But being passionate embarrasses me!

‘You should live your life passionately,’ I am told. First, let me say that I agree full-heartedly. It sounds darned exciting, as a matter of fact! And there have been times when I was aware that I was actually doing that. But does true passion exist in the awareness of it, or in the being-ness of it?

I have a general idea what passion is supposed to mean to me personally, but I usually get sidetracked into the conventional sense of it…that perhaps ‘passion’ is what gives me excitement, or high energy, what I am good at and for which I have evidence if I check my trophy shelf…or bank account.

In my more meditative moments I noticed that I was seeking for evidence of my passion, not in my own fulfillment in any activity, but in what others’ thought about it. So it became easy to keep doing the same stuff – once I had found a niche that brought this recognition from others.
Crazy. It was like claiming a certain sport as my passion because I was born with strong legs.

A public speaker once asked, “When will you decide that you have had quite enough applause for something that is not your real passion?”
I don’t know. Is there such a thing as ‘enough accolades when the search is for ‘enough?’

It was a good friend who mentioned casually (funny how some of life’s most powerful insights come from random thoughts) that perhaps living passionately might include finding something that embarrasses us, and moving in that direction? Is it possible that those places where we are embarrassed are also those places where we have restricted or perhaps even shut down our self-expression? When we were young and our parents or teachers were busy shaping our lives so we’d fit in with society and be successful, weren’t there ways we were being that embarrassed them and they felt the need to modify us, ‘if we were to get along?’ “Hey, you’re not good at that so leave it alone!”

We learned to suppress those things, convinced that they were undesirable and would not meet with peer approval. We wanted to please everyone and so we substituted how ‘they’ wanted us to act, in place of our natural character.

So, what about the embarrassment ? Call it vulnerability if you wish. Doesn’t embarrassment imply that there is some kind of energy attached to a situation? Could it be that a particular unfamiliar area doesn’t bring mastery with it and we cannot tolerate the learning curve and the included embarrassment many beginners experience?

As I stand in front of my easel, fresh paint and brushes spread out, friends expecting something remarkable to show up on the canvas – ‘we know you’ll be good at it, Rich’ – nothing from my trophy shelf can be called on to help me avoid the next several weeks of vulnerability in producing ‘nothing to show so far.’
It’s the exploration that is the key – allowing myself to be vulnerable once more. I feel a kind of liberation reaching out from the easel in front of me and for me to go in that direction, well it matters very much.

About Rich

See my 'Who? Me?' post.
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