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The root of passion

March 22, 2013

Dear Artist,

Yesterday, Dick Quis, co-author of Thinking Anew , wrote, "In the middle of my book-marketing campaign, your recent question, 'What is passion,' stuck in my head. What is it?"

Thanks, Dick. If all the creativity coaches put their heads together to try to figure out the main question they get asked, that would be it. If there was an easy answer they'd all be millionaires, and so would their clients. For those who don't have passion, it's a mystery. Those who have it wonder why everybody else doesn't. Here are a few thoughts:

S.J. Darcus, Naramata, B.C., 1954. He had an annoying habit. When he talked about eggs and nests, which he did pretty well all the time, his mouth would foam up. He was difficult to look at.
S.J. Darcus, Naramata, B.C., 1954. He had an annoying habit. When he talked about eggs and nests, which he did pretty well all the time, his mouth would foam up. He was difficult to look at.
Passion happens. Travelling to the Interior of B.C. when we were 18, my fellow birder Fen Lansdowne and I dropped in on S.J. Darcus, at that time the best known oologist (egg collector) in Canada. S.J., a spry old guy with a winning smile, lived alone in a ramshackle house in the middle of a potato patch. The house was chockablock with nests and eggs--in display cases, on shelves, in boxes. Two nests were in the kitchen sink. "Getting cleaned," he said. His most recent acquisition, a nest and four eggs from a Cactus wren, rare in the area, was on a doily on top of his piled-high dining-room table. "The forty thousand eggs in this house," he said, winking, "were all personally stolen."

That night on the veranda, we dined on potatoes. "No butter," said Darcus. "Can't afford butter. All my cash goes into the tank." He pointed to an old Ford truck that was leaning against the house. At breakfast the following morning (potato porridge and potato pancakes), Fen asked him how he got started in bird's eggs. "I was always a birder," said Darcus, "but when I was eleven I stepped on an egg and broke it. Since then I've been atoning for my sin. I blow them out pretty carefully, you know."

"In eggs," said Darcus, "I'm a millionaire."

Back on the road, Fen and I decided that passion came from some sort of childhood trauma. Some people had a trauma, others didn't. In the intervening years, I've had little inclination to change my opinion. When S.J. Darcus died a few years later, his eggs were distributed to several of the top museums. There was no finer clutch.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: Woody Allen: "I'm a little worried about my brother; he thinks he's a chicken."

Counselor: "Have you thought about getting him some help?"

Woody Allen: "I've considered that, but we need the eggs."

Esoterica: How do you get passion if you don't have it? With our often contrarian natures, actively stalking the Goddess of Passion can actually put her to flight. Some well-motivated folks are able to trump up a trauma, or at least magnify a glitch. A few have discovered a simple secret that is so valuable I'd appreciate if you didn't mention it to anyone else: When you really dig right into something, you're just liable to fall in love. You need to squeeze the paint, write the essay, build the shed, make some mistakes, break some eggs.





Born this way
by Julie Eliason, Royal Oak, MI, USA


I've been passionate as far back as I can remember. Maybe it's because I'm bipolar or because I had Fertile Chaos<br>acrylic painting by Julie Eliason Fertile Chaos
acrylic painting
lots of childhood trauma going all the way back to birth and infancy. I used regression therapy to heal from the trauma and medication to handle my chemical imbalance. I'm still passionate about life and usually some project that I'm focused on. Right now, I'm teaching an art class in my home studio and I'm getting into portraiture after painting intuitive abstracts for the last 40 years.

I am suspicious that I would be passionate even if I hadn't had trauma. I seem to have been born this way.



