May 23, 2014
Some artists who might read this, especially the more highly evolved ones, are going to say, "I don't
need to find passion, I've already found it." Fair enough. Here are a few ideas for those who may have misplaced it.
Dr. Susan Biali, 37, a medical doctor as encouraged by her parents, has written a book on passion
and how she found her true calling.
Right now she's negotiating a TV program about the process. Susan says passion means getting at the very core of who you are and what you want to do. Since childhood she had longed to be a dancer. One morning she arrived home exhausted from a particularly stressful night shift in the emergency ward. Desperate, she turned around, slammed the door, flew to Cuba and took up Flamenco.
Susan is now a professional dancer.
The word passion comes from the Latin patior, meaning to suffer or to endure. These days, losing its uncomfortable roots, passion is a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion toward a subject, idea, person or object. Here's how to get it:
Revisit and repossess your core dreams and fantasies.
Consider your dreams to be private, unique and sacred.
Get help from and watch the actions of the already passionate.
Indulge, honour and live in your own imagination.
Don't talk about it, do it.
See your passion manifested into action or production.
Edmund Burke, the great philosopher and definer of emotions and passions, wrote in 1780, "There's a boundary to passions when we act from feelings, but none when we are under the influence of imagination."
When you serve your passions, proficiency gradually takes over and becomes habitual. "Permission" becomes entrenched with even more focus and those giddy feelings of success. It's like love--when you're in it you hardly know where you are, but all is well.
PS: "Figure out what you're passionate about. If you're not passionate about something, go find it. We do not need more unengaged boring people to inhabit this planet." (Ben Heppner)
Esoterica: Reflection, quietude and self-containment build passion like a kettle coming to the boil. Heated, nothing is too much trouble. As excitement really bubbles up, your face becomes flushed and you have an increase in temperature. In a quiet studio, at the altar of your easel, the condition of your armpits is a good indicator. "Be still when you have nothing to say," said D. H. Lawrence, "but when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot."
This letter was originally published as "How to find passion" on January 2, 2009.