Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pass the passion, please

For the first time in a long time, I have only one job and I'm not in school.  At first the possibility of such freedom in schedule appeared promising but after many hours on Facebook, Groupon, and Netflix, I found myself lying half hanging on my bed, wondering about the meaning of life and if at any moment, foam would spill from my mouth from complete and utter boredom.  Because I'm employed as a "self-proclaimed" thinker, analyzing behavior and developing behavior plans, I refuse to do anything cerebral once I'm home.  Hence, the social network and foreign films.  Recently, I've been engrossed in political documentaries that have left me feeling feeble and helpless and may I add, a believer in federal conspiracy theories.

You would think that this ample time of nothingness would finally relax my stiff nerves but oddly, I found myself awakened many nights by chest pains, palpitations, and tachycardia as soon as my schedule opened up.  My husband argues that I just do not know how to relax.  That the very idea of relaxing stresses me out. He may be right since my last doctor appointment revealed my highest ever blood pressure reading now that in essence, I'm nearly stress free.  So in a week I am scheduled for a complete cardiac work-up.  Apparently, being at home doing virtually nothing has me on the verge of a heart attack.

But all these alarming ailments do not compare to my state of emotional coma.  Life with its predictable rhythm has become all too...well, predictable...and I have accomplished less work and gained more lazy hormones now that I'm no longer busy.  I survey the program I run at work with a sense of discontentment and although accolades pour in and clearly the program creates amazing results, I feel inept and subpar and I go home and sit in a corner and stare into space.  I find myself wondering what is wrong with me. And of course, I come up with the same answer: it's probably that time of the month...again...and so soon!

Then I visited a company and sat down with the Executive Director whose educational credential is less than mine.  In other words, he has less initials after his name.  But he was so thorough and so well-versed and so...passionate.  He was categorically so much better than I in our field and while I was not intimidated I had to concede that I was inferior next to his abilities and I wanted to stay by his side and glean from his knowledge and I said, "Perhaps I should quit my job and have you mentor me." We both went ha ha ha, but I think we both knew full well that I was serious about the mentoring part.

I walked away from that meeting realizing that doing just enough or doing "halfheartedly" is not an option.  That free time can breed laziness and laziness is habit forming and once you are habitually doing less than you should, life is then lived in the absence of passion and for me the cliche is true--a life without passion is a life with no meaning.

I remember walking down the subway perseverating on a phrase: I have to do more, I have to do more, I have to do more.

And then, I have to do it with all my heart.

And by pure habit, I began thinking about the Virtuous Woman whose days seemed filled with labor.  I realize that it's not in the labor itself that made her so mythical. It's that her life, everyday, seemed to resonate with purpose and intention.  A woman does not have to be involved in business, or  be a stay-at-home mom, or have a career, or a demanding profession.  But I think she does have to get up in the morning and live a wholehearted life of purpose and intention, whatever that may be.

For me, packing up my schedule has never been about becoming something greater.  It has always been about doing, about leaving no pockets in my day that inevitably grow into a gaping hole that leaves me uninspired and feeling useless.  It is in heartfelt doing, in the journey of becoming, that I'm most comfortable.  I feel worthwhile there.  I suppose when I move nonstop I feel a sense of purpose.  And for me, that purpose is the foundation for passion.  And if I am passionate, I am not just alive.  I am living.