Sep 16, 2009

Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Keeping the Passion Bucket Full

Keeping the Passion Bucket Full

There really are just two kinds of relationships you have with friends.  The first is one that you continue to maintain out of some sense of obligation or inertia; you know, “but I have known him for 20 years, he was the best man at my wedding.” type relationship that feels strained.  Then there are the relationships that you don’t really seem to maintain.  They are just there.  They are with friends with whom you seem to connect with once every few years.  You are genuinely glad to see each other.  Maybe you spend some time catching up and reminiscing but you probably spend more time just ‘being”.

I submit the difference between the two is fairly simple.  It is not much different than what kills any relationship.  The passion is gone.  I have come to realize that al of my relationships have the same common denominator.  My friends are very, very passionate about life and some pet project they have sunk their teeth into.  As a result our time together is not spent gossiping or complaining but rather reveling in the things that bring us joy.

Case in point: my buddy Phil Celia is someone I have known since High school.  I love to write, Phil loves to act and sing.  Every now and then our paths cross.  Sometimes we go years without seeing each other but we continue to fuel each others passion.  

I had a chance to see Phil last weekend where he did a gig at some little mid-town cabaret in New York, the Metropolitan Room.  Phil loves singing Sinatra.  He got a great jazz trio to back him up and for an hour every now and then he gets to love into his passion.  Now no one will confuse him with the second coming of the Chairman of the Board but there is no mistaking he loves what he is doing and I get a kick out of just seeing how damn happy it makes him.  Interested in checking him out?  Go to

When you reduce life to that level of simplicity, it gets pretty easy.  

            I have a similar but markedly different relationship with almost all of my friends.  My friend Larry who lives out in Oregon has spent years studying to be a shaman.  We maybe get together once ever five years but the connection is instantaneous.  I don’t fully grasp everything he has been up to but I can connect to the joy it gives him.  Likewise my friend Spencer and the simple pleasure the two of get from wasting away an afternoon playing Risk.   

            Think for a moment about how much lighter your life would be if you spent your time connecting with the people who are passionately pursuing something rather than just surviving?  Now of course there is a fine line between pursuing your passion and being narcissistic.  I think the key is in figuring out how you can enroll your friend into your world.  That, of course, requires that you listen and not be so obsessed with the pursuit of your passion that you shut everyone else out.

            Some other basic rules:

·         being passionate about doing something is much easier to share than being passionate about possessing something

·         you don’t need to necessarily succeed at what you are passionate about, in fact it probably helps to be indifferent to whether or not you are any good at it

·         Notwithstanding, the point above, you need to be indifferent to constructive criticism.  Don’t be defensive when you receive it, welcome as someone’s attempt to swim in your pool. 

·         Be equally generous in giving and receiving.  No one what’s to be in a space with some one who is so single minded that the others in the room feel they can’t be heard.  The passion game is like a good tennis match the harder the serve, the crisper the return.

Life is after all just a game and we all deserve to be playing it full out.



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