Mar 15 2010

The Meaning Of Passion

What does it mean to have a passion?  The word is thrown around a lot, especially in Twitter bios; “I am passionate about…,” is a common way to let people know what you care about.  There are depths to this word, though, that few people think about or really explore.  To wit: Art is – literally – a Passion.

The word, “passion,” comes from the Latin patior, which means, “to suffer or to endure.”  This literal meaning was brought into the public spotlight with the release of Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ.”  As the biblical Christ suffered and endured for mankind, so it was his Passion.  Along the same lines, a lady helplessly in love for a man (who perhaps was not available or near) would suffer and endure for him, and so he was her Passion.  Through instances like these, passion has become synonymous with love and further softened to mean an intense interest or eagerness.

The idea behind having a true passion is that whatever it is that you love or do, it must cause you pain or difficulty, and you must still want to do it or have it.  I do not mean that you crave the pain (that is a whole other discussion), but that you love the passion enough to endure.  If you are passionate about the work you do for a living, you will continue to enjoy doing it even after you stumble or become worn out.  If truly passionate about a task or a hobby, you will even forget to eat or pee and try to ignore sleep while working!

There is, however, an important difference between art and work. Work is done directly for a reward, and its required skills are improved to increase the return.  Art can be done for you or for others but does not anticipate a reward other than the doing, and its skills are improved only to make the doing better.  Where work is done to advance your situation, art is done to advance yourself.

Art, then, with no guaranteed payback to your life, is a sacrifice – a suffering.  I think any artist would agree that you give a little of yourself to every project.  Every song, every painting, every story or article, every glass/metal/wooden/marble sculpture has a piece of the artist within it, like a child born of loving and exacting labor.  And a labor it is; no art comes from ambivalence.  Instead, the best art is produced at the height of misery or overflowing joy – when you have enough raw emotion to give it form.

Emotion by Jane Costa Lima

If art is empowered by pain and difficulty, then truly: Art is a Passion.  Whatever you find yourself wanting to do despite the failures, pain, and struggle, no matter how epic or how trivial, is your Art.

Your Art can be your Work, and ideally it would be.  Try to find that something that you continue to enjoy through the pain, and make it that something that earns you a living.

Try to make your work your passion.

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Photo credits: Passion by Ethan Allen
Day 6 – 365 Days by Shai Coggins



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  1. dianaadams

    >This post is brilliant. I love it. You are evolving as a writer so much and I'm happy I get to watch the process. You rock on so many different levels, truly.

  2. Wade Burch

    >I can't thank you enough for your compliment. You are my favorite blogger in all the internets, and your words mean more than I can express. Thank you.

  3. N.Truhan

    >The passion visible in the expression of your views, have given us a glimpse of how you create your art. And, your words help me celebrate the art I've created. Thank you!

  4. Wade Burch

    >I'm glad you connected with the post. And I'm glad I can help you celebrate your art! Thank you for the feedback!

  5. joycenauertfrancis

    >It is amazing to me, that when one tries to discuss their work with passion, that others look at them as if they were crazy. I love my job, it is a difficult, dangerous, and sometimes thankless job, but love going to it everyday. I listen to my co-workers complain, and whine, and I can't understand why, if they hate it that much, that they come back day after day. More people should read Wade's blog, and realize that they need explore and expand, and maybe, just maybe they will discover what they need to be doing. Great blog Wade, keep it up!

  6. Giovanni Maruri

    >i think PASSION is an intense love 4 somethin.

  7. Wade Burch

    >It certainly does mean that, now. What are you passionate about?

    Thank you, Giovanni.

  8. Giovanni

    >Acting, just like you i guess.

  9. vicky

    Wow!!!  I completely agree with this article! :))))  Art is a Passion for sure!!  It is the height of your emotions welling up within you.  The art that I enjoy most is photography.  I love to take pictures of flowers/ nature and edit them to create a masterpiece!  I love to capture beauty in all its various forms and show how God can take something so simple as a flower, a leaf, or a drop of rain and make it an artwork.  We are constantly surrounded by God’s works of art which he shows us glimpses of… even in a snapshot of life.  In photography, God opens up the shutter -a window of opportunity- for us to marvel at his beatiful creations… for He certainly is a Creator… He created us!  He wants us to use our talents, our abilities, our idiosyncrosies to bring Great Joy to not just our own lives, but to His!  God rejoices in our creativeness because He created us and He LOVES us!!!  Take what makes you passionate in life and make it your reason for living… this is the only way to live full life of love, peace, and harmony in the world around you and with God.

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