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Passions

It’s been nearly ten months now since I’ve written anything and I never wrote much before that, on this blog at least.  Today, I was reading a blog about making gluten free cinnamon rolls (http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/) and posted a comment to it. It made me think about some questions that have come up for me lately about passions in life and work.  Since I hadn’t written in a while and had recently decided to start posting again, I’ve decided to also put my post here.  Here it is:  

Just this week I had a bit of a hard conversation with someone, in which they mentioned their concern over a lack of passion in my work. At the time, I was engrossed in other bits of what they had said and failed to take note of that particular comment. But after I hung up the phone, that one sentence stuck with me. It set me to thinking a great deal about whether or not passion was lacking from my work life.

Yes, it seems, with not too much reflection that it certainly is. I like what I do at work, but I don’t love it. Not anymore anyway. I just do it, day after day after day, in drudgery, with only little sparks of light now and then. Today, I sat staring out the window thinking about nothing much in particular, when a woman came into the shop where I was sitting. She started talking to the lady at the counter and asked, “What kind of work or passion does she have there?” That got me to really wondering what are my passions? Beyond what I do, what do I love? What sustains my spirit?

The answer–creating. I love being at home and in the kitchen.  This is the place where my creative energy comes out most freely. I love to create and food, I realized only today, has become my medium. I have not painted or sewn now in over a year. Why, because I’ve been making my art in the kitchen, sharing it not through sight and touch like my other art, but through smell and taste. I love witnessing the laughter and silent moments of contemplation created by sharing even the simplest of treats.

This is why I love baking, just as so many others have said: it makes people happy. It feeds my family and brings a smile to their faces. It nourishes and sustains them. And, it does the same for me, more in spirit than stomach, as I realize more and more each time I open the oven door.

And, don’t tell my husband, but most days, I’d rather play in the kitchen than work in the yard!

Will not complaining actually make us happier,healthier people?  

Yesterday I heard a short show on NPR about a reverend from Kansas with a “revolutionary” idea.  This reverend challenged his congregation of 250 not to complain for three weeks. He passed out purple bracelets to each member, instructing them to switch the bracelet to switch the bracelet to the other wrist if they did complain.  He also extended the challenged beyond not complaining to include not gossiping.  

The reverend who started this trend suggested that we will be happier if we stop complaining.  By complaining about things we can’t do anything about, we are focusing on those things, disallowing them to slip away from the forefront of our mental state. When we focus on what is wrong, we often neglect to focus on what is going right and what makes us joyful.  

Before hearing this radio show, I was being a bit of a grouch on my commute between jobs.  It occurred to me that I’d been complaining all day–about the economy, about my job, about this or that meeting, about loud music–about, well, just about everything.  And, I felt miserable about it.  I decided to give this no complaining thing a test drive.  

I don’t have (or want) a purple bracelet, so I choose instead to use a hair tie around my wrist.  Even in one day, I’ve become much more aware of my tendency to complain.  This awareness has helped me (at least for one day) to restructure my interactions.  I’ve been stopping to think before I respond when asked “How was your day?”  

The guy who came up with this challenges us to try for three full weeks with no complaints.  Yesterday, I switched my “bracelet” about 6 times after bitching about one thing or another but I also stopped myself from voicing complaints several times.  I’m not sure if this not complaining business will actually make me healthier and happier, but it can’t hurt to try it.

Hello world!

Hello and welcome to Catching Fireflies in a Jar.  Since this is my first and only blog, it will likely take me a while to figure out exactly how to use it.  So, stay tuned as I begin to wander through this electronic world…

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