I am sixty nine years old and recently retired from the counseling field. Prior to counseling work I was employed by Ford Motor Co. in Green Island, New York, working on the assembly line for fourteen years followed by ten years as an elected UAW Union Representative and Employee Assistance Professional. For the past fifteen years, in addition to working as a professional counselor, I have enjoyed playing & performing music, as well as facilitating workshops and retreats on a wide variety of human/spiritual growth topics. I am the father of four grown children: John, Michael, Sheila and Anthony, and grandfather of Sean. I currently live in Clifton Park, New York with my life partner, Anne. My Great Passion today is creating community in a variety of ways, including music, retreats, and workshops; and, currently, by writing this book
I’m fascinated at what makes passionate people “tick” and I believe that when a person is in the flow of living the Passionate life with love and compassion, he/she is fully engaged as a human & spiritual being. The stories of passionate people have inspired me to make important changes in my own life so I believe that others can also be moved and motivated by these kinds of stories. That is the purpose of this book. Passion can be contagious! When people are touched deeply and energized in a positive way, amazing things are possible!!
“In whatever you are called to, strive to be devoted to it in all aspects large and small. Fall short? Try again.
Mastery is made in increments, not in leaps.
Be brave, be fierce, and be visionary.
Mend the parts of the world that are 'within your reach.'
To strive to live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give
to the world. Consider yourselves assigned.”
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.,
from “An Assignment for You from Dr. Estés”
I first must make a disclaimer regarding this work. This is not a scholarly attempt to get at the underpinnings of, and the “how to” of living the Passionate life. I leave that to others more qualified than I. Rather, this book will be a collection of individual stories, discussions, beliefs, and thoughts on living a life of loving passion. I hope that those reading this book will be moved to explore their own desire to be in this world in a more rewarding and meaningful way. I’m also confident these stories will reveal a number of qualities/skills/principles that will surface consistently throughout this book, providing some light on the “path,” and a framework of sorts for those interested in discovering and energizing their own passionate pursuit.
Webster’s New World Dictionary describes it in this way:
Extreme, compelling emotion; intense emotional drive or excitement; specifically,
a) great anger; rage; fury,
b) enthusiasm or fondness as for music or nature,
c) strong love or affection; d) sexual drive or desire; lust.
As you can see, Passion, no matter how it’s viewed, includes both strong emotion and drive. Although the emotion of anger, at some injustice done to myself or others, can certainly have a part in the origin of someone’s passion I don’t trust that it becomes a life-giving and truly effective Great Passion until the driving force becomes a love for the activity, and a wish that the effort expended will in some way make the world a better place. I see healthy passion as a state of being, in which one exists beyond the ego’s limits and desires, and in a sense of certainty that what he/she is doing is truly him/her - in every fiber of their being: that within them, while in their passion, they are able to experience a loud resounding “YES”!!! In that moment there is no resistance, but instead an easy flow of energy directed by a greater wisdom from deep within – a knowing beyond words.
So within the pages of Those Who Walk With Fire, those sharing their stories will be talking about this kind of passion that has as its ultimate aim the betterment of the world in some way. We each have a special gift, I am certain, and it may be as simple as devoting a portion of our life to caring for others; being a teacher, a carpenter, an artist, musician, a volunteer, a factory worker or it could be that we have the gift to move many with our leadership, political or entertainment skills. The avenues available for our Passion are endless. Although it usually does not begin that way, true passion eventually will take the turn toward positively affecting others
Below are the questions the contributors were asked to consider as they thought about what they’d like to share in their story. They are meant to be guides and thought-joggers. However I asked them to answer the questions in bold type in some part of their story.
.Describe the Great Passion that you will talk about?
Where were you brought up?
When was the seed for this passion first planted within you?
What drives you to pursue this passion of yours?
Identify any heroes/mentors you might have had on your life’s journey, and how they played a part in inspiring or nurturing this passion in you.
Has your own personal woundedness had a part in creating or energizing this passion?
What is the difference for you between obsession and a healthy passion?
What have you had to do to keep your passion from turning to obsession?
How does your ego challenge you in your Great Passion?
What have you learned is required to live a passionate life?
What sacrifices have you had to make to follow your passion?
What has your passion taught you about yourself?
About life? About the Human Condition?
What have been the benefits to you of living a passionate life?
Explain how your spiritual beliefs impact this passion of yours.
What is your vision or hope of how you would like others to benefit from this Passion of yours?
What would you say to those who say they have no passion in their life but would like to find something to bring greater passion into their life?