Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's Explore Together: Passion

I do a lot of teaching at writers' conferences and leading retreats, that kind of thing. One of the workshops I've been doing for a number of years is a joint exploration on something that I've been thinking a lot about lately: passion. Not necessarily the romance kind of passion, though that's always nice to think about. Especially when you've got a hubby you think is pretty wonderful. (Which I do...Love you, Don! ) Mostly what I've been thinking about is deep-in-the-core passion. Life passion. The kind of passion that drives you; gets you out of bed in the morning; gives the good, bad, and even ugly of life meaning.

And though I've taught this workshop on passion a number of times--most recently at the Pacific Bible College One-Day conference in Medford, Oregon--I've learned that it's never the same. Because passion is alive and active, it's different things to different people, and sometimes it even changes. But through all, it's deep within us. It's a part of the fabric of who we are.

So since we're heading toward Valentine's Day, I thought I'd see if you wanted to go on an exploration with me. To discover passion.

Real passion.

Ruling passion.

Life passion.

First, we'll explore what it is. And what YOURS is. Then we'll figure out what hinders passion, and what nurtures it. Sound good? Okay.

The more I've pondered the whole idea of passion, the more one question kept rolling around in my brain: What exactly is it? So I went to a source I love to explore, one where I can get lost in the pages (which shows one of my passions is definitely words): Webster's. Here's what my dear ol' dictionary had to say about passion:

a (1): emotion passion is greed> (2)plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason b: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c: an outbreak of anger5 a: ardent affection : love b: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c: sexual desire d: an object of desire or deep interest

Hmmm...intense, driving, overmastering...ardent...strong...devotion...deep desire or interest.

Okay, that rings true. But what do others have to say about passion?

German poet and dramatist, Hebbel, once said:
"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion."

Joss Whedon, a man who understands witty, passionate writing, said: “Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping... Waiting... And though unwanted... Unbidden... It will stir... Open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... Guides us... Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... The clarity of hatred... And the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we'd know some kind of peace... But we would be hollow... Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we'd be truly dead.”

Wow. I like that. A lot.

So how about you? What do you think passion is? And what do you think YOUR passion might be?

Can't wait to read your thoughts!

Peace, friends.



Eileen said...

Guides us... Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have?

Well,then.... writing is my passion. I drop it, I kick it, I scream at it, and return. Rejections hurt, but what other choice do I have? Chocolate?

Dineen A. Miller said...

Joss Whedon is a genius! He writes the best dialogue.

Hmmm, passion? Well, first I would say the best example of this kind of passion in my life is my love for God and my pursuit of Him. He's the catalyst to just about everything else I pursue. Perhaps that links it to love as well. That which we love most, we pursue. And we don't let go.

Lori Benton said...

Passion is like a cockroach. You just can't stamp it flat. Even if sometimes you wish you could.

Kathleen Popa said...

"Open its jaws and howl." Wow. Cool.

I know I'm passionate about something when I return to it again and again, even when it's painful, simply because I care so much. Gee, that sounds disfunctional, doesn't it? Well, so be it. I feel compelled, and I take that as guidance.

Loved your talk in Medford, by the way.

Karen B. said...

Thanks, Kathleen. It was great to have you there.

Lori, you have SUCH a way with imagery! Ewwww! But boy howdy, SO accurate.

Dineen, beautifully put.

Eileen, how about passion AND chocolate? Now that's heaven!

Courtney Walsh said...

Oooh, another Joss Whedon fan here...

I think I would've used to say writing is my passion, but now I think it's a little more than that... I think it's just creativity in general. I think it morphs into different forms for me every day. Each day is different. Sometimes it's art, sometimes photography, most days writing... and always at the core of that is a desire to make Jesus look good.

This is my passion, but somedays, all I want is a nap.

Anonymous said...

i think about passion sometimes and wonder if God gave me any! i have interests, but sometimes they come and go. i WISH i had a passion that drove me to get out of bed and do something every day! i've prayed for it. Now i'm just waiting for God's answer. :-)

Jennifer Lyn King said...

Passion-- great conversation to open up, Karen. Oh-- and before I forget, I love the pic of you and your husband. Passion, I think, is different than interests ... I have so many interests and pieces of life I love. But Passion, for me, is where I lose all sense of time. That timelessness creeps in when I'm doing something that is in my heartbeat, my blood. Passions make me do crazy things, like stand out at sunrise and photograph something I see as beautiful, or type letters onto a computer screen for years without pay, or stay up all night with a feverish child. Or, of course, qualify chocolate as one of the major food groups. :) So glad to have Passion, though. Without it, life feels bleak.

Rachel Hauck said...

Passion is that thing that makes you get up in the morning.

The drive that leads me to the gym even when you don't want to go.

The engine in my soul that enables me to sit in a desk chair for 15 hours so I can finish a book and meet my deadline.

Passion is what makes me realize when I'm falling short of what and who I want to be.

Passion is the voice that makes me want to tell others about Jesus. He is love. He is good. He is kind.

Passion is what keeps me in love with my husband. Not the Hollywood kind, but the kind that wants to see my 30th, 40th and 50th wedding anniversary and spend my life with my best friend. Passion to show the world that love endures.

I think most of us struggle with our passion though. Some passions can be unhealthy, maybe more like obsessions.

But it's good if we can find or identify one passion and go for it. :)

Great post, Karen. Thanks for challenging us to think about passion!


Nicole said...

Passion: the breath of life.

The sacrifice to do it even when it hurts.

The "if I don't have it, what I do won't matter".

The intensity which moves me onward.

The saturation of being absorbed into my Savior.

Apart from Him, I can do nothing . . . the very pursuit of who I am belongs to Him. How could I live without Passion?

angela said...

I'm passionate about writing, but I've been wondering lately if I'm called. I heard one writer say that not all writers are called to writing. If you're called to write then you don't have a choice--you have to write. If you're not called, then writing is more of an offering to God. This morning I was trying to figure out if I'm called or not. That's when I realized...I'm not called to write, but I'm called to encourage new writers.

Wow. I immediately emailed the ACFW officer who asked me to be Area Coordinator and accepted. I'm already feeling passionate about this calling. It's going to be a stretch for me, but I was created for this. Funny thing, the last verse I read in my Bible today was about offerings and sacrifices. My writing is going to be my offering. My encouragement of others is going to be my sacrifice.

angela said...

I want to add that I think Rachel Hauck (above) should start a Bible study on spin bikes. That sounds like something she would have a lot of passion for.

Rel said...

Passion is a hard thing to work out at times, especially for those of us who are not as expressive as others :)

What I do know is that I must be passionate about reading/reviewing and supporting Christian authors because of the time and energy I spend reviewing and blogging and the joy when an author or reader writes a note of encouragement.