This was just one of the intriguing questions posed by author and speaker Gregg Levoy yesterday during his talk on “The Nature and Nurture of Passion.”
Merriam Webster defines passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” Levoy speaks of passion as the “impulse towards growth… what stirs your interest in life… maximum aliveness.”
He started his talk out by sharing the story of his own mother, one of the first women on Wall Street, who having lived a life of passion and active involvement for all of her life, started progressively disengaging and losing her zest for life in her early sixties. He described his efforts to inspire, cajole, motivate, entice, and encourage her to try this activity and that, all to no avail. He reluctantly had to come to terms with the fact that he just couldn’t do it for her.
This all rang close to home, as his struggles sounded alarmingly familiar to my own efforts to help my aging mum get her mojo back. It got me wondering… what happens? Is this loss of zest for life inevitable with the passage of time?
If we look around, there are thankfully plenty of shining examples of inspiring elders who prove the contrary. And there are also many of us, elderly or not, who seem to walk around a bit disinflated.
So, where does our passion eke out of us? What defeats it? What drains our energies?
Maybe it’s the big things in life – a challenging health problem, a job that sucks the life force out of us, a relationship that is no longer right for us… those biggies we all seem to come up against at one point or another, that demand big bold actions to reverse the course.
But often times, states Gregg, it’s the little things. The habits of our own mind. The thought patterns that we have fallen into by default, absorbing the negativity, fear and cynicism, which are all too pervasive in this era of media bombardment.
So, as Greg invites us to fall in love with our own lives all over again, let’s start by simply becoming aware of where our passion and zest for life are being drained. Let’s take a little inventory and start to pay attention. Just noticing is the first step. Naming it.
Here’s one I found after not too much mental detective work.
A tendency to fret.
About silly things.
That never actually happen like I worry they will.
That’s my energy vampire.
So, new habit. Next time I find myself fretting, I am going to remember EWOP: Everything Works Out Perfectly.
What about you, darling reader, what zaps your zest? And what will you do instead?