Cindy paused in her reading of an article in the New York Times entitled The Right Way to Follow Your Passion and opened the door to the wood stove supplying heat to the small cabin she was currently inhabiting. The coals were gray and when Cindy blew on them smoke and ash blew up into the stove. A few of the coals burned bright red as she blew, but most them just barely smoldered. She knew she needed to add more logs to the stove, but dreaded the trek out to the wood shed to collect the wood. Instead, she wrapped the wool blanket a little tighter around her body and snuggled down into the couch. She’d get that wood right after she finished reading about the difference between obsessive passion and harmonious passion. The differences seemed pretty clear as far as Cindy could tell. Obsessive passion leads you to do things for the accolades like more money, more trophies, more followers, more likes, just….more. Harmonious passion leads you to do things for the shear desire of doing them despite whether or not it makes you famous or rich or popular.
Cindy didn’t quite believe she did things out of obsessive passion. She generally liked taking pictures. So what if she checked all of the social media platforms constantly to see her notifications on recently ‘liked’ images. She wrote consistently on her blog because writing was therapy, though it didn’t exactly feel so therapeutic lately. Cindy felt that she didn’t have anything profound to say that didn’t seem like she was staring at her own belly button, picking out lint. Stale. That’s the word she would use to describe her writing of late. Bland and stale. She was all but writing about what she had for lunch that day and no one cares what she had for lunch. Cindy shivered despite the blanket wrapped around her body. She really should do something about getting the fire going in the wood stove. It would be dark in a few hours and the temperatures would continue to drop. Cindy knew she needed to collect enough fire wood so that she could stay comfortable through the night and not have to go back out later. She grumbled as she tossed the blanket aside and got up from the couch.
Cindy walked over to the door and put on her winter coat. She leaned back against the wall as she tugged her boots on one at a time. The problem, thought Cindy, was not her motivation for the things that she did. The problem was that she lacked passion. Her passion was like the mostly dead fire in the wood stove. It had been raging, with flames flickering hotly at some point in her life. As a teenager, she pushed programs for saving the environment and promoting safe sex with a loud voice. She made t-shirts and posters. She raised her fist in the air! Those were things that Cindy believed in sure, but she also had a fiery passionate belief that she could make the world a better place. In college, that passion shifted to keeping up with her classes and student government, but she really was more of a tag-along with the student government stuff. Cindy just wanted to be around those people and most of those people would end up being life long friends. Some of those people would influence later passions, even encourage them, but Cindy did question if she really had ever even had passions of her own or was once again tagging along on the passions of others.
Cindy stomped through the snow out to the wood shed, dragging the wood bucket behind her. The wind blew the hood of her coat back and her ears froze immediately. Her teeth chattered and she shook her head at her impulsive getaway. Cindy hated the cold and the snow, yet she’d booked herself into a remote cabin in the woods during winter. She should have booked herself into a remote yurt on a beach in Costa Rica. Next time she’d ignore price tags and splurge on the yurt and the beach. Cindy reached the wood shed and yanked the door open. Then she started to load up the wood carrier with logs. She knew not to over fill the bucket so that she could not drag it back to the cabin, but she also wanted to be sure to collect enough logs so that she would not have to stomp her way back out here again. Cindy tossed in three more logs and then tugged on the bucket. It slid towards her and she moved her mouth to the side in contemplation. “Two more logs.” She said out loud to the trees and whatever woodland creature was out in this horrid weather and tossed in two more logs. The bucket was too heavy, but Cindy put all of her weight into it and, struggling, pulled the bucket back across the yard to the cabin.
Cindy opened the cabin door and then grunted as she dragged the bucket up over the lip of the door frame and inside. She stomped the snow from her boots, but left her coat on as she started to put some logs into the wood stove. Passions waned, Cindy thought as she layered the logs in square pattern with what remained of the hot coals in the center of the logs. Passions waned and changed with age and that’s just what happened to her. Granted, Cindy had a strong feeling that most of that passion had faded out after certain life events that she was tired of dwelling on. She used the metal poker to shove the logs together to enclose the hot coals and then started to crumple up newspaper to cram into the spaces between the logs. It didn’t take long for Cindy’s fire to roar back to life. Satisfied, she stood and removed her coat. She picked up the paper and read “find your passion”. Easier said than done. Then Cindy read “Your passion should not come from the outside. It should come from within.” Now, if Cindy could only find that inner passion, she’d be all set.
Cindy settled herself back into her space on the couch. She set the New York Times aside in favor of the book she had brought along with her. The room was starting to warm up from the fire that was now crackling away in the wood stove. If anything, Cindy did know how to build a good fire.