The word ‘passion’ has been a part of my life for a very long time. Likely the first time I thought of it as something vital was when I was in my late 20s. When I met my husband Ron in 1994 I recognized something special about him. I tell him I fell in love with him because of his energy and his humour, but I later came to realize it was indeed his passion, and the lack of it in my life. I was feeling pretty content with my life at the time as he was with his but over the next 10 months we both came to realize neither of us was willing to settle for contentment.
I use the word ‘passion’ almost daily; it’s a part of the fabric of our lives. When I met Ron it was through my desire to learn to train dogs. Eventually we started our own business together on the West Coast; suitably named West Haven Canine Academy. When we decided to move back East, obviously the name was no longer appropriate. Together we worked at coming up with a new name that would encompass everything about our business with dogs. We had just started our breeding program with both Dobermanns and Giant Schnauzers; both breeds are of German origin so we felt our kennel name, their registered names, should also be German. With the help of an online translator we started tossing out ideas about how we felt our dogs and our business should be represented. After several attempts which produced results impossible to pronounce we tried the word ‘passion’, the translation for which is ‘leidenschaft’. After the audio translator taught us how to pronounce it, lie-den-shaft, we felt we had nailed it. We are passionate about our dogs; we breed them to have passion, and we had found a suitable German name to sum it up.
As I write this, my young male Glock von der Leidenschaft is laying at my feet. But this is not a dog story, or at least it’s not intended to be. However, if we’re talking about passion, it’s impossible for me to separate myself from the dogs. Even though I no longer make my living with dogs, raising and training my puppies is as important to me as raising children is for some folks. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they stress me out, they cost me money, and yet I continue to do it year after year.
There are many definitions for the word ‘passion’ but for the purposes of this new column I’ll use two which are quite similar but subtly different. They are quoted from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.
1) intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
2) a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
I guess when I ask the question, I’ll reiterate it as “what drives you?” I wonder if everyone HAS passion? If so, do we have it all the time? Some times in the middle of the night when my brain wants to tumble over life’s troubles, I try to convince myself to go to my “happy place” so that I might get back to sleep. That leads me to another trouble: what IS my happy place? I can conjure up images of four-week-old Schnauzer babies and how they look like little black bear cubs, how cute they are when they bark, growl, pounce and fight, how they fall over and roll until some obstacle (usually another black bear cub-puppy) provides a bumper for them, but before I get to that favourite stage of their lives I have to get through all the stressors.
Like how I bawl like a baby if I lose even one, even if it’s never drawn oxygen. Or how Mom only has seven feeding stations and she has 9 or 12 or even 14 hungry mouths! The first week of setting the kitchen timer for one hour at a time so I can get up to switch crews; one hour for the little ones, one hour for the big ones. Supplementing with a bottle, rehydrating with pedia-lyte, wondering if the diarrhea will kill this one and wondering at what point are my skills inadequate and do I really need an emergency visit with my vet? Yes, my happy place can very quickly become another trouble my brain tumbles over. Perhaps it’s normal for one’s passion to also be one’s stressor?
This new page of tammylmurray.com is devoted to exploring passion. I want to talk to you, learn about your passion and what drives you. A recent experience has taught me life is too short to hate what you’re doing and it’s time to get back to another of my passions: learning about humanity and writing its stories.
To contact me with comments, questions or your story you’d like me to tell, email me;
tlmurray2010 AT gmail.com