Once I was in a delicious little town in Louisiana call LaFayette. The place was delicious because I adore green places; especially those with hanging mosses. The food was delicious because… Let’s just say if you’ve never eaten foods doused in creole sauce you’ve never really eaten. The people were also delicious in that they were kind and generous and oh, so laid back. Plus their accent made me wish I’d been born a Cajun lady instead of the Northeasterner that I am.
The best part about traveling is getting to know the cumulative quirks of the local culture and appreciating them for what they are: those little things that makes a place its own self. At that time I was traveling around the country teaching doctors to use an application called Dragon Medical to dictate medical notes into their patients’ health records. LaFayette is still the only place I ever trained where every single physician insisted on dictating the name of a sausage into their notes: Boudin.
Boudin is a cajun sausage which I’ve never seen outside of Louisiana. It’s so common down there I have no doubt there’s a McBoudin sandwich on every McDonald’s menu in the state. The name is pronounced Boo-DAN (the n being all but silent). Ha! The things I remember from my days as a trainer…
Anyway, one afternoon I went to a local sandwich shop to eat my lunch and learned they don’t have provolone cheese there. WHAT? I ordered swiss on my sandwich instead, then was shocked again when asked Do you want that all the way?
This was rather early on in my traveling trainer career, so I was a little embarrassed to admit I had no idea what the lady behind the counter meant. Right before she noticed the confused look on my face, I blurted out I don’t know what that means.
Where I come from, when we ask if someone wants a sandwich with all the fixings we say Do you want everything on that? In Louisiana it’s called All the way. I don’t like a bunch of stuff slipping and sliding out of my sandwiches, so I politely asked for just lettuce and mayo and hoped she hadn’t noticed me blushing.
The point of my story, which I may have hidden a little too well, is that while I don’t want my sandwich All The Way, that’s exactly how I intend to live my life. I try to make that my first thought every morning when I wake up. Why bother, otherwise?
It’s not like I don’t forget myself sometimes. Some days I wake up feeling blue, or lazy, or tired from too many hormones and not enough sleep, and I just can’t manage it. But most of the time? I intend to fill every single minute of every single day loving hard, imagining harder, thinking, writing, reading; breathing in every ounce of the life I deserve. I only get this one chance at it (maybe), so I don’t want to waste it.
Ding-ding-ding-ding!! Since you read all the way to the bottom, I think you deserve an extra special treat. I met Lady Tambourine on my most recent trip to Louisiana. She definitely knows a little bit about living All The WAY. What do you think?
I’ve spent the better part of my morning trying to describe passion and why I live my life passionately. The descriptions I’ve attempted and explanations I’ve made are completely dissatisfying.
Passion is a dense mixture of everything life brings. A tangled string beckoning to be unraveled, concentrated over. It leads me to frustrations then reaffirmation that I can. I must.
Passion is the tiniest point in my chest that spontaneously grows to fill me up, then beyond my being. It leaks from my eyes. It drips from my pen. It loves and caresses me, it holds me down and lets me fly beyond my sightline. Engorged, inflamed, passion is the point where I live.
Passion is a force of nature, the spark-point, the beginning of all.
I remember spinning in a circle as a very little girl. Spinning and spinning, watching the ground whiz by. I would turn in place until I fell in a crumpled heap on the floor, head still spinning and I giggled. I loved the feeling of being out of control. But age comes and with each passing year we are told control is important. We shouldn’t let our passions get the best of us. I wonder why? Passion makes my life rich, gives my days meaning. It changes red to a deep, rich burgundy. It changes rough to the feel of a cat licking a dab of ice cream off my arm. It changes idealism to compassion. It changes fun to explosive laughter.
What does it mean to live passionately?
I feel deeply.
I argue loud and long.
I laugh boisterously.
I breathe deep.
I touch and long to be touched.
I believe earnestly.
Why is living with passion important to me? That’s like asking me why it’s important to me to stand 5’3” tall, to wear brown hair, and to breathe in then out. This is how I was made. I can’t be any other way. Sometimes living an impassioned life is exhausting; sometimes it’s exhilarating. But I don’t know any other way, so passionate it is.