at some point you learn that your passion is not your bliss. or your bitch.

 

 

Passion isn’t nice.

We forget that.

We try to find “our passion” like it’s some cute and feisty pet.

At some point you learn that your passion is not your bliss. (Or your bitch.) It’s not anything so tame as what you might like or enjoy. It might bring no enjoyment at all — which doesn’t make it less compelling.

Passion is subversive.

It is your willingness to suffer for something (or someone), to risk the sacrifice: stability, peace of mind, happiness itself.

The color of passion is the color of blood. It marks the lovers and the rebels. It steps out of culture, jumps class, overturns tradition. It puts your house at risk.

It might lean in —

— to burn it down.

It strips you in winter. It picks at your scars and leaves you to shiver.

Passion won’t listen to reason. It transforms. It is hellbent.

It alienates you from those who no longer know who you think you are or where the hell you think you’re going.

(Do you know where you’re going?)

It knocks you off the path. (It was the wrong path.)

It makes you start again: the friendless city, the salary cut.

Passion has an edge of war. It points to what we want so much that we’re afraid to want it. The ambiguity of hope. The fear of not getting. The fear of getting.

It requires us to change when we’re so far from ready.

It returns you to your wounded place, the trauma you try to deny. It is the injustice that calls you to crusade. It is the loved one you lost, and now must save through saving others: from cancer or violence or addiction or corruption.

Passion lifts you high and drops you. It strands you on a rocky coastline, in a country whose name you can never pronounce.

It breaks up the stories you pretended weren’t broken.

It doesn’t care that you’re unprepared.

Passion stands behind you with a mirror. It wants to show you who you are.

All you need to do is turn around.

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Apr 20, 2015
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55 comments · Add Yours

All you need to do is turn around.

And embrace that part of you, which you have been fighting all your life.

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Thanks Justine! Thought provoking in a way that reminds you that you’ve taken your eye off the ball! Just shared this on my page.., as we all need spirited reminders!

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Passionately argued. Pure poetry.
I feel glad I found my passion a bit after I found my skills.
Not that there were no stumbles or sacrifices… oh there were
and still are. More mistakes and adventures are sure to follow.

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YES! Following what I must do seems like a dream come true from the outside. That doesn’t make it easy from the inside.

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oh yes! uh huh !! mm hmmmm!! true! ahh the agony and the ecstasy!!

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Thanks, Justine. Very well stated. Your clarity is quite impressive! There’s nothing to add. Am passing this along to my change management clients.

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“It returns you to your wounded place, the trauma you try to deny. It is the injustice that calls you to crusade.”

EXACTLY what I needed today! Thanks.

Part of the painful beauty of our creativity is going through a hell, and then learning to sit on its edges and objectively explore it without falling in.

Lovely and strong – this piece…

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And without passion, life will be dull; maybe not enough to make you desperate, maybe you’ve found a way to have just enough distractions to keep that voice at bay. Maybe you’ve found a fault in how it showed up so you rejected it, and now sit on the sanctimonious justifications and vilanize the agents that triggered that Passion… But it will always feel incomplete, itchy and somehow mediocre.

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Brilliant piece! Couldn’t agree more. Thank you! X

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Wow. Powerful words.

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Hi Justine,
Hope you see this message, a single question is killing me it’s making me mad,I can’t concentrate on any thing not even on eating.
My Question goes like this: Why should we work this hard to build a virtual world that contains all these computers,all these polluting vehicles, these deadly weapons that destroy our planet, why can’t we just be like normal homo sapiens rather than this totally advanced human who does nothing but chase over a virtual goal of nothing.I am totally confused how this world works.
Please message me back as soon as possible.That would help me a lot and might guide me to my true goal

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This is pure brilliance, Justine! I feel so much passion in your words and there is so much wisdom. Passion breaks the boundaries, makes you go out on a limb, paints life with bright colors, sharpens dull edges and removes the drapes from fading hope. Sadly, passion is what most of us lack these days.

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Where the fuck have you been all my life!?!

I was thinking of that question just the other day. “What is my passion?” And of course I was trying to com up with ideas that made me feel fluffy inside. But then I started thinking and actually looked up the definition of passion. I was blown away. Passion is an raw, uncensored reaction to something. You cultivated in a way that I need to hear. Thanks for sharing.

I found you through your Quora answer that Business Insider wrote about.
You are an amazing writer!

