Human beings crave experiences that take us beyond our everyday routines. If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now. We need to go beyond the ordinary from time to time and get caught up in something that feels bigger than we are. Getting beyond our sense of individual isolation that feeds our souls.
What are you passionate about?
Spiritual experiences are often felt in the body as a subtle connection between the physical self and the emotional self. It can feel hard to explain to others; we may even feel a little embarrassed trying to describe what we are feeling. Modern English doesn’t have good words to describe these experiences. Probably the best word is transcendence – a sense of moving beyond our isolated selves and into deeper connection with our entire self, other people or the world around us. We feel moved to a higher level. It’s hard to explain, but we know it when we get there.
There are things we know about how to live passionately. Finding the right balance between living in a highly energetic state on the one hand and being well grounded on the other is important. If we live out of a place of being highly energetic but not too focused on reality, we will eventually crash and burn. On the other hand, living all wrapped up in reality but with little gusto is at least as bad; there may not be a dramatic flameout, but life itself has little exhilaration about it. That’s a problem for those of us who live too much in our heads. We rely on our intellect to help us earn a living; it feels like safe territory for us. But the intellect alone won’t take you where you want to ago.
Living passionately requires us to really be in our bodies. That’s why physical stuff like dancing, running and other aerobic activity creates that high sensation. We feel alive! Doing things that wake up our bodies can feel great and help us move past blocked places.
Creativity is another key to passionate living. Gay men are famous for creativity, of course, whether it’s cooking a fabulous meal or painting the Sistine Chapel. What do you do to let your creativity out?
Paying attention to the sensual world is another key to waking up our passionate selves. What fragrances do you notice as you read this? What do you see all around you? When we slow down and take time to experience what is going on in the world and in ourselves, we can find a universe of delight all around us. Slowing down isn’t always easy. That’s why things like massage or meditation help some men get in touch with their passionate selves.
Perhaps the final key to living passionately is to stop settling for less than we truly want in life. Understanding our desires isn’t always easy. Some desires change from moment to moment, some are hard to put into words, and some are, well, a bit embarrassing. That’s OK. Someone once told me, “The space for what you want in life is occupied by what you are settling for right now.” What are you settling for in work, intimate relationships, and the rest of your one juicy life?
Passionate living is much easier if we make a commitment to getting as much as possible out of life. It requires a bit of self-understanding and a bit of self-discipline if we are in it for the long haul.
It’s important to understand that while we may long for more aliveness, passion and ecstasy, there is another part of us that is scared of living life without holding back. That critical voice inside us says things like: Who the hell are you to think you could do that? You’ll probably die if you let go. Better to stay put and not think such extravagant thoughts. So that part of us tries to distract us.
"If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now."
John R. Ballew, M.S. a licensed professional counselor in private practice in
What I love about Italians is their passion for life. I love that they get angry and voice their opinions openly. I love that they touch and feel and aren't afraid of emotions and spiritual connections. I love that they can love. These feelings can all be combined in minutes within the same conversation. I feel we aren't passionate enough in our lives. We become too reserved, to removed from others, too beyond touch and connection.