My girlfriend loves everything about horses: brushing horses, photographing horses, riding horses.  She loves watching other people ride horses. This love affair with horses has been with her since she was a child.  Being around horses, elicits such a strong feeling of love and joy around her.  When she sends me her photographs, it stirs something inside me, a vicarious thrill as I see the majestic animals through her eyes. Passion is powerful that way.

On Facebook, I’ve noticed a friend who I haven’t seen in years, post photos of fishing. His face is lit up in every picture, proudly displaying his catch.  Judging by the size of the fish and his accompanying post, he must be approaching expertise in ichthyology, if not formally, then by pure passion.

Another friend, later in her life, has become a painter. Beautiful, colorful, expressive photos of her art proudly displayed for all to see.

And yet another friend is a lover of flowers.  Her garden bursting in color and scent, staged like a Monet impression.

Cooking, gardening, traveling, reading, golfing, running, volunteering, music; activities people pursue to enrich their lives, to add meaning beyond a career.

Or perhaps these interests have been incorporated into careers of the most fortunate among us, like Julie Kay Kelly Photography.  This Stanford and Colombia School grad morphed her career in journalism to be an award-winning photographer featured in magazines like Modern Luxury, Style Unveiled, Style Me Pretty.   From the time she was 11 when I first met her, I knew she was destined for a life of happiness. Julie has never been short on passion in her life.

When asked about my passion, I get rather agitated and have trouble coming up with an answer that satisfies me. I like to do so many different things. Then I realize, passion is a feeling, a compelling emotion, a desire.  It’s not an action.  I feel content when I’m gardening, happy when I’m cooking, ecstatic when I’m serving the food I prepare and fulfilled when the souls I feed are happy and enjoying a long, luxurious meal prepared with love.

When asked about passion, a better question may be, what lights you up? What fills you? What can’t you live without?

Look within to identify something that elicits a strong, powerful, satisfying emotion. Pay attention to that and work to incorporate that into your life as often as possible.

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