If we scan the human social landscape for what we could loosely describe as “the adult world”, we see so few of us who have retained our passion. Somewhere on the journey from childhood to physical maturity many of us have lost the passion and unbridled curiosity of our youth. Our once white hot passion transitions over time to a smoldering ember. Some of us hiccup, belch and scream as we slowly fade to ashes in our twenties and thirties. Those of us that have replaced wide eyed wonder with mind numbing routines and stoic mediocrity might look out at the few that retained their passionately engaged in life and wonder; ”What special talent do they have?”
Albert Einstein once said; “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” He didn’t think of himself as smarter, just more persistent. It is true that the things that keep the fires of passion stoked in us change over the years. Candy bars and swing sets give way to more adult appropriate tastes… perhaps sports, hobbies or social groups. While breast milk and warm embraces satisfy our needs as infants, our needs grow and diversify as our body does. If we do not embrace these new forms of nourishment, such as the need for significance – to provide something of nourishing value in the context of the larger community – we starve. If we fail to shift from a self centered locus of identity to one based on embracing the larger community of life as we mature, the once vibrant canvas of our life become painted over with the dull tones of suffocating mediocrity.
Those of us swamped by the waters of ritual, that have lost the meaning – draw our last breath as we sink beneath the surface of the excruciatingly mundane. To realize our potential we must learn to actively participate in feeding our hungers in the context of our changing nutritional requirements as we mature. This includes our need to be of value as well as to receive value in the context of community.
The fact is; reality is a big place. As living creatures, we face many challenges that require bravery, focus, discipline and sacrifice. The upside of these otherwise daunting challenges is that they afford us the opportunity to engage in purposeful and meaningful activities. The downside is engaging is not optional. A passive approach to life is not an effective strategy to be satisfied, much less realize our full potential. We must take an active interest in life, including our own nature, and translate that to something of value and meaning. For this to happen we must cling to our passion and curiosity as if our life depends on it, because… it does.