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You know it when you've got it
by Bill Hogue, Dallas, TX, USA


Your letter on passion reminded me of one of my childhood friends, David. We spent a lot of time Untitled<br>original painting by Bill Hogue Untitled
original painting
together. His passion was hunting and fishing. He later became the sheriff of my home town and continued with his passion until he retired and he is still hunting and fishing. I spent hours in the woods with my rifle looking for squirrels and never seeing one until I got back to town. Had I been with David and was spinning a noise maker behind him, he would have still bagged a half dozen squirrels. But that was his passion and he was "of the woods," while I was merely in the woods.

David and I both knew what our passions were before we were in our teens; mine was art and travel and it has never changed. I've learned over the years that you sometimes have to make difficult decisions to hang on to those passions, but in the long run it's worth it. I've traveled around the world twice and visited 78 countries and in most of them I went to their art museums and fairs. Since the '70s I've been to the Louvre between 7 and 10 times plus many other fine museums.

If you have a passion, you know it.



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The art of saying 'Yes'
by Richard Griffin, Wilton, NH, USA


At its root, passion is saying "yes" to an opportunity that life presents you. "Yes!" as Darcus did to birds' eggs, "yes" to breaking out the watercolors, "yes" to the emotions that invite you to extreme behavior (whether of love or anger), and even "yes" to your rejection of a situation ("Under no circumstances will I ask your brother and sister-in-law to vacation with us"). We often cannot generate passion directly, but we can practice saying "yes" through our various practices and disciplines. Yes, I will get up and paint today, regardless of how I feel about it. Yes, I will spend time in my shop, even if it's only to sweep up the sawdust. Over the long term, the accumulation of our yes's develops into passion – which makes saying further yes's easier.

FWIW, I find that meditation, assenting to whatever comes up, is terrific general practice at saying "yes." Meditation has allowed me to experience more passion in many areas of my life.



There are 2 comments for The art of saying 'Yes' by Richard Griffin

From: Elizabeth -- Mar 26, 2013

I think this is amazingly true. Especially when that saying 'Yes' might not be in line with what is expected. I said yes to my writing, yes to taking time off my job to find out what it held, yes to writing even when I went back to work. Not a lot of people understood that 'yes' when it didn't make sense to them yet it made sense to me...there was nothing else to do. I don't ever regret that decision one bit even when I was doing the whole starving artist thing :-).

From: Jeremy R. C. -- Mar 26, 2013

Extreme behaviour of anger can lead into crime of passion - it's better to say "no" to it.


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Hard wired to create
by Dorothy Siclare, Millington, NJ, USA


Thinking about passion and remembering myself as a child with pencil on paper... I would copy faces Morning light<br>pencil drawing by Dorothy Siclare Morning light
pencil drawing
from the TV guide. As the likeness was revealed with each stroke of lead onto paper my heart would pound more and more and a feeling of euphoria would come over me. I think I was hard wired with the desire to create... drawing, sculpting, and painting. I still get that feeling of excitement when I have completed a successful piece of art.



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Spuds to remember
by Eve Stickland, London, ON, Canada


My husband was a young officer in the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) at the time stationed in Windsor, Ice Sculptures<br>original painting by Eve Stickland Ice Sculptures
original painting
Ontario. One weekend he invited me down to share his small apartment. While there, I happened to have the good fortune to meet the little old custodian, who was busy cooking his lunch in his home in the stairwell of the building. His material possessions were few, and his lunch was a sliced potato he was frying in a small pan over a hot plate. As he looked up he smiled at me & invited me to share his tasty meal. I will never forget his kind invitation! To me it was a precious gift. A gift from the heart. The best gift of all. Every time I have potatoes, I think of Nick, with his sweet smile and kind face. Knowing him enriched my life.



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Art passion saved her life
by Terrie Christian, Plymouth, MN, USA


Your conclusion that passion comes from trauma may be right. It certainly is true for me. The same Many moons<br>watercolour painting by Terrie Christian Many moons
watercolour painting
year that I began some intense trauma healing with therapy, I also started art school to give myself some happiness. Most endeavors are done with passion, and if I don't have the passion for something I choose a new direction. Doing art has been a very important part of saving my life. Many have told me I should sell, but it is not about that. It is about keeping myself happy and making it a business would ruin that for me. I create for me, and sharing it with others is a wonderful side effect. Art has brought me so many wonderful friends!



