Lessons from my household energy supply, part one: harnessing passion

My partner and I are lucky enough to have our own 2.5kW wind turbine feeding our household electricity supply. It stands there, just 6 metres tall but still magnificent, moving with the wind and providing us with the power to run our computers, heat our water, cook our food. When it produces more than we need, the surplus goes into the national electricity grid; when it produces less than we need, we get the extra we need back from the grid. Since it was set up four years ago, we need do nothing but watch it twirling. It’s a passive system.

Passion and energy

The word ‘passive’ has the same root as the word ‘passion’ – they both come from the Latin verb ‘passio’, meaning to suffer, to allow or to undergo. Passion is something we undergo, something that happens to us, just as the wind happens to the turbine. Also like the wind on the turbine, our passion, when it happens in and to us, can provide us with energy, but we need to use it, to harness it.

When we have power cuts, usually because high winds have caused trees to fall on electric cables some miles up the line from us, our connection to our wind turbine is severed. It is one of the most frustrating experiences I have had, watching our wind turbine spinning around at high speed, producing the equivalent of three times our day’s electricity needs, and none of it reaching us.

Getting cut off from our passions

This is what it’s like when we’re cut off from our passion, when we feel ashamed of it, or embarrassed to show it in public, or when we just forget about it. This might be because we’ve been told from an early age that we can’t make our passion central to our lives or ruin will follow, or because we’ve shared our passion with someone who matters to us and they’ve ridiculed it. It might be because our passion is so close to our hearts, or so big, that it feels too scary and risky to fully connect with it, to allow it to power our lives. It might be that our passion just gets buried under our everyday work and worries, so that it seems a million miles away.

When we’re cut off from our passion, it’s still there, it’s still spinning away – like that wind turbine – but we can’t access that amazing source of energy. Sometimes, we’ve been cut off from our passion so effectively and for so long that the parts of us that are fed by it have shrivelled. Sometimes we’ve been cut off from our passions so effectively and for so long, we don’t even know what those passions are.

Do you know what you’re passionate about? Can you feel the potential of that energy, lying within you?

Passionate about…

I’m passionate about people finding their spiritual path, the practice and community that allows them to feel their place in the Universe, at home in their lives and aligned in their actions. It fills me with joy when I meet someone who has found this, and with awe when I’m able to help someone on their way.

I’m passionate about honouring, including and knowing myself as part of the more-than-human*, all-species tribe* of all beings, whether human, animal, vegetable, mineral, spiritual or elemental. Remembering this life-wide connection and relationship grounds and settles some deep part of me.

I’m passionate about the magic that happens when people come together in love, and consciously dedicate themselves to each another, to their deepest common purpose, and to supporting one another through thick and thin. Every wedding ceremony, every ceremony to accompany a civil partnership, every hand-fasting I’ve conducted has been a sacred monument to joining.

What are you passionate about? How can you allow your passion to energise you? Let’s talk about it.

Related pages: Spiritual path-finding, Weddings and Civil Partnerships, Relationships.

* I first came across both of these phrases in the work of David Abram.

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7 thoughts on “Lessons from my household energy supply, part one: harnessing passion

  1. A very interesting post thanks Elinor!

    Firstly I must say how jealous I am (in a good way!) of your wind turbine. I know that (when the power lines are up at least) I would find it so satisfying to look out of the window and see my power being created in such a sustainable way and so close to my locality. I am a huge believer in forging a connection with the land you are on and really recognising how it sustains you but I hadn’t connected that to Windfarms until now.

    Secondly I hear your words on living your passions, I have always kept my work life and my “real” passions very separate and whilst intellectually I have always known this to be a bad idea for the soul, it has only been recently I have been seeking to integrate the two aspects so everything in my life is living my passions.

    • Antara, I’m glad that’s in-a-good-way jealousy! I agree with you completely about the necessity of connecting with the land on which one lives. I have learned more – spiritually and magically – from living in this valley than from any number of books and workshops.

      Don’t be too down on yourself for keeping your work and your passions separate for so long – it can take a lot of courage to bring such a personal thing as passions often are into public view. I’m a big fan of integration, but only when the time is right. All power to you in living your passions in your whole life, now!

  2. Wow, what an awesome post!

    For the first time in my life, I am putting my heart and soul into my passion (writing and serving others, mostly in the area of health). You helped me put words to this feeling that I absolutely HAVE to do it: because if I don’t, it’s just not going away! My turbine’s just gonna go right on spinning even if I ignore it, so I might as well plug on in. 🙂 I also really appreciated how you said that sometimes we feel embarrassed by our passions. Embarrassment is, by far, my biggest barrier in fully expressing my passions.

    Thanks so much for writing and sharing this, Elinor. I’ve already shared it on Twitter and I know I’ll go back and read it again.

    • Thank you 🙂

      I know what you mean, about having to do something. To me, that feeling is like being poked in the back by the Universe! The other thing about being disconnected from all that energy, is that it can make us ill. I’ve struggled with managing my energy my whole life, and I think a lot of it is down to having been afraid and/or embarrassed to really work with my passion.

      On embarrassment, I saw a programme about a woman learning to be a stripper once, which had the greatest break down of the word: “I’m bare assed.” In the programme, the coach told the young woman that she had to ‘bare ass’ her audience, and seize control of the situation. I’m not sure trying to ‘bare ass’ our audience is always going to be appropriate, when we’re not literally stripping, but the feeling of being naked and vulnerable when we bring our passions into public view is, I think, at the core of that feeling of embarrassment.

      Learning to surrender to that vulnerability and find the power and strength in it is really hard, ongoing work. Maybe I could write about that soon…

  3. Such a great metaphor! And I love that you returned to the roots of the two words to find their common ground. Passion is such a complicated emotion, but at its root, we do experience it as something that takes us over, takes us for a ride.

    I’ve always been passionate about using my innate talents to help other people live their inner lives better, and I just started making it my business to do so. It’s only been two months, and I’m already feeling the wear of living in my passion all the time. But it’s a good wear. I just need to learn to balance it out with more passive, relaxed time.

    • Hi again, Ellie, and thank you 🙂 You’re right: passion can be wearing as well as energising – harnessing things is about riding them, not letting them ride you. I don’t know if you know the Tarot at all, but if you do, harnessing energies always makes me think of The Chariot.

  4. Pingback: Harnessing passion: valuing and managing uncomfortable feelings | ahamsa

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