Passion Versus Peace

In the midst of life’s challenges and desires, there is always a subtle pressure to seek and do more whether we are aware of it or not. If people stopped doing things, what would happen to the world? Let me rephrase that – what if people stopped doing negative and destructive things and replaced them with positive acts and deeds? Good news instead of bad news. I think a lot of the choices we have and end up making in life depend on the quality and focus of our intention – what do we intend to happen?

Feeling restless and discontent is something I really don’t like feeling. I am not a person who finds it easy to settle down. I always have to be running around, doing new things and challenging myself. ‘This is too easy, I’ve conquered this, I need a new challenge, what can I do now?’

Is ‘easy’ a bad thing or does it simply mean we are not trying hard enough or pushing ourselves in the way we should? Perhaps we have all learned to fight contentment as it could mean we have nothing left to strive for, no more goals on the horizon. When people ask me what I’m passionate about, I don’t know what to say. I love life, I enjoy learning and exploring everything it has to offer but I don’t have this fervent desire brooding inside of me that seems to be needed to achieve things.

In a world where we all have to be passionate and driven to do well, is it any wonder we all feel restless and constantly worn out? Feeling and experiencing passion is amazing though. It really gives us the determination to succeed at what we do. The only problem is – it burns out very quickly sometimes. Rather than being passionate about what you do, I think it is better to love what you do instead.

Life seldom works out the way you thought it would. Plans and dreams tend to waver off course, just like a meandering river, the journey of life carries us through the choices we make. There is only the destination we choose for ourselves which means – life is in our hands. There is energy behind the flow of the river. If we combine our energy with a focused intention, we find more often than not that we will be able to achieve what we want. But that’s just it – what do we want?

Desire, lust and passion are intensely seductive and they have the power to consume and destroy. You can be enslaved by your desires and ultimately destroyed by them. Look at any addiction. (Watch Star Wars). It is filled with Zen wisdom! I don’t know what I prefer really. To be peaceful and content or to be passionate and driven. All I know is – I cannot have both. Perhaps we all go through phases where we prefer one over the other.

Love stands the test of time. Look at successful relationships for example – if love is the foundation, you will go the distance. Building a relationship on passion in life is like trying to build a house on a stormy sea. It just doesn’t work. The waves are turbulent, volatile and guaranteed to throw you all over the place. In a relationship, it may be exciting for a while but the excitement is eventually overtaken by exhaustion and tiredness as you try desperately to hold on to the passion which is energy – energy cannot be restrained. It changes from moment to moment. You cannot hold onto to it.

If there is anything in life we could say is certain is that nothing ever stays the same for long. Even if it does, eventually things will change. It is the nature of the world we live in. People come and go. Lives change and people grow. Surely to stand still is to stagnate? Like everything in life, it depends on how you look at things. If you feel stuck, perhaps it is all do with luck….

‘I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.’

(Ecclesiastes 9:11)

This says it all. So much in this world is uncertain even if we do plan things. Life can give you a hand that you didn’t expect. Time and chance have their role to play. Chances come and risks can be taken but you can still never know what lies ahead of you if you do take that leap and if you don’t. To me, contentment, happiness and peace are the main goals of life. What you want may not always be what you find. It could be better or worse than you originally intended depending on how you look at things. Are we all simply just ‘putting up’ with things and settling for less than we deserve in life or are we actually happy? Now that is a tricky one…

I’m going to go with peace.

Christina McDonald 2014.

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The right time…..

“Excuse me, do you have the right time?” That’s one of my favourite questions. Someone is always sure to ask me on my way to work. That, and directions to the nearest tube station. I don’t know. I haven’t got a watch. I just look at my mobile phone. 4.45pm, 2.15pm. 10.00am? There’s lots of time to choose from. Keeping time is cruical. We don’t want to be late. Late for work, a dental appointment, our kid’s school play…you could quite easily say that time means everything. There is not an unlimited amount of time in the world that is given to us.

Time is life itself I suppose and it is incredibly precious. I am always very conscious of time and it isn’t just because I’m getting older. My training as a flautist at university years ago brought the concept of keeping time into great importance…and I never wanted to keep the beat. I always wanted to wander and improvise! Not much has changed for me really. I still love wandering along my own way. Clocks dominate our lives. Every second, every moment, every hour, every day. Late, early, on time. When is the right time?

Life seldom goes to plan. We plan so much in the hope that things actually do go to plan! With schedules, intense oganisation and five year plans, ‘when I’m 30, I need to be in this position, I need to have my first child, I need to be placing a deposit on a property’. I used to get so worked up about having a plan until I realised that very little ever goes to plan.

In fact, if I was too rigid about being organised, I would miss some of the wonderful opportunities that ended up changing my life. Serendipity can’t work its magic otherwise. Of course, planning is a good thing. We’ve got to make a path through life somehow that makes some kind of sense to us. It’s always good to keep a map in the rucksack….

It is a bit scary I admit to go through life and not feel as though you know what you’re doing. My mid twenties were some of the most confusing and lonely times in my life. I didn’t have a clue where I was going or what I really wanted. What made these feelings worse was thinking that everyone else knew who they were and what they were doing.

I was lost in comparison with others. The truth is, nobody can ever really know exactly what is come. It was very unsettling at the time I remember. I felt like some kind of crazy woman who pretended her life as a freeelance musician and teacher was well planned.

I couldn’t even plan if I was going to be able to pay rent next month and eat. Time back then, seemed like it was being wasted! There is something very reassuring about having time structured to the marching beat of intense organisation and planning.

Looking back, I feel that all my experiences were worthwhile because it enriched my life somehow. I met great people I would not have met otherwise and I had experiences I would not have imagined possible. Even though there were times I felt my life was a chaotic mess, there was still something important to be gained from that time spent ‘lost’ if you will.

If we do not allow ourselves to be lost for a while, we can’t ever find the way. Some of the most glorious moments on life’s journey is discovering a path you would not have travelled if you had not allowed yourself to drift for a while.

Quite simply, the right time is right now. Just make the most of every moment that is given to and don’t stress about finding the path. I don’t think the path can be be found really. The path will take you when you start walking…

© Christina McDonald 2014