There is 1 comment for Art passion saved her life by Terrie Christian

From: Diane Overmyer -- Mar 26, 2013

Glad to read how art has helped you so much in your life. One of the most moving art exhibits I have ever seen was in the gallery at Indiana University when I first began studying there. It was a series of progressive pieces done by 4 or 5 individuals who been involved with art theropy to get through some type of trama. I could actually see the art change as the healing took place in people's lives. I hope art will continue to play a major role in your happiness and well being also!


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A mysterious equation
by Antoinette Ledzian, Stonington, CT, USA


I couldn't wait to hear your feelings on passion... since to me you are one of the most passionate Untitled<br>collage by Antoinette Ledzian Untitled
collage
people I've ever come across. I believe a large number of artists have a built-in passion for life and creation. And I also strongly support the theory that early trauma, combined with artistic tendencies is part of the mysterious equation which fosters passion. Want to write another book! Thanks for all you so passionately share!

Just hope I don't have nightmares about your old friend who felt the uncontrollable desire to rob bird's nests, especially the "rare" Cactus wrens! OK, so he did distribute them to museums… Somehow there's always good justification behind our passions!



There is 1 comment for A mysterious equation by Antoinette Ledzian

From: Tatjana -- Mar 26, 2013

Good point. There is lot of controversy around mining of cobalt which we so mindlessly squeeze every day.


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Disturbing story
by Roslyn Dyson, Cumbria, United Kingdom


I'm somewhat disturbed by the story of S.J. Darcus and his egg collecting. To me, this 'passion' for egg collecting seems rather thoughtless. I note you call the Cactus wren a rare bird. Did Darcus question whether or not he should have taken the nest and all the eggs? I do not consider collecting, in his own words 'stealing' eggs and nests, to be 'making up for having trodden on an egg when he was a child.' Are there redeeming features to this story - or is it just a passion for collecting stuff?

(RG note) Thanks, Roslyn, and others who wrote along these lines. The hobby of collecting birds' eggs was already in decline in the mid fifties when I knew Darcus. In those days the words 'endangered species' were seldom heard. We knew of rare birds but did not always realize that it was mankind who was largely responsible. Hard to believe nowadays that John James Audubon (see below) shot the birds he needed to paint. He was one of the last to see the Passenger Pigeon before it became extinct. Nowadays I know of no oologists. Curiously, the old egg collections now in museums are of great value in the comparing of current shell thicknesses. DDT and other more modern pesticides are responsible for thinner shells and less healthy chicks in some species.



There is 1 comment for Disturbing story by Roslyn Dyson

From: Angela Treat Lyon -- Mar 26, 2013

Passenger Pigeon? Or Messenger...?


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Audubon's passion
by Kathy Pigg, Bridgewater, VA, USA


This post and the bird/ egg connection came a couple days after I heard a program from Through a glass darkly...<br>digital painting by Kathy Pigg Through a glass darkly...
digital painting
This link . Audubon had a level of passion I did not know about. And I had never seen an original watercolor, which after I heard about all the variety of materials and techniques he used, I understood the character of passion. The link shows an egret and lists the materials. Passion I think came out of the character of his efforts in some mysterious way. Passion without a larger understanding of one's purpose or place in the human sphere can be dangerous. Audubon gave us works of great beauty as faithful to his purpose as he could get. I hope to see an original one day. I hear they sparkle.



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Carol Nelson workshops Held in New Orleans, LA, USA.  <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>The Workshop Calendar</a> provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>here</a>.
Carol Nelson workshops
Held in New Orleans, LA, USA.

The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look here.



