Passion(s)

There are theories that state that all of our emotions are truly different iterations of one, large wave of feeling. Eros. Passion. You either live with it or stifle it. Love and hate aren’t opposites but are, rather, positive and negative fluctuations within one body of expression.

A tiny, lighthearted example of this exists in my daily life with memorizing texts. I detest having to struggle through memorizing a paragraph that is only familiar to me. I relish, however, being able to recite a long string of sentences that I know by heart. It would be inappropriate for me to think that I don’t enjoy memorizing things. Quite the opposite: I feel very strongly about memorizing; and have to ride an emotional roller coaster to get it done. The 30 minute memorization-walk I have each morning on the sidewalks of my neighborhood must make me look “touched” as these extreme feelings are hardly masked. These feelings (the detesting and relishing of something) are intricately connected to my desire to do a good job.

Ronald Rolheiser addresses this perspective in the early pages of his book The Holy Longing:

Whatever the expression, everyone is ultimately talking about the same thing- an unquenchable fire, a restlessness, a longing, a disquiet, a hunger, a loneliness, a gnawing nostalgia, a wildness that cannot be tamed, a congenital all-embracing ache that lies at the center of human experience and is the ultimate force that drives everything.

Allowing ourselves to be taken by storm (thank you, Sommer Austin) by this “desire” within ourselves is rare. So rare, in fact, that as a performer, I am having to learn how to do it. My memorization practices, for the time being, are serving up that education.

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