Dear Passionate Spirit
Words by A.K. Carroll
Dear passionate spirit,
Before you begin this message, take a moment to breathe, really breathe.
Inhale. Pause. Exhale.
Now do it again.
Today has already been quite a day, hasn’t it? From the moment you woke, grabbed your phone and started scrolling through snapshots of marvelous mediocrity and over-styled experiences, to the late-afternoon revelations you had while commuting home, your feet pounding the same pavement as executives and evacuees, the ignorant privileged, distant distracted, and fraughtful forgotten. You thought of their footsteps as you took your own, and you questioned, yet again, what you’re doing with your life.
It must be difficult to feel so deeply, to so easily be stirred into a whirl of empowered emotion by the whispers of distress or the hints of a sell-out.
That is part of your strength, you know. That fiery passion and emotional ebullition, that utterly stubborn spirit that serves as a framework when the rest of you waivers, when the rest of your heart wants to melt in the flame.
Your desire to live out of authentic conviction and to pour all of your life into something good and right and altogether meaningful is something I admire about you.
I like the way you go off the deep end when you’ve developed a new conviction. Like that time you read an article about artificial ingredients and then purged your apartment of scented candles and soaps. That month you stopped shaving. That year you ate vegan.
You aren’t afraid of taking a stand. In fact, I think you prefer it. You listen to your heart. You voice your opinions. You matter. And you make what matters to you matter to others. You speak for people who don’t speak for themselves. You are a champion. An advocate. You are someone I want on my side.
It is really beautiful, your ability to live from your gut, to dance in the firelight, to dance even in the fire. But sometimes, friend, I wonder if being drawn to the flame means you miss out on the lowlight in which the rest of us live. I wonder if your dogged pursuit of authentic experience keeps you from the miracle of daily making marvelous of the mundane:
The mundanity of drinking a crappy coffee from a styrofoam cup and giving thanks for the blessing of hot liquid on a winter’s morning; of making small talk while waiting at the checkout of a supermarket; of sticky fingers and smudged faces eating PB&J in the sandbox of a park; of a walk around the block — just a walk, and nothing more; of talking about the weather; of reading the comics on a Sunday morning.
This is the ordinary of life. The stuff of suburbs in the summer. It is subtle and soft and predictably stable. And I wonder, my fiery friend, if it is not a bit terrifying to you — this concept of normalcy. I wonder if you shove it aside in pursuit of your passion without taking a moment to consider what you’re missing.
You want to tumble and soar and make a mark in the world, to live full of fire, to transform with feeling. But the impact you offer will only be as broad as your experience. To truly touch people, you must start by seeing and sharing their stories, regardless of the glamour with which they take place.
Be who you are. Be all of who you are. Dance in the dimness as well as in the flame.