion to others, for their happiness and just yours.
The second way is to realize ‘your’ project and see it as a ‘something’. In this sense your talents are being exploited to achieve a goal and through it, gain self-satisfaction. If this journey is meaningful, truthful and creates happiness for you, then so be it. My only comment is to be aware that it doesn’t come at a cost for others and generates unhappiness for them (and inevitably also you). So, there is a balancing act in making sure that your passion doesn’t generate unhappiness and, in my opinion, the advice is ‘to do’ for the benefit of others.
On a closing note, perhaps the saying of the day for April 2nd in the April happiness calendar is a good starting point as spring leaps into action and that is ‘listen to your body and be grateful for what you can do’. I’ll add ask your soul what makes you happy and how can you do the same for others through your passion. It doesn’t matter if it is for someone or something because in the end, these two roads should come together, especially when the passion is truthful.