A few years ago Turin hosted the Winter Olympics Games. For some time the city was flooded with billboards repeating everywhere: “Passion lives here!”
A short time ago, the 2022 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Turin (again!) and, in the building that housed the event, the huge inscription: “Passion lives here” dominated a hallway.
In the Dojo where we practice Aikido, yesterday a sensei of great humanity and experience was hosted and, together, we reflected during practice about how much our environments risk being conditioned and without passion.
A passion which means being there, having fun together, trying to understand, giving yourself also and above all because you are full of limits that you cannot allow to have the last word on your choices.
It’s obvious that if our “passions” (which is a term I don’t even like that much, maybe “choices” would be better) are like those Olympics posters, then the real risk is to go on like robots without the light of any hope, will, desire, scope, ideal.
There is also an initial phase, which can last for years, in which we approach an environment in which we try to orient ourselves in a new reference system without understanding it that much. A postr “sticks” to us and we are sincerely convinced that… passion lives here, inside us.
Then time passes and if you don’t cultivate that fire, personally and as a group, you risk believing more in the poster than to reality. Maybe finding yourself after years or decades, out of time and context, repeating and identifying yourself with the “pay-off” of something that lives in the past.
The same is true if it is not recognized that fire is a great thing: it heats, protects, is used to prepare excellent meals to share… But it must be managed wisely, so as not to have undesired effects.
Principles, like it or not, are conveyed by environments and people. This combination causes the flames to be sometimes free and not so healthy for those who approach them. In this case the passion, in its original sense of suffering, can really live within us. And it’s not worth it.
Cyclically wondering what drives what we do and who we are is something very necessary. Asking oneself within a physical practice is a challenge: the body does not lie and therefore we may discover that the image of our “passion” is definitely far from what our system communicates. Or doesn’t.
The point is, we are all very good at thinking that this kind of talk is only about others. We are serial alibi makers, on the one hand. And at the same time, on the other hand, we are all more or less sincerely eager for something that warms our heart. More or less consciously we are looking for meaning.
A clear practice, a well-ordered technical reference and a clean practice environment are certainly useful boundary conditions for a job that, however, concerns only each of us and that has the only constant commitment to cultivate itself with curiosity antidote to an otherwise inevitable decline in a museum of the passions of yesteryear.
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