Balance and Passion


I love the stillness of the night, the quiet that surrounds you when everyone else in the house has gone to sleep.

I’m often described as calm and cool. I find it easier to relax than most people, and easy to go to sleep. I enjoy using my hands to relax others.  I love making peace between people, and I’m not a big fan of conflict. (And yes, I argue with my wife sometimes.)

We hear a lot about balance, peace, and relaxation.  “Don’t let your life get out of balance.”  “Don’t follow a goal obsessively.” “Don’t get too excited.  Stress isn’t good for you.”  “Don’t be tense.”

Sometimes I think being calm at the wrong times is my biggest problem! Some of us use peace and calm to hide from commitment, from taking a stand, from taking a chance, from being passionate about life, and embracing life in all of its uncertainty and wonder.

I’d like to trade some of that peace for passion.  

Are passion and peace enemies? Where does passion fit into a calm life?
Can I be a person with strong feelings and still have calm in my life?

Being calm isn’t an end in itself.  It’s a way to let go and let the world in.  It’s a way to temporarily release all the ways that I’m controlling and shaping the world, and just be in the world.

And what follows?  I go out and connect with that world that I just became aware of.  Learning is always a combination of listening and action.

Have you ever been afraid, like me, to let your passion show?  Have you ever been afraid to go after something wonderful with all your strength and all your heart?

We’re so good at hiding from our passions.
I feel wonderfully alive when I’m quiet in the presence of the ocean, a forest, a waterfall, or a mountain. I’m filled with a sense of connection, and the boundaries of my little inner world are shattered.

And I feel wonderfully alive when I let a passion for life burst out of my inner world into the outer world, when I feel my energy flow out of me at full strength, and make connections, in ways that I can see, and ways that I can’t see.

Dr. John Eliot wrote a contrarian book, Overachievement, that attacks a number of myths about peak performance (athletic or otherwise), and recommends the power of stress, play, passion, confidence, and commitment.

In the last few years I’ve become increasingly focused on the power of opposites, the power that comes from embracing both sides of forces that seem to oppose one another.

Do I have to choose between peace and passion?  I won’t settle for anything less than both.

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