‘The Greeks never wrote obituaries. When a man died, they asked only one question, “Did he live with passion?” ‘
The other day I started thinking about the word passion. I had a feeling that exploring its etymology held a clue to whatever it was that I was trying to understand about it.
Interestingly enough, the root of the word ‘passion’ comes from the Latin word ‘passio’ which means to suffer. Present day interpretation seems to be in complete contrast to its original meaning. At first. The more I thought about it, the more I could feel the idea expanding.
These days we often limit passion to romance or love but it is defined as an extremely powerful feeling and therefore can apply equally to anger, hatred or any other emotion. At one time it was used to describe Jesus, ‘The passion of Christ’, meaning the suffering of Christ. This analogy best exemplifies the more comprehensive meaning of the word. Jesus felt so strongly about his purpose that he was willing to suffer whatever came his way to in order to fulfil it. Similarly, with each of us, passion is the force that drives our life and our purpose.
As we enter the second phase of our life, the more fortunate among us have already ticked the boxes of what society perceives to be successful. We have achieved most of our key ambitions such as marriage, career, a place in our community and material affluence. At this most ripe of times, as one cycle is reaching completion, another is beginning and presenting us with a choice to reassess our goals in an attempt to understand if we are living our most authentic life. Have we locked ourself up in a joyless holding pattern based on the dictates of others or have we yet to experience the sweet taste of freedom; of living a life beyond all constraint? Are we content to rest on our laurels or are we excited to move towards the next stage of our expansion and growth?
What sets your soul on fire and fills your heart with such desire and resolve that you are willing to suffer whatever comes in its wake?
Finding your passion is essential, not only because it gives your life purpose or because it brings you more joy, but because it gives you the power to create the person you choose to become. Passion gives you meaning. Passion is the legacy you leave behind.