World of Art Featured artist Kim Carlton, TX, USA



You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Marilen Petersen of CA, USA, who wrote, "You could sum it up as: Dig in and discover. Passion comes from discovery, which comes from continuous, relentless, deep observation."

And also Reta Sweeney of N. Cape May, NJ, USA, who wrote, "You can teach someone how to draw or how to paint, but you can't teach them to have the passion."


If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this material please feel free to forward it. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by reading our Welcome Letter.



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The root of passion...

From: Ted -- Mar 22, 2013

You can't get passion. You have or you don't. It is a state, of course if you can have too much passion and then you'd need help.

From: Tom Henderson Smith -- Mar 22, 2013

Dear Robert,
I particularly like your penultimate sentence, that: "When you really dig right into something, you're just liable to fall in love." Feeling passionate as an artist is for me the fruit of persistence. This has been true of landscape painting especially for me over recent years . Visiting and re-visiting familiar places through different seasons and times of day and approaching each from a variety of directions, viewing juxtaposed forms in a new way each time - these are essential to how I study the coastal landscape of Cornwall in the UK. I've certainly fallen head over heels in love with this area after more than thirty years here. I'm passionate about it and that makes me yearn to paint it again and again.
Thanks for all your enjoyable letters,
Tom.

From: Nancy Darling -- Mar 22, 2013

This post made me go back and realize where my passion for animal welfare comes from. As a young child, probably about 8 yrs old we were staying at a small beach motel in Baja CA (when it was still barely known) and my parents bought a live lobster from a beach vendor. When they put it in the boiling pot to cook it, it screamed. That changed everything for me.

From: Sandra Taylor Hedges -- Mar 22, 2013

Passion is doing something you enjoy, whenever possible even if it's for no money or reward of any kind!

From: ReneW -- Mar 22, 2013

Passion is an inner fire. It is a burning desire to pursue your art. It is an inner drive that makes you get up in the morning and go straight to your studio to work. It is almost akin to an obsession. You love what you do more than anything else in the world.

From: gail harper -- Mar 22, 2013

For me it was my own WONDER as a very small child that I could get SO caught up in drawing and other people thought to ask me to draw for them. Its probably why I am also passionate to encourage children who attend my studio

From: Kimberly in Dallas -- Mar 22, 2013

You have outdone yourself this time, Robert. I smiled all the way through and your enchanting description was like a video as I looked around SJ's humble home. Woody Allen's brother was the PERFECT ENDING chuckle. I think I will smile all day today, just thinking about that wonderful story of true PASSION! My passion is DOGS and I hope to have time to paint a thousand of them because I LOVE their little personalities, and believe they should be elevated to a status ABOVE just PET - since they are so much more to so many people, and a God-send to me! Love your letters, Robert. You are so gifted in so many ways!!! THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts!

From: flamingo1288@verizon.net -- Mar 22, 2013

Yes, "step on eggs", and care that you did.

jeri

From: Anonymous -- Mar 22, 2013

When reading the story about Mr. Darcus, my reaction was 'all those poor birds who had their nests and eggs stolen'. I must be a bit crazy, but I felt real compassion for the birds.

From: Cindy Schnackel -- Mar 22, 2013

How is stealing eggs and whole nests from 40,000 birds, even some that were "rare in the area," any sort of atonement for accidentally stepping on eggs? IMO that's not passion at all, it's a rather sick obsession. Since he 'blew the eggs out' it is clear he was taking potentially viable eggs. From what I know of some countries' laws, destroying nests, eggs, of native birds can also be illegal, for good reason. I usually enjoy your posts but not this one!

From: Marvin Humphrey -- Mar 22, 2013

Passion for something can be both a blessing and a curse. All else takes a back seat. It is the spice of life, and excelling in the endeavor re-affirms your unique personhood.

From: Helder Schmidt -- Mar 22, 2013

You are definitely on to something here. My father was the "speed bump" in my life, and he drove me to go in another direction than he. I had to have passion in one way because he had it in another. Talk about contrarian. Now that he is gone I realize I trumped up the bump more than I should have, and I regret it, but I'm still passionate. Thanks for everything.

