Passion or Purpose?

By: Dr. Tim Sams

I hate moderation. I hate doing things moderately. I hate having to be controlled, mature, and disciplined. I don't want to moderate how much I eat or drink. I don't want to be moderate with sex, or playing, or vacations. I don't want to moderate what I say for fear it will offend. I don't want to do what's "good for me."

I DO want to have a second piece of pie because it tastes good. Sometimes, I do want to have hot sweaty sex at night and again in the morning because it tastes good. I want to run to the roller coaster at Disneyland with the rest of the nine-year-old boys. But I can't.

The pie is bad for my weight and cholesterol. The morning sex will disturb my exhausted, sleeping wife and negatively affect my marital relational love. The other parents at Disneyland will think I'm weird.

We all know what moderation, control, and discipline really means. It means, "I don't get to have what I want. I get to watch other people have what I want; and seem to get away with it.

I get to convince myself that raw vegetables taste as good as a Krispy Kreme. I don't just delay my gratification, I simply don't 'get no satisfaction.'"

I know I need to be somewhat moderate, disciplined, and controlled to live life effectively and for a long time--both of which I want. But what about the juice of life--passion? I love being passionate. Does passion have room for discipline and moderation or does it eat them? Does sensual, hedonistic, glorious pleasure have to wear the belt of moderation? To quote McCauley Culkin, the font of wisdom and good choices, "I don't think so."

Part of the wonder of new romances is doing things "over the top;" being infatuated and going with it through cards and flowers and three hour phone calls and getting into work late and tired. Real passion for something makes other things seem like white noise and static. Passion almost demands that other stuff be put aside so you can be excessive. For a year, I wrote most of my first book Stepping Stones, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. and on weekends feeling possessed with a sense of needful urgency to write. I'm ashamed to admit that it was great even though I didn't spend as much time with my family.

As I look back, I think the times I've been happiest in my life, I have been obsessed and passionate about something: school, a woman, building my career, exercise; the occasionally sublime nexus moment I talk about in Steppingstones. At these times, I am almost never moderate. I don't always feel out of control; but I am definitely excessive with my priority, big time; making everything else number two; figuratively of course.

Are passion and purpose something you have to balance? Or does being passionate help you with your purpose and vice versa? If you try to balance hedonistic passion and mature, effective living, are you cheating yourself out of both? Can you hurl yourself into the moment and be moderate?

I need to go now. My spinach salad and diet 7-UP are getting warm.

Light and Love,

Dr. Tim Sams

My Sacred Journey

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