Some of us yearn for calm and tranquillity in our lives, for a smooth passage across the ocean of our existence. Is that you? Certainly I write a lot about finding that calm centre to your being, to finding your way through difficulties in a way that doesn’t damage you, but does that mean a life without passion? No, it does not.
I’ve had friends who never argued with their partners, who avoided fights and confrontation like the plague. But was it good for their relationships? One couple lasted 9 years, so I guess you could say yes. On the other hand if they’d not spent so much time squashing their true feelings, burying their passions, preferring a degree of practised politeness then perhaps they’d still be together?
Passion is a two edged sword though. You can’t live your life in the storm, the constancy of the rain and the wind; the buffeting of the elements simply wears you out. But any of us that have lived through a storm – a cyclone, a bushfire a flood – know how amazing it is to come out the other side: to have ridden the elemental tiger.
Passion, according to the Collins Australia Compact Dictionary is 1: intense sexual love; 2: any strong felt emotion; 3: a strong enthusiasm for something, eg sport, or your dog; 4: the object of an intense desire or enthusiasm, eg painting is her abiding passion.
You need passion in your life, for your lover, for your work, for your interests. For many of us the passion we feel for certain parts of our life is what tells us we’re alive.
We know (or remember!) the magic of the intensity of sexual love, how it consumes us, drives us mad, make us do and say insane things. There is a widely held belief that love is the strongest force on the planet and when you think about how you feel in the midst of the burning heat of sexual passion you believe it. Especially if you are wronged in this part of life – yes, life does feel as if it was over. Think of the great love stories: they are about the intensity of sexual love, of desire driving us mad – Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary. Did not the love between Cleopatra and Marc Antony spell doom for them both?
Passion can drive us mad – jealousy kills, passion distracts and destroys. I am passionately devoted to my dog (as well you know by now) but there are many people out there who passionately hate dogs, and especially the breed of my beloved woof.
Passion painted the Sistine Chapel, Passion got Chichester around the world in Gypsy Moth IV. Passion and self belief made one Austrian body builder one of the most famous actors in the world. But mis-directed passion made another Austrian one of the evilest men of all time. Passion is what rouses the troops to follow a leader into a battle fighting with heart and soul. Passionate speeches fill our movies, from Braveheart to Gladiator to The 300. No politician worth his salt is devoid of passion – why did JFK move a nation with his speech?
Passion in the pursuit of our beliefs or talents drives us onwards – it can make us unbearable as we seek perfection, truth, justice, fame, etc. But it is one of the driving forces within us. Passion makes us take risks; it drives us to put ourselves out there and if the world is willing we’ll make it. If not our passion will leave us a crumpled, dishevelled mess upon the floor, a puddle of disappointment that may very well stain the rest of our lives.
But passion gone wrong, in the hands of extremists is dangerous; it kills people and damages our world: think Hitler, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Idi Amin. Too much passion makes madmen of us all; too little makes us passive and dull, lacking drive and imagination.
Passionate people are difficult to live with. They are often impatient, self centred, and driven but if their passion is about you, aren’t you the lucky one? (Images courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)