"Don't play for safety. It's the most dangerous thing in the world." ~Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole
When you define yourself as a "passionista" you often get asked to define the word "passion." So what is it? Passion is "a barely controllable state." My favorite sociologist (yes, I'm geeky enough to have one) Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers and Chemistry.com defines passion and her sister "love" both as drives.
Fisher insists that although love is a choice, it's erroneous to speak of love as strictly an emotion. She says that just as hunger, sleep and thirst are biological drives, so is passion. Those who surrender and give themselves wholly over to romantic passionate love respond to brain mapping scans the same way the addicted or mentally ill do. That explains it.
No wonder we are afraid of passion. It makes sense then that the sensible would want to teeter at love's doorway. Clearly only children and fools would barrage headlong into such madness, right? After all, love literally makes you crazy.
It's not that simple. If passion and love are drives, then like thirst this mutual adoration is a need. How crazy would one have to be to deny oneself the opportunity to quench one's thirst? And thus begins a world of troubles.
Paging Dr. Helen.
So where does the love is a choice part come in? Choosing to love is daring to risk. In my novel "Dare" I ask, "What would you dare to do if you knew you would not fail?" In many ways it's a moot question because no matter your answer we can replace it with one word: "live."
Romantic passion is the key to your life. The juicy stuff that makes the battery hum. Rust, without careful maintenance, is always a risk. We must trust that no matter what happens, we won't break.
A relationship exists in the space between two people. I used to think of romantic passion as balancing an egg between you. Life experience has taught me that an egg is too precious of an example. A good relationship is like balancing a ball between you. A well-made ball can bounce and rebound from missteps when it's full, but each person has to pay attention and do their part.
Passion is fullness. We can't experience every sensation it offers unless we feel first that we deserve it. We were not born to be solitary beings. Our bodies were made for pleasure and yes, passion. There are 4,000 sensory nerve endings in the penis and twice as many in the clitoris. We are driven.
Wishing you love, happiness and courage!
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