PASSION: |ˈpa sh ən| noun an intense desire or enthusiasm for something
The same idea has come up continually to me in the last few weeks, first in Charleston watching Nolan, our friends' two year old son and then really brought to fruition last night reading Stephanie Pearl McPhee's "Knitting Rules!" book given to me for Christmas. Nolan, The Hubba and I discovered, is crazy about the movie "Cars." Wildly passionate about it, obsessed his parents might have said, though, wonderful people, they seem very little bothered by it. He's watched the movie countless times, his room is filled with toys of it, and the time we were there he clutched two Matchbox-type cars of Doc Hudson and Sheriff in his little hands as often as he might. Reading McPhee-Pearl last night, I noticed the first few chapters were filled with her passion for knitting, while also balanced with explanations for why she loves knitting, why other knitters love knitting the way we do and why it’s OK. (Stay with me on this one, this is going somewhere, I promise.)
Nolan is passionate about "Cars." Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is passionate about knitting. The only difference between the two? Nolan hasn't learned he needs to apologize for his passion yet.
THAT is the difference. And that leads me to wonder, why? Why do we feel we shouldn't be passionate, fervent, zealous about something or two things or more?
OBSESS |əbˈses| verb [ trans. ] (usu. be obsessed) preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent
I’ve heard that before in my life that I’ve been obsessed with a thing. I wonder how often we confuse Passion and Obsession? Shakespeare said, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." I’m realizing more often, every moment, a person’s passion becomes an obsession most often when it’s deemed so by another person. And I ask you, what’s that? The opinion of another person on you?
Do you think Wilbur and Orville Wright drove people crazy with their talk about wings and flight and measurement and speed? Do you think, if they had let that stop them, we would have the ability to fly today? I do. I believe someone else, someone less concerned with the opinions of others would have discovered the root to flight, but luckily for us, the Wright brothers weren’t discouraged and we’ve had the ability to take to the sky for over a hundred years.
Michael Jordan did not become a god of basketball by spending a little time in practice and a lot of time on other things. He became a legend at basketball because he was passionate about basketball.
Shakespeare, I’m betting, isn’t a great writer because he spent an equal amount of time on math and science as he did on writing He is a great writer because he WROTE.
My brain moves closer to home. The Hubba is passionate about sports. Focused on the subject. He watches games- all types, by all teams- he watches TV shows, he reads articles, he listens to radio broadcasts about the games, he spends a large portion of his time with his brain focused in that direction. What comes of it? I couldn’t show you a physical product of this love (yet), but he is joyful in the time he spends. I find myself, a girl who never gave a thought to sports for any two consecutive seconds except to offer a half-hearty “Go Vols” when called upon, inspired to know more, to watch more, to listen more, if only to move to closer to that place of joy he occupies when he focuces on this subject.
My mother throughout her life has thrown pots. Off and on, when time permits, she works with clay, with glaze, with kilns, and only in the last six months, after years of not touching a potter’s wheel, has she started back up with this task of which she is passionate. She’s spending a lot of time on it now, almost every day, at least an hour a day, at a potter’s wheel. This was a Christmas gift from her.
After only a few months of practice. Can you imagine what these bowls might look like in a few months?
My stepmother Suz loves to shop. She thrives in the atmosphere, she excels at finding the best sale, she revels in what she will give to others, on what is the exact right item to be handed over, she studies other people, she finds what they love and she brings them physical manifestations to inspire them.
My friend Bruce loves “Wallace and Gromit” and my friend Sarah is wild for “Curious George.” I’ve watched these shows with both of them and I tell you now, there is little in life that will bring you to happiness like watching these two in their absolute joy, showing you, talking to you, reveling in these beloved children’s characters.
Though out his life, my dad has been a reader, passionate about books. He read all the time, even in a family where few people picked up a book, he graduated with a degree in English, and he chose a job as a printer and has done that almost all of his adult life, putting print to paper.
My friend Ann, you know her as Knitty Yoda, and her husband are passionate about cooking. They grow their own vegetables, they buy unusual foods, they spend week nights and weekends putting together exotic meals, Ann with her love of recipes and techniques and Steve with his instinct for finding the perfect combinations of spices and flavors.
Miz Knotty, Renee to everyone else, knows yarn. She knows yarn inside out and all around. She knows what yarn to substitute, she knows where to find good yarn, she never makes a trip without finding a yarn store to explore. She is a fountain of information on fiber.
I could keep going. I could tell you about my blogger friends, Brooke who creates extraordinary palettes of color through a little dye and fiber, and Parisa who traveled halfway around the world, on her own, to study and sing and make music.
Or Barkley, our dear dog, who wants to spend as much of his life running outdoors and eating. That’s what makes him happy. How many people would benefit to feel as strongly about some aspect of their life as Barkley does for running and eating?
My life is flooded with passionate people and as we start this new year, I'm seizing this inspiration.
There are three things I'd most often rather be doing: writing, reading, or knitting. These aspects of my life bring me joy, they bring me new challenges, they bring me even stronger desire and this is the year, this great new year of 2007, I’m bringing my focus, my passion to an even stronger place. With no apologies or explanations, I tell you: these are my passions! These are areas I will put my time, my energy and focus whenever I feel called to do so!
I feel uplifted this morning. I’ve been on this rampage of appreciation, this snowball effect of inspiration and admiration and enthusiasm.
Today, this Saturday morning, I encourage anyone who might come across this entry (and everyone else!) to stregthen, to build, to rediscover or to find a passion, a focus, a place, to put your energy this year. Be the passionate, enthusiastic, joyful person you’re meant to be and let others feel and see and hear your joy and thrive from it.
I believe every year gets better than the next. I believe 2007 will be our best year yet. From a jail cell at a time when he could not drink from a whites-only fountain, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “I have no despair about the future” and I read those words and am flooded with hope.
I wish a brilliant 2007 to everyone. I have only the highest expectations for this New Year.