Living Your Passion
The Rev. John A.H. Tomoso †
“To live one’s passion” is to be fully alive as the person God intends for you to be. I know that this takes patience and courage and more than a modicum of understanding; of understanding yourself, especially as you live within the midst of others who are also trying to understand themselves!
Let’s say that living passionately starts with believing in yourself and what you can contribute to the world around you. As a Social Worker, I subscribe to the theory of the “Person-in-the-Environment” or “PiE” which social workers use to assess a client’s reality and need for casework. Your being, your personhood, is really defined by the environment you live in or with. I’ve written before about how life is about relationships; relationships that help shape and mold us into the person we are becoming; which is our “personhood.” So the environment we live in; our social, political, cultural, economic, educational spiritual relationships are very much a part of who we are and can never, in my opinion, be separated from who we are, how we define ourselves. So in “PiE” I find my passion. In fact, I have several passions. I like to live through all of them. Just so you know, living passionately is not always a joyful thing!
“To live one’s passion” is to understand that who you are is very much dependent on others. As a Priest, I know that I am very much dependent on who I am, in relationship with God, who is my maker. I know that God is moving, through all of my environment and relationships. Perhaps a new way of thinking about how to live passionately, is to understand that God, as Creator, is in charge of all things; of all relationships. In the Episcopal Church’s Collect for Purity, which is part of the Opening Rite of the Eucharist (Mass), we pray and invoke a God for whom “all desires (are) known, and from (whom) no secrets are hid….” To me, this speaks of segueing into a way of life that is lived passionately. I say this because I know that God is in charge and that nothing can be hidden from or unknown to God. God knows that our “passions” may not always lead to good things!
As a Social Worker and individual who derives much pleasure from knowing, working and relating love to people, all kinds of people, I know that my passion (for life) is derived from the passions of others, good or bad. God knows them all and, in a sense, I derive my hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations and passions from others. This for me takes patience, courage and understanding. All of this is not only about me but more importantly about others I have relationships with, some of which are not that good. So “PiE” comes into focus for me, more often than I care to admit! A colleague once told me that PiE was like his favorite apple pie which he always baked from scratch. And each time, he used a different kind of apple. Each pie had a different texture, a different color, a different flavor. But each pie gave him tremendous satisfaction. He opined “But I can’t quite separate the crust from the filling because the filling changed the crust.” To “live one’s passion” is, I believe, eating the whole pie, not knowing how each ingredient affects the other, good or bad. But the ingredients do affect each other. Living one’s passion is about all the ingredients of a pie made from scratch. It’s about believing who you are, knowing that others do affect you, positively or negatively.
This brings me to the Latin root of the word “passion.” It means “suffering” or “enduring.” So at its core, “passion” is a form of pain that demands to be quenched. Thus “to live one’s passion,” I believe, is about pursuing a life from which pain is mitigated or even absent. If God is in charge of all things, even our passion, then God will quench our pain. Kababayan, live passionately with me; with pain mitigated and/or absent. At this time of the year, see living passionately and how others pursue their passion or quenching of pain, as the way of love; as your way of love! Love is true to living one’s passion. Love is how you can “live one’s passion.” Come to think of it, when I was young, we went “mountain apple picking” to assuage anything that was causing us pain. Going into the forest, into the mountains assuaged many things for me as a kid. Ah, “to live one’s passion” can be like going into the forest to pick mountain apples. There was no pain when we went “mountain apple picking!”
Have an idea or a comment or even a question, contact me at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, take care!
Rev. John A. Hau’oli Tomoso † is a Social Worker and Episcopal Priest. He is a Priest Associate at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wailuku and an on-call Chaplain at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Tomoso was graduated from St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School, the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology) and Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (Masters of Social Work). In 2008, he retired from the civil service as the Maui County Executive on Aging. Tomoso is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. His wife Susan is a 7th grade Language Arts Teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School.