“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela
Red tides, disintegrating starfish, endless ocean garbage, entangled whales, relentless drought, and raging wildfires. This is life in my front yard. Dramatic earth changes are the new normal. We’ve crossed the line and there’s no turning back. The only way to inspire transformation is to fearlessly dive into the tough conversations that inspire radical action.
It’s one thing to be aware of climate change while living consciously to minimize consumption from a deep sense of caring. It’s an entirely different experience to live in the eye of the storm. The earth changes are happening faster than I could have ever expected. The future looks grim. Apathy, despair, and indifference are the greatest contributors to everything ugly in this world. Blind optimism is ignorance in drag. Distraction reigns supreme. Ignorance is bliss. Denial is god. The human mind has been conditioned to normalize the abnormal in order to maintain the status quo. The conversation is no longer about preventing climate change, because it’s too late. The conversation now is how to consciously navigate a dying planet in a world that doesn’t care.
Death and destruction have only just begun. That’s an absolute. We can no longer prevent the collapse of this world. And quite honestly, why save it? It’s far too broken and we’ve long outgrown the antiquated, destructive story of consumption. A new story must be created based on what lives in our hearts. It’s time for the demise of everything ugly that has led to the great forgetting of who we authentically are. Religion, education, media, technology, factory farming, animal abuse, fracking, oil, the commoditization of nature, politics, money, corporations, misogyny, conformity, compliance, consumption, judgment, indifference, competition, fear, culture, patriarchy…separation. We must return to simplicity, love, truth, co-creation, collaboration, creativity, courage, purpose, passion, and the essence of who we are. In this remembering, there’s no room for the separation from life that has disconnected us from our souls.
As the fires rage on across the ocean inlet from my home, I realize that fire is a metaphor for my life. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, I was born to walk into the fire and create something better. I am a transformational warrior, navigating the breakdown with the only “weapon” I know – love.
I’ll admit that there are times I feel such deep grief in my heart for the unconscious destruction of everything that I love; I sometimes wish I were no longer here. But there’s a powerful force within that drives me through it all. That force is love. The fuel is passion. I love life. I love animals. I love the natural world. I love planet earth so deeply that I cannot not work for change. I believe in the essence of humanity – not the conditioned version of who we’ve allowed ourselves to become – but the deepest core unchanging essence that remembers that we are not separate from life; the beautiful part of us that remembers that we are no better than the plankton, worms, bees, flowers, trees, chickens, cows, rats, and pigs.
Virologist Jonas Salk said it all, “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”
Our collective separation from the web of life has earned us this grim reality. But this quote also speaks to the most important truth of all…
We are not separate.
When we remember this important spiritual fact, the floodgates of passion open. Passion is what carries us, lifts us, and fuels us with the courage to challenge the status quo, demolish boundaries, speak out against injustice, and ultimately, create a new story for the world.
Passion is the willingness to go out on a limb and risk it all for love. Passion is not your bliss. It’s the outspoken renegade in a culture of conformity. Passion is conviction, inspiration, and truth.
Passion is love on fire.
We can only know the expansiveness of our love when we know the confinement of our grief. We can only know the breadth of our joy when we know the depth of our despair. We can only know it all when we trust in who we are. Passion is the portal to the soul.
Passion tells is like it is. It doesn’t care to make friends. It burns through illusion so that truth can rise from the ashes. Passion doesn’t play nice because it doesn’t give a shit. Passion is the universal life force saying, “Let’s kick some ass!”.
The question is not, “what is your passion?”, it’s “where is your passion?” Passion is not a thing, it’s the voice of your soul.
Fear speaks; passion acts. Passion weathers the storm no matter how hard it is. Passion is the warrior within, eager to express the truth of who you are.
We are all being called to wake up by planet Earth, and she needs our voices now. As Joanna Macy writes in her book, Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age, “When your heart breaks, the whole universe can pour through.” We must allow ourselves to be cracked open, standing naked and raw, available for the authentic expression of passion to spill forth from within. We are all being held accountable by dramatic earth changes that can no longer be ignored.
The only way to meet today’s challenges is not to use yesterday’s solutions, but to dare to think the previously unthinkable, to speak the previously unspeakable, and to do what was previously out of question.
Open your heart, unleash your passion, and fill the world with your magnificence. Considering the state of the world today, we can settle for nothing less.
Live with passion. Live with purpose. Change the world.