Summer Haze Digression: Passion

By Jesse Kepka
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist

Can passion be balanced? And should it? Seems counter-intuitive to its organics: Feeling fire, excitement, and energy for something. I found this description of passion in the urban dictionary: suffering for something you love. 

Then I had to look up suffering, because why not dive, only to find this: humanity. It made me giggle out loud. I love humanity in all its beautiful imperfection. And man – it’s a struggle.

Then I had to analyze why my response to that was an audible giggle. Suffering and humanity. That one I’ll circle back to, maybe with a therapist. Ha.

Passions about things happening in the world over the last few years have been aflame, and I think we’re all in a learning curve as to when we need to pour ignition on it and when to keep the heat, but keep it covered. When to hold strong in what we believe and when to bend to new thoughts and ideas. When we should push ourselves and when we should listen quietly and hold tight. And as far as goals, is it healthy to rock the “sky is the limit” mentality, or just unrealistic? There’s that popular saying: “shoot for the moon and land among the stars.” Is there a …but? Should there be? If I was shooting for the moon and I missed, only to land among the stars, I’d be upset and try again.

My spirit is the happiest when I’m being physically challenged, and we know I have issues with boundaries. This past week, some friends and I pushed said boundaries by climbing two 14K peaks in 3 days. They both took around 6 hours – and both were completely different experiences. But here’s what I learned about passion and balance. As we ascended Mount Sneffels, we had a hard and fast rule: 3 points of contact at all times, or we go down. This is the magic key in “balancing” passion – always have 3 points of contact, so that the 4th can always be reaching and pushing and exploring and challenging new spaces. Taking you to new places. Challenging strength, endurance, love, vulnerability on so many levels, and in this case, a view of indescribable majesty that swirled powerfully together with adrenaline and incredible accomplishment of body, spirit and framily. (When friends have an experience that binds them forever as family – that’s framily. I’ll give you a second for that mic-drop shock to absorb.) All the while, we were still safely grounded with the other 3 points. And with each other.

I have never been skydiving, but I feel like if you are free-falling without a reference point (i.e. 3 contact points, foundational truths) you’ll be thrown around in the air without any ability to manage the G-forces and no compass. I so very much want you to push and challenge yourself. Be passionate, but with just a hint of balance to keep your eyes on the target. Always 3 points. Always reaching. You can “do you”, but don’t step off those foundational truths. Don’t fall down the mountain after all that work.

And let’s be real, there are SOME points where you must trust yourself and just jump. No way around that. Apparently the stars aren’t that bad if you don’t quite make it. My heart would have me back up, take a breath, and get a bigger and faster start to try again.

To my brave and passionate new framily, I am so proud of you and undeservedly blessed to know you. I didn’t know I needed to be seen until you found me.

In my book, there’s a chapter devoted to finding the inner-most reason for which you motivate yourself to stay consistent in your workouts. Mine were 3-fold, but the third one I got to experience in those last few steps onto the summit. I quote, “It is a holy act, to care for the vessel that mobilizes me to be able to care for others and seek out a state of awe from adventures. We owe it to each other to be consistently healthy enough to help. And we owe it to our soul to seek to be awed.” Our legs led us to a view that not many people get to witness. These legs we work out and strengthen, they did it.  And we were awed. Our hearts, we work for optimum capacity to climb and combat altitude. And to care for each other on the ascend. They did it.

Elevate. It means so much.