From: Paulette -- Mar 22, 2013

I thank you over and over for your interesting, informative writings. I love them, read them all and get such enjoyment out of them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart you make my life so much richer in every way.

From: Ranjini Devender -- Mar 22, 2013

I have been following Genn's letters from a long time I love this one. He hit the nail on its head this time. Yes I paint no matter what. I have not held a show or displayed any of my work in a long time but i just sit down and do it every day no matter what. I guess I have a passion for it. Love you Genn, please keep going.

From: Kathy Hill -- Mar 22, 2013

I've never responded to any of your newsletters before, but Passion is something that is of great interest to me. I feel that I have NO passion, especially the kind that involves other human beings. The only human emotion that I regularly experience is guilt. I do have sympathy for others, but not deep seated passion. When I tell people how I feel about myself they say "but you show so much passion in your paintings!" Actually I don't feel all that passionate but it is the only thing that comes close in that I have a great need to paint and get satisfaction and comfort from painting. I feel that I will never be a really great artist because I lack this passion. I never had any traumas growing up. My family is pretty non-affectionate. I can paint landscapes because I do have a love of nature. Not so good with portraits.

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki -- Mar 22, 2013

When I was a small kid, I was sometimes not allowed to go outside. I don’t remember why any more, maybe I didn’t eat my breakfast or maybe there wasn’t anyone to watch me. I remember with clarity the terrible longing to go outside in the sunshine and see and do all the wonderful things that were waiting there. Then I would be given a pen and paper and dive into my internal world and draw and draw. All our books had my drawings on all empty pages, illustrating a world of my own made up stories and games. I agree that the fire in the belly gets directed in childhood, but where does it originally come from? I knew people very close to me who would rather sit with a cigarette and coffee and daydream than do anything else.

From: Pam Mingo -- Mar 22, 2013

Your egg gathering gentleman has crossed over from passion into obsession. There is a line and I think not being able to afford butter was his.

From: Jean Wilson -- Mar 22, 2013

My passion was and continues to be the alphabet.
I know a lot of calligraphers who also developed a passion as soon as they learned the alphabet.
And few of them were traumatized by the alphabet.
We just like the activity of making letters and words.
Some of us are happy with just individual letters.

I'm sure others will speak up about passions that simply showed up in very pleasing ways.
And I am sure we will all agree that it is sad to see people who never discovered a passion.

From: John Koehler -- Mar 22, 2013

Passion is like watching a monkey with a coconut, he doesn't know what it is but he wants to look inside it, no matter what.

From: Becky Chinn -- Mar 22, 2013

I like the way you think. Passion is fuel for life.
My friend Kim Bright is the "Canadian Grannie defies Winter" she is passionate about laughter. Love seeing your paintings at Mayberry Fine Arts when we have a chance to visit in Winnipeg.

From: Robert McCormick -- Mar 22, 2013

I love this story about Mr. Darcus, and I'm glad you got to spend some time with him, too.

From: Louise Francke -- Mar 22, 2013

I too have often pondered why do we artists relentlessly pursue our muse for better or worse. With me, it started at a very early age. It was my escape hatch from family anger, illness, and deaths. When I drew pictures, I was in a happy world where I could dream and fantasize. Being a loner wasn't easy but I spent many hours paddling, swimming, walking the dogs and dreaming. I still do dream in my "young" old age and am now better equipped to translate these happy moments into art.

From: Nancy Oppenheimer -- Mar 22, 2013

The Passion of Art

I am drawn with caresses
To a palm’s esoteric existence
Whose fingers motion
With magnetic insistence
To dispel all defenses
To cease resistance
To enter a respite
Far from this unanswerable dissidence.

