Do you live with passion?

In the movie “Serendipity”,  John Cusack (John) and Kate Beckinsale (Sara) fall in love within a few hours of meeting,  spend the next several years unable to stop missing one another, and eventually meet again, (by chance?) and live happily ever after.  There is a wonderful scene in the movie, when John’s best friend Dean, played by Jeremy Piven, in awe of his friend’s burning need to find Sara, talks about the only thing that the Greeks asked when a man died; “Did he have passion”.  Interestingly, John had not found Sara at this point in the movie, and has realized that he was engaged to marry a woman who he would never feel the way he does about Sara.   The fact that John doesn’t have Sara doesn’t matter.  Dean is envious of the fire in John’s heart and in his soul.  It is what we all long for, and so many give up finding.  It is passion that drives John and Sara and it is passion that has caused us all to do “crazy” things for love.

We have been passionate about other desires, too.  How many people remember spending hours on end, every day, with a guitar, a set of drums, a sketchpad, notebooks filled with poetry and stories, a camera, books about whales and sharks, etc.  These are the things that gave us the fire and the meaning in our lives when we were lost and confused about the relationships.

I ask all my clients what they love to do in their spare time.  I ask adolescents, especially, what kind of music they like, who their favorite artists are, and I pull up their favorite song online.  I know so well that music is a large part of adolescents’ lives, and I help them honor that and embrace it.  Sometimes I hand my clients a sketchpad and let them draw during our sessions.  If they enjoy it, I ask them to draw at home, as well.  I have many clients who say that they love photography.  And not one has reported to me that they enjoy taking pictures of “everything”.  Their interests are unique, and reflect myriad ways in which they see the world.  I ask them to take their camera with them everywhere during the next several weeks.  Most people are surprised and invigorated by my request.  Why?  Because I have given them permission to take the time to explore and pursue a passion.

We squirm when we hear about people we know who have sought relationships outside of their marriage or otherwise committed partnerships.  And we all know that the new relationships offer excitement, mystery, novelty, etc.   But are these people seeking new relationships, or are they just seeking what they have been missing for so long:  passion.  For many of these people, some attention to the things that they used to be passionate about would bring light and energy back into their lives.

I have not blogged in over one year.  I have been busy with my practice, my family, and my fear of imperfection.  What finally prompted me to write, tonight, on a flight back home after Thanksgiving?  My family and I were having an early dinner in the airport.  We saw an older gentleman, alone, with a walker, and several bags, discussing with the waitress that he could not wait for his soup, as he was going to miss his flight.  The waitress told him he would have to pay the $5.38 for his soup anyway, and if he didn’t, she would call security.  We watched him take out the $5, hand it to the waitress, and then saw him slowly scrounge up the  .38 from his pocket, and leave it on the table.  My heart broke for him.  He wouldn’t have anything to eat before boarding his flight.  I wanted to bring him one of the five turkey sandwiches I had packed for us.  My children encouraged me to do so, but he had already left.  I had the bag of silly sandwiches in a grocery bag, each custom made for every person in the family.  It didn’t take me long to decide.  And as I got up, my daughter noticed that the man left his hat (serendipity:  a fortunate accident).  I grabbed a sandwich, the hat, and chased after the man.  I found him waiting at a gate not far away.  I gave him his hat, and the sandwich, assuring him that it is safe, that I am traveling with my husband and three children.  He thanked me.  What he did with the sandwich, I will never know.  It happened to be the strangest combination in the bag (my son’s order:  turkey, stuffing, and mustard).  But I made the effort, and in that way, I embraced one of my passions:  to reach out, to help, even if I am not involved, or its not convenient.   It makes sense, then, that I got on this plane with new energy and desire to write.

I hope you embrace your passions, even if you left them behind long ago.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cathie Alman
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 15:26:31

    I picked up this article through a link on facebook. I was not aware of what you did outside of being a mom at CBA. This article spoke well to me today. Serendipity, free will, fate, choice and opportunity all come together. “Things” keep pushing me closer to taking up my old passion of practicing art. Thanks for another push. Please add me to any blog email list you may have.



  2. Tweets that mention Do you live with passion? « Erica Cohen Karlinsky, Ph.D. --
    Dec 01, 2010 @ 04:23:04

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