Monday, July 7, 2008

Ten passions—ten? really?

My friend R has just returned from a five-day retreat focusing on the theme of happiness: remembering what you are passionate about and trying to find ways to make that a priority in your life. She seems, well, happy. So I am intrigued. But it's hard for me to remember lost passions, let alone make them a priority, because I don't think I have ever had any.

The retreaters made a list of 10 things they loved doing and then looked to see if the one at the top of the list was truly No. 1 or whether there was something they'd left off the list that should be on it.

I am cowed by the notion of coming up with even, say, five passions, let alone 10, and the passions that come readily to mind—my children, my yoga—I dwell so intensely on already that I think it would be unwise to make them more of a priority. My children would rebel. My yoga could probably handle it.

There are things I enjoy: eating, shopping, crossword puzzles, movies, reading, socializing, writing. And then there are my addictions: and other cancer-related blogs. No passions. Am I allowing myself to be derailed by a question of semantics? I don't think so.

My friend H and I spent Fourth of July together watching the fireworks and talking about our lives. H's marriage broke up after she discovered that her husband had been leading a double life, living part time with another woman and colluding with their mutual friends, including her best friend, to keep it a secret from her. Her beautiful sons are not doing well—one has dropped out of college and seems to be dealing drugs, and the other, after a year of chronic truancy, is in a private residential high school for troubled kids. Through it all, H has tried to live in accord with her values while at the same time being alert and tough enough to avoid being taken advantage of by her kids or her ex. On the Fourth, she said matter-of-factly, "I think I'm losing the will to live." She meant not that she was on the verge of taking her life (unless I misunderstood her) but that her attachment to her life was diminishing. And I feel something of the same phenomenon. It's not that I'm depressed. I just feel a certain lack of, well, passion. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Though it doesn't feel like a particularly good thing either. It's just a new life stage.

1 comment:

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Well, I'm not going to comment on the losing the will aspect of the post, because that requires deeper introspection and I'm too tired. But I was curious enough to dig out my list from the retreat so I could show you what I wrote, since I had almost no idea what most of them were: one was writing and two was performing and really they should be number 1&2 togther. Spending time with Zoe, Steve and the dogs are 3. Traveling is 4. Walking - anywhere, across the bridges, through the parks, on a beach, anywhere in nature or in the city -I love to walk and wander. Next came riding my bike.

This one I give the title "being of service" which means keeping up with politics and working on campaigns. Number 8 is meditating. Love it. 9. Reading. And number 10 is my combo happy meal of dancing,singing,listening to music, going to theater, movies. And 11 would be eating! Does this make any sense I took an ambien.

And then the last thing we did after that was to write your 100th birthday tribute (written by someone else) - what you would want people to say about you after a hundred years of life! Mine was completely crazy! I cured every terminal disease, not by myslf but through all the contributions I have made with all my success, and also I ended hunger and even better and bigger- with my COUNCIL FOR WORLD PEACE - the end to war!! So you see how great this retreat was! NO MORE WARS.

(I just took an ambien, so that's my problem.) Sorry.