The best thing about seeing Julie and Julia this weekend was being with my sister Susie, my brother Eric, and my sister-in-law, Julia. All of us laughing and crying together felt unifying and potent.
The next best thing about seeing Julie and Julia was watching a film about two women who lived their passion. We all should be so lucky to do the same. What is life about if it’s not finding your passion and living it?
Notice that to do so is not easy but even through all the work, one’s soul is satisfied, always.
Both chefs learned, cooked, wrote, and then published. They forged ahead despite life’s vagaries and disappointments. By the time they reached their destination, their journey meant something important.
One of my childhood acquaintances has decided like several other artists to complete a small painting every day. Every week I check his website for the treat I know will be there, often scenes of places I know in Eastern Oregon. Sometimes he paints onions and other vegetables, but those are my familiar friends too.
In 2006 I wrote a poem every day about whatever I saw before me no matter where I was.
What happened to me, besides my pride of accomplishment, of actually doing what I said I would, was that I fell in love with our natural world. Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty. Every day I awoke with joy anticipating what wonders I would witness if I just opened my eyes and looked. Looked with intention. Looked deeply and long.
Finding a poem every day wasn’t easy. Living where we normally have 200 days of rain per year, I strained to find different ways to describe rain, clouds, and wind. How many shades of gray are there, anyway? Traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, and Central Oregon that year I got a break from the bleak coastal weather from time to time, but all too soon, here I’d be again trying to describe what I saw.
Day after gray day seemed the same, so I was forced to search for the one thing that was different, unique, or awesome.
Summer was more fun because of my garden. One plant came up when another left so there was always something to talk about. A new insect here, a giant slug there.
That year of poems has given me my own weather and planting almanac. I can always check the dates on each poem to see if the peonies and dahlias are blooming at the same time. I know exactly how old the cherry tree is now. I can find out how long I have to wait for the first daffodils to appear. I know how much wind, rain, and snow we had and can compare each passing new year to 2006’s poetic calendar of events.
Some of the poems I have entered in contests and won awards. The garden-based poems I plan to assemble in a chapbook. My favorites of the year I will collect in a book entitled, En Plein Air.
Every week I sent seven poems to my family and friends if they wanted to see them and the most amazing thing happened. They also began to really see outside their own back doors in depth and I started receiving their poems. None of them are poets by vocation. They are engineers, teachers, escrow agents, housewives and students. They became poets by watching and sharing their images with me. Sometimes a second can be spectacular. Our everyday life is so filled with beauty they had to tell about it. My passion inspired a passion in them.
When I’m around others who live their passions, I can feel a humming excitement, a connection to my own soul. I think that force is love connecting us all.
Passion is crucial to living well. Living your passion means honoring a commitment to oneself, saying I believe I am important enough to follow this through to the end in order to find satisfaction.
Living your passion means loving yourself and in so doing, love discovers you. Even in the rain.