Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pursue Your Passion

One of the most important things any person with depression (or any person at all, for that matter) can do is pursue something they are passionate about. Finding something that makes your eyes light up or your heart beat a little faster helps shake off the film that depression casts over your brain. I also believe that many of our passions come from God. After all, all good things come from God, and if we are passionate about something--if it makes us feel truly good--then it is probably a gift. So start a blog, climb a mountain, learn a language, volunteer. Do whatever it is that helps you remember you are alive! It might be scary at first, but the focus and the energy you'll find inside you wil be worth all the effort you put in.

For me reading/writing is the passion that brings me back to life when I need it. My writing is in limbo at the moment so I started this blog and challenged myself to read one book each week for this year. I've now read 16 books this year. Here are the most recent (if reading is not your passion then I give you permission to scroll to the end of this post):

Book 11. The Shadow of the Sun by Ryzard Kapuscinski. This book chronicled a Polish journalist's career as his paper's Africa correspondent over the last 50 years. Kapuscinski somehow managed to be at the epicenter of every major revolution on the continent. Reading his accounts and observations was riveting. I found it incredibly sad (so many things go wrong in Africa! It just isn't fair!), but also motivating. The Church humanitarian programs provide so many opportunities to help people all over the world--especially in Africa. Just in case you need a nudge to make a difference, here's the link to the current humanitarian service needs.

Book 12. Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom. Every good thing that has been said about this book is true. Everyone should read it! Everyone should buy it! I recommended this for my monthly book club and we had such an awesome discussion. It was marvelous.

Book 13. The Undertaking: life studies from the dismal trade by Thomas Lynch. This book surprised me in every way--which I suppose shouldn't have been surprising given that it was written by a mortician/poet. I came across it through a Frontline episode on PBS. The author was unbelievable frank about everything from the weirdness of embalming his own father to the mess of suicide to the especially vivid flatulence one gets after eating bad curry. He also had a knack for bringing poetry to places that we assume would be bereft of rhyme and reason. A very good read, but I must warn you, brace yourself for thoughts you would never have thought of yourself!

Book 14. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. This is a classic and I'm pretty sure I'm the last person in the universe to read it. So good. And so deep. I guess I need to read it again before I could organize anything interesting to add to what's already been said.

Book 15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. I guess I liked this one. I didn't not like it. Although, I did spend a lot of time while I was reading it trying to imagine how I would have felt about it if I were a ten year old girl. The conclusion: I would have liked it better.

Book 16. The Fattening of America: how the economy make us fat, if it matters, and what to do about it by Eric A Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman. This was pretty interesting. I really like the way economists look at the world; it just seems remarkably realistic. Anyway, this book put an economist's twist on the obesity debate in America. Not only was it funny, but it was quite informative. For the two days it took me to read it I was the sugar-police in my house and I put a little more effort into getting my kids to eat their veggies. If a book can do that it must be well-written!

Anyway, for all you readers out there (all, you know, five of you) what are your passions? What makes you feel alive enough to get out of bed in the morning? Post it here so we can all encourage each other!


Charlotte said...

I love your list of books - gotta get the Hallstrom one! As for my passions - I think my problem is that I have too many! I need to narrow down the list. Probably the ones I'm focusing the most on right now are fitness, nutrition and writing although not necessarily in that order. Actually, yeah, probably in that order;) Also included these days: bread baking, reading, rock climbing, reading, scrapbooking, reading, dancing and... reading. Thanks for the encouragement!

Tim Malone said...

Wow! I'm impressed that you have been able to read sixteen books already this year. That takes determination and discipline. Congratulations!

Passions for me are a two-edged sword. I hate disappointments. Sometimes, when I get passionately involved in a project, I find that it takes longer to produce the results that I had anticipated.

That can be somewhat disappointing and therefore discouraging. You provided a key to success when you added the word pursue. A pursuit takes time. A pursuit usually involves a mental picture of the desired outcome - a vision.

A dancer sees the beauty of the dance in the mind's eye and then sets about to create it. A writer has at least some idea of the end result - the book, the article, the blog post or the blog comment.

I too am passionate about reading and writing. It consumes me. I spend every waking moment in the pursuit of knowledge and writing about it. My tech job and tech blog pay the bills but my other blogs provide the passion.

My vision provides that passion. Someday I envision a connected world where those with similar interests can immediately find others with whom they can share those interests. The internet, the web and blogging are a good start.

The problem with blogging today is that it is still so hard to find people with similar interests. You would think that just by starting a blog, the readers with similar interests would just flock to it.

Not so. It still takes marketing. Just like writing a great book is a wonderful and rewarding thing, but without marketing, who will know about it to buy it and read it? So what is the secret to reaching all those who share your passion?

Sorry for the long comment. You asked a fundamental question about human motivation that has always intrigued me. Vision - work - patience - enthusiasm - sharing - passion - results - success!

Laura said...

Charlotte--you are do have a lot of passions! And you are quite sucessful at all them--judging by your blog :) You go girl!

Tim--I can tell you have thought long and hard about this idea. I really like your points, especially about sticking with it. It does take vision and hard work to turn a passion into something bigger (i.e. like a book or a money-making blog). I think that with passions, though, it is a about the journey. The process, which will include disappointments, should be part of the fun.

Oh, and good for you for having a blog that helps pay the bills! That is quite the accomplishment!