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makes me understand why i don’t eat, shower or sleep when i am in the middle of a project – passion has won over my rationality. thanks for so elegantly writing this. it gives clarity to my drive.

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Yes. Exactly. It’s so entangled with what we fear the most, it’s almost impossible – at least in the beginning – to separate one from the other. I know nothing that requires more guts than to open that door and let passion enter, knowing that it will disrupt everything, it will wreck the place and, ultimately, heal what’s broken.
Thank you, Justine. Your words are brilliant.

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Each verse admires, slicing the definitions

Hey Justine!
Have you drunk the whole glass of passion!! And you let it to write its own axioms..
Once Celine dion had drunk, and still People get drowned
When “My Heart Will Go On..”

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You are so gifted and talented. Your words are inspiring and you are brilliant.

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Phenomenal. This has been the unarticulated maelstrom, the recurring song that has pulled my strings for most of my existence. Beautifully put Justine, thank you.

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Wow. Powerful. Thank you for sharing.

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As a (not totally unrelated) sidenote, do you practice meditation?

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This knocked me off the path!

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I’m officially hooked.

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May be we should just respect different people’s character.There’s a Chinese old saying “For you that’s arsenic ,For me that’s honey”.

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Great piece Justine! Following your passion while working at a fulltime job and raising a family is a struggle and a guilt trip, but you continue to press on, even when your end goal looks so far away. Passion dangles the rewards of your pursuit like a carrot on a string, a mirror like you said that will show you who you are and what your life could be like. You cannot ignore it or shut out the voices. Your passion doesn’t care about your excuses and time constraints. It is unbridled and you must trust in it and yourself. :)

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I do. Makes a big difference in my life.

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Passion combined with meditation strips all the fear/ego/extraneous feelings – what remains is pure zen passion.
Which kind do you practice?

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Loved it. Same sentence as Adrienne got me.

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I feel compelled to push myself further in my vlog when portraying ideas especially as I just spotlighted “passion. That cute layer you mentioned caught my attention as I do realize it is more the color of blood. Well described!

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Hi Justine,

Just wanted to say that I loved your TED Talk! I can SO relate to what you were saying.

I’m working on an article in which I’d love to include you.

In one sentence, what do you believe to be the purpose of life?

So far I’ve received answers from Penelope Trunk, Chris Guillebeau, Steve Pavlina, Barrie Davenport, and several others and I’d really like to include you.

Keep rocking!

Maria

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Wow. You just described what I am going through right now.

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Passion is found in helping others succeed. Would you be able to help others succeed by passing on a message? As a passionate entrepreneur, I’m interested in interviewing Elon Musk and willing to give $10,000 to the charity of his choice if he agrees. Thank you :)

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I consider myself to have always followed my passions.I consider it to be a useless thing without self awareness. You can be wired from childhood trauma to passionately want the wrong men, the wrong girl friends who sweetly undermine you, the wrong career, and to re-enact what you were conditioned to do by people involved your development, who didn’t care.

I’ve had passions, too, that didn’t hurt me or revisit trauma. I do those ones now.

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Great idea to turn that worn phrase upside down. I read somewhere lately, but did not take a note, that emotions are the defenders of your needs. Passion is a super-defender of a big need.

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Thank you Justine from the bottom of my heart. Every bit of it is enlightening !!

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“I’ve got to tell you and some of you might not like to hear this but when you are right in the midst of it, the question is not what are you going to do with it, the question is what is it going to do with you?” ~

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Your writing never serves to inspire.

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Then go somewhere that does inspire you! Life is too short to waste on blogs you don’t like.

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That’s why we call it Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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@Charles Sometimes the ball is a distraction.

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Heh, this is amazing.

I’m in the middle of chasing passion right now. Everything about my life is falling apart in some way or another, just landed in a new city a few weeks ago.

But you just gotta see where the rabbit hole goes, right? I cant have dove down this far just to back out.

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I can’t believe I came across this after what I wrote in my first journal entry, “It alienates you from those who no longer know who you think you are or where the hell you think you’re going.” This gave me quite the profound revelation. In my journal entry, I mentioned that I did not feel a strong level of interest in any subject yet. I think I am intelligent enough to take the time to find my passion, yet I don’t take the time too, which is why I started the journal. In retrospect after reading what you wrote, I realized that I haven’t wasted a second of my time in “not discovering my passion”. A big part of who I am is formed from the love I give and receive from my loved ones. If I became too concerned in discovering my passion, I’d let it consume me one day to the point of alienating the ones I love most. This in turn would rip that big part of me away. Not to say that I won’t work my ass off, I just can’t let that change who I am and embrace that by turning around. I want to thank you for giving a 19 year old some clarity of mind. I hope all that I wrote made sense; if not, I am going to use the “I’m 19 card”.

