tiistai 18. kesäkuuta 2013

Day 258: Passion is not magic


Recently I have been thinking about passion. I have been accepted to university to study a subject I am not passionate about in the same way I have been passionate about other things so far, and this lack of “fire in my soul” makes me question the whole concept of motivation and what has been driving me forward so far.

In the past few years as I have been mainly working and having arts as a hobby, trying to get into art schools but never succeeding. I have met a lot of people in my working environments that have either told me or shown me they have a passion for nothing, and many of them have told me (with a tone I have interpreted to be sadness, bitterness and/or powerlessness) that I am lucky to be passionate about something. I have usually been unable to reply to such words, because all I have seen are people who are unwilling to find their passion. Recently I have come to realize that these people alone cannot be blamed for their lack of motivation for anything but survival and escapism, because the society itself determinedly passivates people from the moment of birth onwards and offers no assistance to overcome this.

Yet I have to question the whole concept of passion. When I am doing something that I have “a passion” for, I usually work with intense focus, I learn fast and I forget all else – I exist for that moment of action, whatever it may be, and I forget to eat, drink, rest – and I usually do not even have a need for any of this. I have experienced this with drawing, painting, making music, dance, stagework with other people, contact improvisation (including sex), baking, hiking, walking around, reading, studying, exploring my surroundings, having a conversation – a lot of things. I could basically have a passion for anything, even breathing, or eating, or drinking. I mean, if I can have a passion for moving my body aimlessly simply because I enjoy the movement, why not for anything at all?

So maybe “passion” is something to be found when you're at the core of an action, when you have a “reason” for it – which is to live, to realize your existence in this moment, in this reality. When I apply this to my motivation to study, I can see that I study because I realize my possibilities in this web of relationships we call “society” or “the world” or “the system”. I enjoy studying things that I see to have relevance. I enjoy applying the information that I absorb. I do not know how I will apply the information I am going to absorb in the future as my studies progress, because how I will apply it is dependent on what the information is – lol – so I cannot plan it, I'm going to have to create my future as I go. And that's alright.

So, yeah. In studying I am living according to my passion for learning, and I have some idea of how to specify my studies based on the fields that interest me. But this pathway didn't offer itself to me. I had to dig it up and choose it among a mass of options, all appearing just as uncertain to me. Somehow I think that the people who lack passion for things believe that this magical feeling of knowing what to do and why will just be gifted “from the above”, like enlightenment of some sorts. But this is not the case. If you have never seen a book, how would you know that you have a passion for reading? If you have never sat on a bike, how would you know you have a passion for riding a bike? How would you ever figure any of this out if you didn't explore the world, everything that there is in it, given that you have the opportunity for it?

As a child grows it integrates fast into whatever the world is shown to be, and if not given the mental tools to question this, if what one has experienced during one's childhood and adolescence is not fulfilling one might end up believing that the world is unfulfilling – when in fact it is one's experience of one's life so far that is unfulfilling and not the world itself. So people get stuck with the environments they have been born and raised in, with the activities they are familiar with, because they have not been taught to seek passion, to work for it. I was lucky enough to be gifted with a lot of opportunities to explore different activities as a child, and for this I am grateful to my family – but a lot of things I have discovered on my own as an adult, simply by grasping a point of slight interest and expanding on it through independent exploration. And these points of interest have grown into passion the more and more I have learned about them and invested myself into them.

So what I'm saying is that the belief that one ought to have a passionate feeling about something in order to act at all is a fallacy. If I'd keep on expecting a “holy spirit” to take over and direct me for myself, I would get nowhere, I would be standing still and waiting around for the rest of my life. Passion is not a heavenly wind that will magically make your life better – it is you moving yourself towards/within something you are drawn to. Passion is self-motivated action.

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