I take leave of this world absurd
And await the amulet’s sweet word
And the word is a hand opening a door
Upon a land of what once shimmered before
Before I breathed a breath
Or knew a thought of death.

Here then unfold the hills of pure truth
Bathed by streams of beauty and love
Shone upon by the moon and sun above.
While below run the bear and fly the dove.
Here then to bring birth to the passion of art
Is to fully understand from the heart.

From: Virginia -- Mar 22, 2013

I enjoy your column and often learn or agree, but this childhood trauma explaining passion is an utter simplification. Some people are born with the capacity for passion, then nature or nurture takes over and it is activated, discovered or inspired. If the capacity isn't innate, no amount of trauma will bring it to the fore. Furthermore, while trauma may be one source of activation there are many other ways people discover their passion. Passion is born in an individual, but what comes after is 'made.'

From: Diane Overmyer -- Mar 22, 2013

As I read about your visit to S.J. Darcus' home, I kept wondering why someone who was so poor and loved bird's eggs, didn't own at least a few chickens? Then he could have collected fresh eggs each day to add some cheap protein to his diet. Perhaps he was too busy seeking that next rare, hard to find jewel of an egg, to bother doing something logical and ordinary. That is a mark of someone who has passion. Other non-essential activities or concerns tend to fall by the way side. Your comment about getting to work is the best way to find what you are really passionate about. Get off of the couch and out of your comfort zone. If you try one thing and that doesn't ring your bell, try something else. There is a whole world of different experiences just waiting to tried! So go and get to work!!

From: Eleanor Doyle -- Mar 22, 2013

Somewhere, as a young person, I heard the warning...or perhaps the Direction.. "To commit sex is to risk love'"
The unintended message I took from that saying was to "Do The Thing...whatever That might be". It is the surest way to find your heart's desire. But also, watch out. As every passion has a sharp side.

From: Orythia Johnston -- Mar 22, 2013

Good one and yes it is very elusive and I believe it can happen to you at any age. Like a bomb, it tears you apart and you suffer because of it. Then, later as you put the pieces back not necessarily in the same places, the creativity you have changes and takes on new meaning

From: Hanna -- Mar 22, 2013

Kathy Hill, you do have passion exactly the same as most of us. You were raised not to express it or admit it to yourself. You will be ok.

From: Susan -- Mar 22, 2013

There's a big difference between passion and obsession. The egg thief stole the futures of generations of wild birds to (and I don't get how this fits) "atone" for stepping on an egg once. A story of pathos and hoarding, not passion. Passion would have been to find a way to protect the birds, not steal their nests and eggs to a disturbing degree.

99 times out a 100, I appreciate and am inspired by Robert's letters. This one, however, missed the mark and left me feeling very sad.

From: Gene Martin -- Mar 22, 2013

Passion is being possessed by what ever entrances.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox -- Mar 22, 2013

Children will naturally gravitate towards the things that most interest them- though in our cultural past we adults did a bang-up job trying to squash many of those interests as not being viable from a money-making standpoint.

So- many children grow up only to find themselves depressed because they followed somebody else's assumptions about what they should do, instead of their own understanding. If we can remember what we were interested in as children- we can find our way back to what really matters to us.

And a passion for living and creating is centered in our own self-knowing. To find it you look within- not without. Unless you don't know how to do that- very common in our ordinary reality.

Passion is a tremendous energy for BEING- but the flip side is anger- and the only real difference is in how it gets expressed. Yet the opposite word is compassion- a deep empathic sense for the complexities/difficulties of existence.

There are individuals- however- who have no passion for anything because they've been taught to repress feelings in general.

Oh well. Passionate people can be disruptive. And any good artist is usually somewhat obsessed with all aspects of creation. So obsession isn't necessarily a bad thing either.

