Why Passion Scares Us and What to Do About It

By | June 19, 2017

Passion is for teenagers and foreigners. Marge Simpson

Americans do not like nor understand passion.

As a nation, our responses to passionate individuals includes excommunication and if this does not hinder the passionate individual, there is also death.

As a passionate person, my motivations and sense of urgency are often looked upon with suspicion, disgust and in some extremes, dismissed as ridiculous.

Passion and the change it requires often leave people confused and angry.

Unlike a great deal of other emotions and the way they play out, it causes trouble and can often disrupt even the most tepid of situations.

When I was a young person passionate about life, my parents and other fearful adults unsuccessfully attempted to scare me into living an unimagined and safe life.

To my parents, living in fear meant a life of few disappointments and even fewer surprises.

It seems that when you are not willing to divest of seeking answers, exploring all that life has to offer and unapologetically pursuing your heart’s interest, you are deemed a trouble maker and someone who needs coralling.

I have always been fascinated with how any of us survived childhood.

There were many times that my passion took over and I proclaimed that I wanted to be a doctor, create theatre, sing and become a mad scientist simultaneously.

I also wanted to write my biography at twelve and be as funny as Redd Foxx, Carol Burnett and Lucy.

While all of these could not be accomplished immediately and before the age of twenty, there were severe attempts to coerce me into believing that life was simple.

Choose a thing to do and get a paycheck.

The scary idea that you picked something you loved then passionately committed to it was beyond the folks I knew and loved.

Nobody ever asked me what I loved to do or took the time to suggest I use my talents to build an amazing life. People who are afraid of and don’t understand passion raise children by stomping on their dreams and denying their (dreams) merit.

When I sang in choirs and performed in plays, not one person suggested actively pursuing a career in the preforming arts.

When I saw the film FAME, I was transfixed.

A place where people sang and danced for any and every reason was a place I longed to be.

My plan was to attend CASS tech and stumble into fame and fortune like the Supremes.

I settled for being “just smart”.

Being intelligent (getting good grades) was enough for my parents and family.

Daring to sing and dance and bring attention to the family as a result of a powerful longing was a huge NO-NO.

What would people think or even worse what would they say ?

Anyone who has been massively successful has been passionate about what lead them to success and they have also had to deal with an inordinate amount of disappointment.

Passion is no guarantee that shit will work out.

Everybody can get a job and work five days a week then bitch another two until they start the process all over again.

Everybody can’t get a singing gig or be on tv or make movies or write a book.

I started declaring my intention to write at age twelve.

I didn’t call myself a writer until thirty years later.

I no longer fear being labeled weird, odd or not of this world.

Once we accept that passion is here to stay and that it enhances our lives in several ways, we can welcome it.

We can invite it in and allow it to take us away.

We can be swept up and not fear what it will do to us or where it will take us.

Often times those in long term relationships prattle on regarding boredom, a loss of interest or spark with their significant other.

What they are seeking is some type of passionate engagement with the world.

The tendency is to avoid disappointment and rely on the belief that familiarity will keep us “safe”.

Passion’s alternative is safety, i.e. death.

For those of us not passionately involved with our lives and their creation we are left with the alternative which is a slow, seductive , systematic death.

We get to choose.

We get to help our children decide.

It is time to choose a route that courts the unexpected that invites the unexperienced and celebrates the possibilities.

We can only model this behavior when we are living in this manner.

We could teach passionate engagement in schools.

Demand that curriculums reflect this as opposed to the fear based, test driven, useless information acquisition that we currently offer our young ones.

Passion is a choice.

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