Last week, I was having a conversation about passion, and how we try to understand people that claim they’re not passionate about anything. My friend said something along the lines of, ‘think about what makes your heart leap’. And that stuck with me.
I think about my interests all the time as one of my main focuses is to turn them (and my hobbies) into a career, in order to enjoy my life in a way that sustains me. However this question made me look at passion in a very different and refreshing way.
I understand that many people want to have a passion, but perhaps there are stories behind why it lacks in their life. For example, their creativity being stamped out by parents, depression taking over, failure, etc.
So I think that considering what makes your heart leap is a better place to start. Words like “passionate” and “hobbies” feel so rich and loaded sometimes. Perhaps words like “interest” and “like” are better. Let’s start small.
Now, I know that “what makes your heart leap?” is loaded in itself – it’s descriptive and metaphorical to an extent (some things really make your heart skip a beat), but I believe that when considered, something that makes your heart leap can be as simple as the following:
- Going outside when the rain has stopped because the air is fresh
- The smell of food you like
- The person you’re in love with
- The thought of your past, and how you have improved over time
- Thinking about and planning your future
- Talking to someone who actually listens to and understand you
The list can go on and on. Passion and hobbies do not have to be overt and tangible things. They can be thoughts and feelings that make you feel at peace, even if it only lasts for a short while. There could be much more that you’re interested in than you give yourself credit for.
What makes my heart leap is looking at plants and the sky. I’m not even the best at plant upkeep – I just appreciate the parallels between plants and humans, and it feels special to hold a plant in my hand – as if I’m holding myself. The sky makes my heart leap because it scales my world down for me and takes me past immediate worries. It’s free art that I can capture and look at without limits and reservations. It is harmless.
Though you can note plants and the sky as my passion, I think they fit more correctly into the list of things that make my heart leap. And what I do with that information is down to me. I don’t even need to have much of knowledge about these things or turn them into something productive. I just like and appreciate them. If I wanted, I could use them as inspiration for a novel I will write in the future for example, or I could let it them spark research into the outdoors – I could learn the science of the sky and consider how to live a life that harms as few tress as possible.
There is so much attention to be paid to what you are interested in, what you get excited about, what makes you feel a bit happier when you are down…
I know that depression makes it hard to see these things sometimes. And when you’re in it, you can only hope that you’ll feel something ever again. But I know that there are things that everyone likes. And whatever yours may be, perhaps you just pay little attention to it because it feels so small and insignificant.
But it matters. Pay attention to yourself, and your heart. Appreciate what makes you feel good and hold it close to yourself. Likewise, be okay with these things growing and changing into things you could never imagine. Notice and sustain the leaping of your heart. Identify what makes it leap and keep it as a piece of paradise close to yourself.
I am reminded of a poem that I read on the tube, from A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson:
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.
What makes your heart leap?