From: Ann -- Mar 22, 2013

With his severely modest lifestyle and diet, Darcus saved many animals and plants from destruction. Any average person affects nature much, much worse just by buying new clothes, appliances and food than what this poor guy did stealing birds eggs. At least he left something for education of future generations. Most of us just leave mountains of junk. I am glad that Darcus had such a happy life. I’ll think of him every time I eat an egg.

From: Jerome Grimmer, Oakhurst, CA -- Mar 23, 2013

Passion is built into all of us from the start. Passion is an active state of wondering expectancy. The baby in a bassinet staring at a colorful mobile suspended overhead illustrates this phenomenon. This fascination with a simple stimulus will remain and possibly grow into the joy of creative expression - if it is not plucked and transplanted into sterile soil.

The child who experiences the exuberance of finger-paints too often has an opposite experience when handed a set of crayons. “Stay within the lines of your coloring book” is advice that blunts the creative joy of many a youngster before he can muster a defense. Instead of joy, the fear of “doing it wrong” and earning displeasure replaces it.

That dread of “doing it wrong” - if allowed to immobilize - eventually translates into feelings of inadequacy and frustration, and if not addressed can fester and become a kaleidoscope neuroses. Witness our penal institutions, overflowing with the results of dammed-up creativity seeking relief in irrational ways.

A major part of the blame is in the lap of our systems of education where the creative aspect of mankind is viewed as a luxury rather than a vital necessity. Creativity is what makes us most like the divine Creator. It is how we are designed and how we are expected to live - creatively, inventively, beautifully, gracefully and with joy.

Instead of asking what the source of passion is, we might do better to ask what we are doing to turn it into listless indifference. Rather than thinking of children as empty vessels that need to be filled, successful teaching should be seeing children as seeds needing the right nourishment and environment to allow their natural, healthy selves to mature into glorious individuality - and PASSION.

Apologies for the seeming fervor. Amen!

From: John Mix -- Mar 23, 2013

Passion is connected to the King/Queen archetype seen in all people and cultures. The K/Q energy is that place within that knows what we want to do for the next hour, the next day, and the rest of our lives. Few know the latter very early in life and many search the labyrinths of work life until they find THE calling and true purpose. Poet Robert Bly says that poverty, abuse, and violence can kill the K/Q in a person. A majority of the people I work with in jail reflect that claim. Survival mode is getting by where too often creativity goes down the dark path. It would have been great to have a visit with Carravagio. Brilliance and passion can lie dormant within hiding under shame, and it can awaken in a blind contour drawing of a dead oak leaf.


www.hendricks.com/breathingcoach/ : great freebie exercises to return the body to a harmonious center.

"The secret of happiness is to know there are things you can control and things you cannot." --Epictetus

From: Henry Vermillion -- Mar 23, 2013

Hello Robert---I’m afraid your example of “passion” falls way short. Maybe the example of your oologist friend fits the Canadian temperament, but my simple desk dictionary lists "powerful feeling, love, sexual desire: lust' and “anger ; rage”, along with “great enthusiasm”. Clearly, “passion” has more to do with powerful emotions than with intellectual pursuits such as egg collecting. I hope you’ll try again. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

From: Jackie Knott -- Mar 23, 2013

Passion is that thing that so overrides reason we cannot lay it aside regardless of the forces that would kill it.

From: Alana Dill -- Mar 24, 2013

I really believe that love is the ultimate truth, and that passion is rooted in love's search for itself. It lights us up. Enthusiasm is a little different, maybe not as involving. Obsession is where our pursuits become so enmeshed in trauma, or are used to mask trauma, that they make us ill.

If passion is rooted in love, then trauma can be the hand that guides the trowel; but so can the joy of discovery. So, where one person creates to find catharsis from pain, another creates to help the roots carry nourishment to the fruit.

