Overcoming passion's cyclical waning

I was responding to a comment Jorgeq made on yesterday’s post, Seven reasons why I stopped blogging just now, when this hit me.

Jorgeq said

“blogging changed from something I enjoyed doing to something I was supposed to be doing.”…I couldn’t have phrased it better myself. I stopped for an entire month and it certainly does feel like another job.

I responded

…it’s interesting; a week or so ago I realized that the passion for blogging had left me. I know that passions come and go in cycles, so I forgave myself and relaxed, knowing it would only be a matter of time before the passion came back. And wouldn’t you know it, a few days later I was writing like crazy.

I’m bringing this up because it’s an interesting look into how crazy we can make ourselves. See, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to relax in the face of difficulty. Up till now, I’ve tortured myself by holding myself up to an impossible standard.

In the past, I never would have been able to relax faced with a loss of interest in the very thing that I need to sustain my business. Instead I’d have panicked. What’s different about this time is that I’m starting to succeed at living in the present moment. Asking myself “what’s the problem at this moment“, I realized that there was none; work is busy, I’m madly in love with my wife, my family is happy and healthy, and I have the job of my dreams.

So I relaxed, and listened to what I know: all passions wax and wane. If I treated my lost passion with fear and hatred I would choke it. But if I just let it be, it would come back in it’s natural cycle.

It can be so difficult to listen to what you know. Our minds are so busy throwing chatter and worry at us that we can’t hear the softer voices of our selves. I’m sure that spending all day on the web doesn’t help, what with it’s infinite distractions and all.

I’ve been working towards being able to identify my minds’ chatter without reacting to it. “Oh look,” I’ll realize “those are anxious thoughts”, and I let them go on their merry way. And with that, the anxiety stops and fades away.

The ability to do this resides in each one of us, right at this very moment. The trick is to realize that all those negative, painful thoughts in your head are not you. You are the watcher of those thoughts. You are the space in which those thoughts happen. I’m not trying to sound all new-age on you. But if you take a moment to ponder it, I think you’ll come to that conclusion. Once you’re there, it’s a short skip and a jump to “the human mind, with its ego and prehistoric defenses, causes immeasurable pain”.

Well, maybe it’s more than a wee jump. Most of us have to go through hell to make it. You have to suffer enough to realize you don’t want to suffer before you’ll take action to make it stop. Once you’ve decided to do so, it’s remarkably easy to stop causing yourself pain. Live in the moment. Don’t fight what’s right in front of you. Accept it fully. Ask yourself the same question I did: “what’s the problem at this very moment”. Shake yourself up. Listen to what you know.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (it’s also available as an audiobook from audible).

So the trick to overcoming passion’s cyclical waning is to do nothing at all. To accept that passions come and go, and to relax about it. If you can do that, I can guarantee you’ll be back at it far sooner than if you keep making yourself feel shitty about it.

3 thoughts on “Overcoming passion's cyclical waning”

  1. It’s interesting how desires to blog come and go so flippantly. Unfortunately, readers tend to flock to new locations when a writer goes dark for too long.

    The Wall Street Journal had a blurb on their front page yesterday leading to an article on how going on vacation can be devastating to the number of daily unique visitors. Sure the loyal few (friends and family) tend to stick around but, speaking from recent experience, it can take a long time to build back up a following community.

    Of course then comes the question you alluded to in your earlier post: Does one blog for self or for a particular audience? For me, it’s both I suppose.

  2. I loved your last paragraph. I really buy into the “Do what comes naturally” approach. In my experience anyway, passion comes from doing what you want, love, and crave.

  3. Lurker uncovered. I’ve been following your blog for over a year with all its fits and starts and taken away many bits – from books to music to blog engines. This bit about watching the emotions without reacting hit a chord. I’ve absorbed this notion from several sources but your entry struck me and has stayed in my mind longer than others. Thanks. Who’d have thought that being an adult would require so much re-learning? Keeps life interesting.

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