And things that you love should be things that you do.” – Ray Bradbury
A friend posted a link to this conversation with Ray Bradbury on the day Ray’s body passed away. It is stunning.
Aldous Huxley told Ray that he was a poet. “And he told me I was a poet!” Ray exclaims in ecstasy and wonder. And he was. But Huxley missed the most important thing about him. Bradbury was a philosopher and he had discovered the secret of life. He had found the answer to the question “Why are we here?” Bradbury’s answer: “To love life.”
Bradbury loved all out – shamelessly and without fear. He loved books, his wife and daughters, his cats. He loved writing, loved the characters who came to him. He loved life. All of it was passionate; full out. Filled with joy.
“The things that you do should be things that you love. And things that you love should be things that you do.”
There are two parts to that statement. Most people skip over the first part and go right to the second. Everyone says they want to do the things that they love. “Do what you love; the money will follow.” But how about loving the things you do? Look at the first part of that statement just a little bit sideways: The things that you do should be done with love. How many people have to do things they don’t like? Damn near all of us. But Bradbury doesn’t say “Don’t do what you don’t like to do.” Love the things you do. So if you have to do something, like exercising or posting accounts or cleaning the garage, do it with all the love you have. Love the doing. If I’m going to have to exercise for the rest of my life, I need to learn to love exercising. I need to learn to love any assignments I take on. Fully. With passion.
Passion. Bradbury was passionate. About everything. Hell bent for leather. Full tilt boogie. People think passion just somehow arrives or never shows up. It’s here or it’s not. But what if we can summon passion, create passion? How do you go about creating passion? How do you light yourself on fire? How do people ignite themselves?
Perhaps passion is like happiness. You decide to be happy. You decide to be passionate. You decide to live in love and send out love. It is a lot like the energy exchange between a performer and an audience. The performer sends out energy and love and gets energy and love radiated back. A thousand-fold.
Passion has the power to sweep people along. Most people don’t have their own passion so they are sucked into yours, hoping to find some for themselves. And if you are very, very good, your passion helps them find their passion.
Maybe that’s why I like storms – because of their passion. The all-out wildness. Fury unleashed without self-consciousness.
Passion is revealing. It says, “This is what I care about; this is what I think.” And it doesn’t care if you agree or not. It doesn’t care if it is made a fool of. It is out there, naked, exposed, open to ridicule. But it is out there and gathering strength. A benevolent storm, unleashing joy and love instead of fury and destruction. Unafraid.
A life lived in fear creates a life without passion. If you think your life lacks passion, ask yourself what you are afraid of. You cannot be passionate and care what other people think. Other people’s opinions are gates that shut; walls that corner you into a life of less than. A life defined by other people’s limitations.
You are not other people. Your abilities are different. Your options are wide open. You can live a life you choose to make. A life you choose to love. Wholeheartedly. All out. With the wonder of discovery around every corner.
The life force gets buried, snuffed out. Systematically. Intentionally. “People get beaten up by life,” my wise friend Bobbie says. And she’s right. But not all people. Or maybe not all people stay down. You fight back with love. With passion. You create energy, your own force field until you are too powerful to be beaten down ever again.
In the interview, Ray Bradbury was 87 years old. He was full of life. He was on fire. He was electric. And he created a spark in me, after his death. From one short video. He lives forever.