From: Dana-Leigh Tomada -- Mar 24, 2013

passion seems to be in flux, a love/ hate relationship with what we feel passion for....It could possibly be the dropping of the eggs that sends us to not having it for that brief moment......and brief it is....as we re-centre where our LOVE of what we do....Passion emerges....and at last ....that feeling of Passionate contentment....;)

From: Nathan Bloch -- Mar 24, 2013

One thing I really love about Google adsense is that it picks up some ridiculous gists from these letters. I'm getting ads for pest control and how to get bird's nest out of your gutters!

From: Selia -- Mar 25, 2013

Passion - Yes, you either have it or you don't. I believe you're born " that way" or not. I've always been passionate about art and nature. People who have no passion don't get it, but they know those with passion dwell in a different realm. They wish they did, too, even though they don't get it. Passion is a gift. Live it, but don't make yourself too precious. People really don't want to hear about other's deep childhood traumas, personal tragedies, and so on. Make art. Your story will be in there and sensitive people will get it.

From: Harold Letz -- Mar 26, 2013

I love your film, Shenandoah. Your friend, Rhiannon, certainly has a beautiful voice!

From: Pam Flanders -- Mar 26, 2013

Agree with last comment from Harold...the video and the song made my day as I reflect on my art, my passion, and my appreciation this day of celebrating 37 years of marriage to a man who genuinely supports my artistic passion and endeavors. Got a love those endangered species.

From: Antoinette Ledzian -- Mar 26, 2013

I just found the film, Shenandoah, as mentioned in the above two comments. What a peaceful, beautiful composition, enhanced by Rhiannon, your pooch and you! I was drifting along in my thoughts as I watched you drifting along in still waters! Love all the spots you choose to capture the moment. Your passion for art, life and communication is something I've been thinking about ever since reading this topic a few days ago. Again, my sincerest thanks for all you share. I hope to meet you in person some day. You are one of those people I'd choose if I could only pick a few with whom I'd love to spend a few hours!

From: Rick Rotante -- Mar 27, 2013

We all develop true passion (not infatuation) only as we mature. Developing passion stems from gaining empathy and understanding about others and learning to appreciate life and all it offers.
Passion develops when we open up to situations and allow ourselves to be encompassed; when we are willing to give of ourselves. When we are young our developing passion is scattered, misdirected. More intense interest than true passion. In our youth we are passionate about everything. Only when we mature and focus on something we find special, interesting that passion becomes more directed; more focused; more heartfelt. We can express passion for many things in life. As we become engrossed about things our passion becomes more deeply felt as we engage in interesting activities, or meet interesting people.
Passion, either natural or inherited, has to do with having an insatiable curiosity about how things are made; how things were put together or who we are.
We tend to narrow the meaning of passion to things romantic but passion encompassed much more.
Passion wanders and takes hold when we find an intense interest in a subject or person. Having passion is having an intense desire to achieve excellence. Finding out all there is to know about something and never being satisfied with the results. Always searching- keeping our "flame of passion" burning.

From: Richard Mazzarino -- Mar 27, 2013

Passion is a gift -if you are one of the lucky ones to experience it.

From: Kat Logan -- Apr 02, 2013

A great topic to share with this community of assorted expressions of passion. I find that passion for art creating, passion for life in any expression is a willingness to dive into that place of self, that sacred place in the deep center where there flows a willingness to release. Love, spirit, vision, intellect, compassion, desire, connection and fearlessness all blend together releasing self. What brings us here, be it trauma, obsession, joy, safety...when it becomes a necessity.....if passion being expressed. For me, the access is sometimes resisted...by distraction or fear....but I am always making it the place that I want to fall into.
Thank-you for sharing.

From: Jeryl Auten -- Apr 03, 2013

I look forward to your letters, Robert. Your "little lessons of life" are always so capably written. I particularly enjoyed this letter, and as I read it, I knew I had to "break a few eggs" ! I do know that family,friends.commitments etc. often take precedence. Somewhere in all of life's busy schedule, I must make more time for painting. Thank you for your ongoing insights and your delightful sense of humour.






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Last modified: Aug, 27, 2014