Tonight I was walking into the corner store and sitting outside was a man smoking cigarettes and asking for change. Usually, I decline them, but tonight something moved me. When the man asked if I could spare any change I said, “Sure. I’ll give you all the change I have if you tell me something.”
He said, “What do you want to know?”
“What’s your passion?”
He looked at me quizzically and said, “What does that mean?”
“What fills your heart? What drives you onward?”
Without hesitation he answered, “Love, brother.”
As I was giving him my change, I asked him one final question. “What have you been doing to pursue that lately?”
He shook his head sadly and looked away. “Hell. I don’t even know anymore, man.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have a list of passions that fill my heart. But when I ask myself what I’ve been doing to pursue them, I have to admit to myself, “Hell. I don’t even know anymore man.” And why don’t I know? Why have I given up on all these things that add meaning to my life? I suppose for the same reasons most people do. Because we let life get in the way. We tell ourselves, “I’ll start on it tomorrow.” The only problem with that is Tomorrow never comes. It always turns into Today. And it’s always so hard to find the time today; there’s too much to do.
But what is passion? What does it mean? Ultimately, our passion is what we were put on earth to accomplish. What we individually do to make and leave the world a better place. But that has been distorted and confused. We live in a world where passion has been mistaken for emotional outbursts. Look at reality television. It’s nothing but cheap emotional manipulation saturated with advertisements. The same can be said for social media outlets. Every time I scroll through a feed I go through a range of emotions. This post makes me angry. This post makes me laugh. This post tugs at my heart-strings. This post wants me to buy a new razor. And on and on. These things aren’t passions they are sleazy emotional ploys. We shouldn’t be filling our heart with them. They give our lives no meaning. In fact, they only take from us. By the time I get to the bottom of the feed, I feel empty. I usually slam my computer shut in disgust and tell myself, “Way to go, genius, you just wasted another 20 minutes of your life.” So what’s the alternative? The answer to that is easy: force a change. If you know better, do better.
We let ourselves become convinced that happiness is this false sense of security called the American Dream and we’ve sacrificed our passions on the altar of this great god called Mammon. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that if we do everything according to plan, go to school, get a job, make money, get a house, fill it with shit, then we are supposed to be happy. But that’s not the case. I see more and more people unhappy with their supposed achievements. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more and more people are realizing what they need to be doing is following their passion. Too many of us are immersing ourselves in an ever-expanding myriad of distractions in order to ignore the fact that we’re miserable and unfulfilled. We are all guilty of it. We can’t really blame ourselves too much, I mean, it IS the world we were born into. But it’s not the world that we have to live in. It’s not the world that we have to leave to our children.
Things are how they are because we’ve been fooled into accepting a fiction as reality. We CAN change. We CAN refuse to accept the lie and start living in truth. But in order to do that we have to start TODAY. Are you ready? If so:
What’s your passion?
And what have you done to pursue it lately?
Tags: America, American Dream, career, change, choices, Dream, emotional, emotions, fulfillment, happiness, heart, homeless, inspiration, job, life, love, materialism, money, passion, reality television, social media, today, truth, world, Writing
“yea, so long as every nerve in you is aquiver, whether when you are stealing softly about, or when you step out boldly and Janzian music within drowns out your consciousness—then you feel you are living.”
It’s brilliance, it’s passion, it’s inspiration that matter in these uncertain times. These are all there is left to hold on to. The illusion is crumbling beneath our feet and with it goes everything reality holds dear.
I’m fairly sure some of you have heard of Robert E. Howard. I’m sure all of you have heard of Conan the Barbarian. Conan was Howard’s most popular character though he birthed many others. He’s also credited with single-handedly creating the genre of “sword and sorcery”. Where did this pioneering writer see most of his works printed? Strictly in pulp magazines. The junk mags of the depression era. He, sadly, never published an actual book during his life. Today’s anecdote comes from a conversation he had with Novalyne Price Ellis, the local English teacher.
Ms. Price commented that she wanted a side job writing for the pulps like Robert did.
He looked her square in the eye and said, “It’s one or the other. You can’t do both.”
—taken from “One Who Walked Alone.”
And isn’t it true? There’s this line. This unspoken step in the proper social progression. See, when we’re young, we have all these grand ideas for the legends we’re going to make for ourselves. We’re told over and over that we can be ANYTHING we want to be. So we want to be things like painters, actors, astronauts, writers and pro athletes. These desires ultimately shape who we become. But here’s the kicker: Somewhere along the way these dreams get abandoned.
Artists end up architects. Actors become politicians. Writers become English Teachers. And pro athletes sell cars. This happens in almost every instance because at some point most people abandon the search for their dreams and become comfortable in a “practical lifestyle”. But why?
“It’s one or the other. You can’t do both.”
So what about the intrepid fools who don’t give up? Some people never lose sight of their dreams. Some people can’t. No matter how hard they try to fit in, to become comfortable and complacent. Sure, these passionate fools cross the line from time to time. Even starving artists have to eat. But they never stay. The pull of their dream is too strong, their passion too great. For these daring individuals, life isn’t about seeing how high you can “level up” your material junk. It’s about creating. It’s about leaving behind a legacy that will live on and inspire lives long after they’ve passed.
Novalyne Price never wrote for the pulps. She was an English Teacher for most of her life and her only published work was a memoir about her experience with Howard that was written after she retired. And Robert E. Howard? He never crossed the line into proper social progression. He committed suicide at age 32 and his legacy survives to this day.
