So I just finished watching Eat Pray Love, the movie adapted from the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. It finally came out on Netflix! I cried and laughed and loved and felt loved all within the 2 hour and 20 minutes space of the movie and now I feel compelled to write. That’s how it works for me, I suppose; something causes me to drop into my heart and I want to write….need to write. Maybe it’s because she is a writer and I’ve read the book, but I doubt it. I think it’s more just because I’m a writer.
I forget that occasionally. I get busy with life and forget that about myself. That writing is one of the things I want to do most; that I feel like I was born to do. Writing makes me feel like I’m contributing to the world.
There are seven things in life that really make my heart sing, that which you might call my passions: 1) writing, duh!; 2) reading, I read lots of different types of books, but find that always having a good fiction book going helps me feel more balanced; 3) playing pool, I actually aspire to go pro; 4) riding (and working on, we call that “wrenching”, motorcycles), I’m fond of the long-distance brand of motorcycle therapy; 5) studying, learning and speaking Spanish; 6) photography; and 7) travel, it’s no accident that I can do all of these things while traveling! I like and enjoy lots of other things, but none more than these seven; these rise far and above all other possible activities.
I go through spurts and dry spells with all of them. Currently, I’ve been indulging my love for the game of pool one night a week. Yes, I know a girl that wants to go pro has to play a helleva lot more than one night a week and, quite frankly, I’m kinda tired of hearing it. Has anyone ever said out loud that it’s really a whipping to be constantly reminded of your potential by others? Don’t do that! It creates barriers. I know why we do it. We do that to those we love precisely because we love them, and it makes us happy to think about them fulfilling their greatest potential. But what if we focused on tending to the fulfillment of our own potential, instead? Then we wouldn’t have to focus on someone else’s as a distraction for our own. We inspire people to seek and indulge their greatest potential by supporting them; allowing them time and space; by loving them as they are, not as we want them to be; and certainly not by minding their business and painting their picture for them or by telling them what they already know.
See, here’s the thing about passions. They are things we feel deeply about and that satisfy a place in our souls for which nothing else will suffice. By definition, they are soul work. I can work out the messiness of my life on a pool table in the same way I can by writing or riding my motorcycle. I get perspective. I have aha’s! Life is one big analogy, but we can’t digest and relate to “one big analogy”. So we have passions. Passions help us relate and see our world and our problems through a different lens; they give us perspective.
When I’ve made a mess on the pool table because I didn’t play good shape, I’ve got to play it like it lies. And when I stretch myself to formulate a plan to approach a “low probability of success” situation (of my own making), I get reminded that the point was not so much about the success or failure of the immediate next shot as it is about the strategy of the entire game. Life is one big game and our passions give us bite-size games as altars upon which we can learn our life’s lessons….if we’re paying attention.