Passion’s precipice


Lima, Peru: Photo by Barb Besteni


Sometimes inspiration comes to me in the form of an article’s title.

It happens so much, I no longer question this somewhat backwards way of following my muse’s calling. But I’m often stuck for days staring at a blank page, trying to find words that support the title.

I was sitting at a red light the day after Christmas when “Passion’s precipice” jumped into my head. I waited for more, but nothing followed.  Realizing that my muse was leaving this up to me, I turned to her cyber counterpart.

This morning, Google came to my rescue.

At the very top of a Google search for the meaning of passion, I found this:


  1. strong and barely controllable emotion.
  2. the suffering and death of Jesus – crucifixion, suffering, agony, martyrdom

“This is going to be interesting,” I thought.

Think passion and — let’s be honest — you think sex.  Indeed, sex is all about strong and barely controllable emotions. But passion is much more than hormones.  Passion is meant to color every part of our lives, from our careers, to our relationships and everything in between — and, of course, sex.

Fulfilling our purpose on this planet depends on injecting passion into everything we do.  Remove passion from the equation and routine sets in. Apathy soon follows, leaving you unfilled, bored, depressed and cranky.

If you’re experiencing these feelings in any area of your life, chances are you’ve lost the passion that was once the guiding force behind it.

How do you regain passion for something — or someone — once you’ve lost it?

First and foremost accept that you can never go back.  You can’t force the excitement and feelings you felt the first time around.  That’s the mistake most of us make, longingly looking at the past, comparing it to our present, and wondering what it means for our future.

Perhaps a better question is: How do you keep passion alive?

Passion is an emotion that stirs parts of your being — sometimes dark parts — that you didn’t know you were capable of.  Those emotions can be deliciously overwhelming.  But they can also cause you much suffering.

Welcome the darkness … the unknown.  Embrace it.  Break bread with it.  Let it guide you to the deepest depths of your soul.

In “Dark Nights of the Soul,” Thomas Moore refers to the emotions that passion stirs — jealousy, envy, fear, rage — as “temporary insanities.”  But are those emotions the result of passion?  Or are they the byproduct of suppressing the passions that stir within our soul?

Those who chose to live lives of quiet desperation dabble only in passion’s positive side.  They will never experience the sense of purpose that lurks deep beneath the surface of offering themselves completely to passion’s pain.

Sadly, when going beneath the surface gets too scary, quiet desperation seems the better alternative.  And too many choose the safety of the known over plunging into the unholiness of the unknown.

But the unknown holds the key to the sacred.

Only if we’re willing to suffer, be crucified, suffer pain unlike anything we’ve ever known, and offer ourselves as martyrs to passion, will we ever hope to become what our Creator expects us to be.

When standing on passion’s precipice, there really is only one choice.


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