It's different from hunger.
Different from love.
Different from feverish sexual desire.
Now, as I commented on her blog, this is the kind of thing that gets into my brain, and sits in there, and just tickles at me -- like that cat hair in the back of your throat kind of tickle??? What exactly is "passion," I wonder? Before this, without giving it much thought, I'd have said, if you had asked me, that I knew exactly what was meant by a reference to "passion" in the context of an intimate relationship, but this has me pondering...
The word "passion" comes to us from a 5000 year old, Proto-Indo European root, pei, which meant "to hurt." From there, we can trace it to the Ancient Greek, paskho, meaning "to suffer," and to Old English, polung, which meant "to endure." It isn't until the 1580s that the word begins to be used to apply to a sense of sexual love, enthusiasm, or predilection. Interestingly, one archaic use of the word has it as "passive." The root leads to a number of related terms such as: patient, patience, passible, passive, compassionate, and compassion. So there is the surprising (to me) implication, carried deep in the ancient roots of the word, that passion requires one to hurt, to suffer, to endure -- with patience, passivity, and compassion. Because I love this kind of word play, that all seems very intriguing to me -- forgive me...
Aristotle opined that, "All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire." And that, too, rings bells for me. How much of my life has been driven by pure chance; by the fires and drives of my nature; by my own obsessions and compulsions; by habits of mind; by my attachment to reason and logic; by passion (hurting, suffering, endurance, and patience); by desires for things spoken and not...? Who, I wonder, would I be without all those currents and winds pushing and pulling me into my life -- beyond the safety and simplicity of the path that might have been my lot otherwise?
I have thought that what carried me through the last couple of years, through all the struggle and hurt and fear and uncertainty, was some less than lovely brew of stubbornness and determination and tenacity mixed up with hope and dreams and wishes. I've done what I've done, and called it love; called it service; called it faithfulness and steadfastness -- but passion? I hadn't seen any of this as "passion;" hadn't felt myself "passionate" in the doing of it. Maybe though, I ought to rethink those assumptions. Maybe passion is something other than what I'd imagined. "Different from hunger. Different from love. Different from feverish sexual desire."