Passion and Purpose II

By Jim Selman | Bio

I’ve been thinking about why I’m not generating the kind of passion and purpose that I have had in the past. What occurred to me is that when I was younger, my ‘work’ or the cause I was working for was something that I was attached to. I mean ‘attached to’ in the sense that my point of view at the time seemed to be ‘the’ way or ‘the’ truth and, with all the energy and confidence of youth, I charged the barricades and felt empowered and inspired by the certainty that I was on the ‘side of the angels’ and a new world was coming.

I realize that today I still care deeply about many of the same subjects and issues, but I am not attached. With age, I have come to appreciate that there are many interpretations and pathways and that none of us ‘knows’ for sure which way is the ‘right’ one. Most likely they all work if enough of us are aligned and working together in a spirit of good will and willingness to listen generously to each other’s views.

After the last two years of ‘passionate’ political debate, I am a little ‘hung over’ from all the rhetoric. Now I want to just step back and give the new administration a chance to get their organization in order and make amends with my conservative countrymen for all the negative judgments I have been putting out during the Bush years. It is now time to draw a line in the sand, declare this election to be a defining moment and then get to work on the mountain of problems before us.

I don’t need to ‘feel passion’ to be passionate. I can be passionate as a choice while still being relatively unattached to specific methods, timetables and even outcomes. My passion can be a product of my vision and my respect for others and not just an emotional reaction to the circumstances—even when the circumstances seem noble or ‘heady’. I declared my purpose a long time ago as being about empowering others to achieve their dreams and to live in a world of possibility. This is all there is, and it’s great.

Eldering is about ‘Elders in Action’ and being an Elder is about working with others in the community to take the best actions and wisest course available for them. At the end of the day, I don’t want to ‘get’ anything from a workshop like the one we’re designing. I want to experience a workshop designed for me to give what I have learned and to validate what I have accomplished—no matter how modest that might be.

© 2008 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.