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@Daniel M.
take the time to* I just can’t let passion change who I am; but instead, embrace who I am by turning around. *

I’ll use the 19 year old card for any other grammar mistakes.

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Yes… Yes. Justine, I never comment on blogs – but damnit this is spot on. I wonder have you read Emerson’s “Heroism”? I’m only one person, but in me many of the same cords were strummed here. Wonderful.

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So passionate and personal. I couldn’t wait to hear the end… I felt like you were talking directly at me.

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@anonymous
Hey there Anonymous.
Sorry to hear about your existential crisis – I know how much it sucks.
James Gleick wrote a great book called ‘The Information’, which I thought answers your ‘why’ questions about humanity’s progress. As species, we’re not perfect, but parts of us are excellent.

cheers,

Anna

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Straight from Paul Coelho. I like the western culture. But in the matter of love and marriage, highly successful people suffer terribly. The males seek variety of partners where as females long for security. It is the kids who suffer the most. A divorce is a death of a small civilization.

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i keep writing & deleting & redrafting my comment in response to this, suffice to say, this post spoke to my soul.

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Every time a comment happen, every time I read this article again, its really a song of soul..

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Resonance! Passion is an animating energising force that compels you relentlessly towards your purpose. It is encoded in your DNA; beyond logic and reason. Resistance is futile. A roller coaster ride of dark lingering despair, suffering and destruction rising into short fleeting moments of sheer joy, wonder and exhilaration before descending again into the Hades. And with each rise and fall we are transformed – each time a little more brilliant, a little more wiser, a little more empowered. And with each alchemical wave of metamorphosis, comes the dawning realisation that I must turn and face the mirror. There is no escaping your Shadow Self. Passion is the animating force that brings about the union of the opposites – a marriage made in heaven! Some people never get to experience their passion; they exist, conform and lead comfortable but unremarkable lives. Living is about embracing the lows and the highs, overcoming your fears and conquering your personal demons to ………

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Hah! Great piece of prose, there. Hits just about every point that needs to be hit.

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Absolutely BRILLIANT!

I’ve been avoiding something b/c I’ve been trying to use the logic, “well, if it’s my passion/calling, then it would make me happy, be fun.” And literally just today, I realized: Nope. Not so. And we can spend a very long time trying to substitute the pleasant things, and sure they’re nice but…still the longing. Today in really coming to that, I really got how one’s deepest calling can be very difficult emotionally, but that it will always gnaw inside you if you ignore it.

So in coming to all that, I came to your site today because I remembered you point about that in rules for writers, and I wanted to get your wording of the ‘it will chafe and grow inside you’ point (which is so very true). And then I found your perfect essay on the other part of my realization. Such beautiful serendipity.

Thank you!

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When you discover something you love, it begins to wind up with a huge part of your life. Truly passionate individuals find ways to fuse their work into every aspect of their life.

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I feel like I have been fighting all my life, and now at 35 I still have no clue where I am going or what I am doing. I try to follow my heart and do and act upon what I feel it is telling me but there is always something missing. I search my thoughts in nature, or when everyone is in the bed or when I go to the gym, but I can feel nothing else that I can be doing.
A lot of times I feel that my soul is lost, but at the same time, I have always been different and never been accepted by society or religion. That has taught me to shame whom I am or to feel like there is something wrong with me because coming from a small town in the south I did not want to be someone’s slave at marriage. I spent my entire teen years up until I left Mississippi to prove my self to be as good as a man and capable of the work that they can do. Now in life, I am confused I am ready to settle down and to learn how to be a woman and I have no clue where to start because I still feel that there is something wrong with me.
I have been through a very serious addiction, lived through 3 divorces, served in the military, and was the first woman in my community college to take diesel tech and machine shop tool&die. I currently work in the field of tech support which is also predominately men. I have a woman that is dying to come out losing a mother at 13 there has to be something wrong with me not knowing how to act and dress to be a woman and still do the things that I enjoy which are a challenge in the man’s world. Any advice or places to go to study these things I would love to access if you or anyone else has them available. I am tired of being ashamed of myself.

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