After several days of good, positive feedback on the blog entries here, my last post – an experiment in minimalist posting, to some extent – met with resounding silence. Admittedly it was a holiday weekend (still is, actually) but perhaps this topic of Drink while you pour deserves some elaboration. Since it was in both the “practice” and “love” topic areas of my idea farm (I’ve got one, of course, don’t you?) it bears some exploration today.
Sustainability vs. Burn-Out
That’s what the phrase is about, essentially. The problem that many people have with their passion is that they expend a huge amount of energy in a short amount of time. They dive in the deep end, so to speak, and it’s a heady, wondrous feeling.
For a while.
Then what was magical – whether that’s a character in a book, the new flavor of ice cream, or maybe even that person that you just met at the coffee shop – becomes mundane. Or maybe it doesn’t, but you find that you don’t have the energy to appreciate it/them as thoroughly as you did before.
Usually that’s because you didn’t drink while you poured. You are giving something to the object of your passion. It may be attention, it may be consumption, it may be appreciation, it may be support, but you are giving. And the urge, if you’re really passionate, is usually to keep giving, even when what you are giving is your essential self. That’s when people get burned out, when they’ve given but haven’t bothered to take back.
Love is an Unlimited Resource. You are Not.
Thankfully, you are a renewable resource. So the trick to maintaining the high passion as you do the things you love is to find the ways to renew your own energy supply while you are expending it. Drinking while you pour. Yes, you can give your love a massage every morning…if they set up the automatic coffee maker the night before to have it ready for you after you’re done. Yes, you can decide to run the fundraiser for your library’s “Fight the Budget Cuts” campaign – but you need to set up some time to come in early and wander the stacks, undisturbed, to remember why you love books so much that you’ll spend hours and days trying to make them available. You can spend the hours on Facebook farmville, but…no, never mind. I can’t think of a good reason to promote that passion. Let that one burn out.
You get the idea, though? You’re only able to give people and things quality time if you have the quality to spare. If you’re not taking the time to refuel, in whatever way you can, then you’re not giving them quality anything. You’re just flailing around, going through the motions, and wondering why what used to seem so magical is now so mundane.
Look for the Power Packs
Video games have given us the simple metaphor for this practice: the “health pack” or “recharge.” If you’re into violent first-person shooter games, it’s when you aim to the side and reload. These moments are all around us, if we find them. As I write this, for example, there are several “recharges” going on around me:
- Lux Aeterna, a beautiful piece from the movie Requiem for a Dream, is playing on Pandora
- I have a view out the window in front of me of Seattle covered with an evening fog, a soft, gentle graying of the horizon as the day gracefully slips away.
- There is a warm mug of Illy coffee freshly made next to me, sweetened with raw sugar just the way I like it.
- There is a warm blanket over my legs, while my arms are out in the somewhat chill air of the house, and the contrast is quite invigorating.
These are kind of mundane things, and perhaps you’re sitting there wondering why I’d find them recharging. Doesn’t matter! They aren’t meant to recharge you, they are what sustain me . Go find your own! I promise you, they’re all around you, all day – you just have to recognize them, experience them, and let them feed your soul.
Good luck! Let me know what feeds your passion as you pour it out into the world.