Tags: astronaut, career, celebrities, Conan, creativity, dreams, english teacher, Entertainment, jobs, life, literature, One Who Walked Alone, painter, passion, pro athlete, Pulp. magazines, Robert E. Howard, social progression, Society, sword and sorcery, unhappy, videogames, work, writer, Writing
I’ve been away and I apologize. After a lifelong dedication to my craft, my passion for writing and words took a heavy blow a few months ago. My passion and dedication waned. I became full of self doubt and loathing and actually began to rethink my purpose. For those of you who know me, this will come as a shock. I have followed the writer’s path for as long as I can remember. So much so that writing is what I’m really great at. So why the blow to my passion? On some level, I think I felt betrayed. I mean, I dedicated my life to writing and all it gave me in return was a handful of preformed plays and poems published in magazines no one will ever read. Yet all around me, talent-less hacks are ghostwriting themselves onto the NY Times Best Seller List for no other reason than they are famous. They have no talent to offer the craft, only novelty. And that’s what our society has become obsessed with: Novelty.
Novelty is distraction without substance. Art sans Creativity. It’s whatever is cute, funny and/or viral at any given moment. Novelty is devoured like mental junk food and then forgotten with the next helping of Novelty. Art in all its forms has suffered for this love affair with self-induced mental retardation. After battling this trend for a while, I couldn’t take it anymore. Self doubt began to set in. And once self doubt had a firm foundation, it opened the door for Distraction. By this point, I had given up and gladly invited Distraction in.
I jumped head first into a myriad of distractions: movies, video games, books, Captain Morgan. In short, I became obsessed with Novelty too. Because giving up my passion left a hole in my soul. And I tried to fill that hole with Novelty. It didn’t work. I didn’t start feeling more “alive” because I was going with the flow. I didn’t start seeing the beauty of the Great Machine and all of its distractions. My acceptance of living a “normal everyday life” didn’t bring me peace. No. The more I inundated myself with Novelty, the more miserable I became until I had retreated so far inside of myself, I couldn’t see the light of day.
So what happened to restore my dedication, to rekindle the fires of my passion for my craft? A literally paralyzing experience gave my brain a hard restart. When I came to, all I could do is look at the time I wasted and cry. But through the tears I saw the truth. I saw that passions and life goals should not and can not be driven by external influences. Self worth can not be measured with material wealth or some preconceived status on the Social Scale. In the end, we are all accountable to ourselves and ourselves alone. We know the paths we are supposed to walk, or at least we used to. Novelty and Distraction are like mental white noise droning out the still small voice that so desperately whispers to us. The more distracted we are, the less likely it is we will ever hear that voice and self correct our paths. But we have to try. Because in the end, we are the only ones who know what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. Everything else is just Novelty.
It was in the way she touched me. I tell you, that was the act pure and erotic. Surrounded by a most Tantric energy we submerged ourselves in the passion of the Touch. We could have become Buddha, but to free ourselves from desire was an act as useless as it was impossible. Instead, we simply became.
Whatever it is that our deepest, most erotic fantasies require in order to achieve that zenith of erotic metamorphosis. We danced with words. We sang with sensual caresses that stimulated the explosive mind-play of sleeping goddesses. It was easy to write her history in fairytales and legends. I became her willing tool as she became mine. Oh how we experimented on the fringes of maddening passionate pleasure. It would’ve been lust if it weren’t so holy.
When does that spark return? Do you feel the moment or does it just explode into you like a supernova of revelation? PKD had VALIS. But, we aren’t all fortunate enough to be blessed with PKD’s… idiosyncrasies. What is it then? Where does passion well from? I suppose that’s more a question of inspiration and/or muses.
I think passion-inspiration-muses-whatever are like energies. Flowing tendrils of energy criss-crossing the earth behind the Veil. Passion throughout the ages, is spurned then, by people tapping into these tendrils. Stepping into the flow of the river, as it were. It washes over a person and then BAM!
Of course I don’t think this concept is limited to the Arts. Passion is universal. There is a passion for everything. The question remains then, how do we tap into these conduits of inspiration?
Obviously a passion for something is helpful. But this is easy. The problem with this is the connection is only temporary. After a while, it dwindles away, though it remains inside you like smoldering embers.
So it makes sense that like embers, you have to stoke your muse from time to time to reignite your connection to inspiration. I call this “Overcoming Writer’s Block”.
Easier said than done. Life gets in the way. Beautiful, distracting, all-important LIFE. Without it, we are dead. But with it, we are chained inside our own limited perceptions. We are contained to the flesh, forced to sustain it. Thus survival supersedes inspiration. This is always the case. The days of pure artists are gone. Now everyone (myself included) is an artist in their free time. Trying to tap into the matrix of inspiration as part of a scheduled routine. But that’s not how inspiration works.
Muses work on their own schedules and if you aren’t ready when they are then forget you. They’ll move along and give that great idea to someone else. And you’ll kick yourself later when you see your idea in a book store or on television.
I’m beginning to realize, I can’t serve two masters. Either give in to my muse’s strict demands or struggle trying to make inspiration work for me. When really, it’s always the other way around.
Potentiality of spirit…Kirkegaard was on to something. What happens when life is no longer exciting? What happens when the passion ebbs away? I was trapped in a passionless shell, unable to break free. I’d almost resigned myself to that suicidal fate. I could see and remember what it felt like for the world to be alive with possibility. I could recall the swell of excitement in my chest at the thought of meeting the day head on, of creating, of experiencing life. But all these old emotions, once mine to command, I stared at as if something unattainable–out of reach. But it’s not. I just needed to stand up and walk through that Door. Enjoy!
“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye, which ever young and ardent, sees the possible.”–Kierkegaard Either/Or