On not finger-drumming my life away, and being around others who feel the same

Upon arriving home from Taiwan, I’ve made one thing lucidly clear to myself: I like spending my time with people that inspire me. Conversations that dive past the heyhowareyou’s and the didyouseekanyeonmtv’s and the lykeomgwhatisshewearing’s.

Instead, I like to fill my time with conversations of the “How are you, really?” and the “What do you think about X” and the “Where are you going with your life” variety.

In short: I’ve discovered I want to spend my time with people who want to change the world, and are willing to do something about it.

I’ve also realized something else. Not everyone shares my sentiments.

Off the bat, let me say, That’s Okay. Not everyone is meant to change the world, and maybe I’m being just a bit too headstrong in wanting to put myself in that group (I don’t think I am).

If you disagree, maybe it’s in our definition of “World Change”.

To me, Changing the World doesn’t have to mean starting a revolution and usurping the respected order of control… though it can.

To me, Changing the World can be simply following what you’re passionate about, finding the one thing that makes you tick, and using that to serve others.

But here’s the secret that doesn’t get out too much: You have to find what you’re passionate for.

A friend in the blogosphere (and a guy I look up to greatly) gets this. His name is Adam Baker and he started manvsdebt.com. He’s a man of passion, but he’s constantly honing in on what he’s passionate about. His site started off being passionately against debt. Though that hasn’t changed, Baker has redirected his focus to being passionately FOR life.

Recently, he got my wheels turning with his post “The ‘Sh**-that-doesn’t-inspire-you’ factor“. When I read this entry, I realized something:

We’ve misplaced our passions.

In the post, Baker encourages readers to ask “Does this inspire me?” in our daily decision making. Why? Because we’ve programmed ourselves to do just the opposite.

We’ve filled our time and thoughts with such mundane triffle that we’ve forgotten what makes us tick – whatever that is for each of us. We’ve chosen to do mere nothings over filling our time intentionally. It’s as if Nothing has become a way of life.

In his satire The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis pens:

“Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.”

I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life, and realize I finger-drummed my way out of an existence. It’s a good thing I’m discovering this now, because I do an awful lot of finger-drumming.

As Baker’s post encouraged me to reconsider my passions in my day-to-day choices, and I’ve continued reflecting on my journey home, I realized how energized I am to be around passion-filled people. It’s the kind of passion I found at The Refuge in Taiwan, and it’s the precise type of community I hope to cultivate here.

“Drumming of Fingers” aside, I know that a life worth living is an intentional one. And I happen to believe being surrounded by other equally-passion-filled people with an unquenchable desire to Change the World makes that life all the more worth it.

I’ve talked a bit of Intentional Community here on the Drift, and I hope to cultivate that here back home in the States (who’s with me?). I love the different online communities I’ve lived among for the last year, but look forward even more to spending some face time with my friends.

[Photo found here through Flickr’s Creative Commons]

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20 thoughts on “On not finger-drumming my life away, and being around others who feel the same

  1. Amanda says:

    I love that you used the phrase “intentional community” – I don’t think I’ve heard that since college :) I’ve been thinking about passion lately, as mine have changed and evolved over the years. The end result of the musing over coffee with myself was that you need to figure out what makes YOU passionate, not what you think other people expect you to care about. Whether those are things or causes that are “trendy” at the moment and you get pressure to jump on the bandwagon (not to knock the bandwagon, but each “cause” isn’t for each person, even if they’re good) or if you’ve changed and you feel held to peoples’ perceptions of the you you used to be and not the you you are today. If that makes sense.
    :) And I love that Lewis quote…

    • Chase says:

      It’s funny how passions change, isn’t it? I’ve reflected over that a lot this year. Strange.

      And you’ve got it exactly. I’ve got to put my energy into that which makes me passionate.
      Though I have noticed: being around equally-passionate people (even if my heart isn’t into “their cause”) is simply stimulating!

      Interesting points to add to the “is compassion a trend” debate that’s rolling around right now. It’s great that people are acting for this and that “cause” …but is that really their passion? And if not, why are they there? hmmmm…

  2. Kelvin says:

    What a post. I find this to be quite interesting. It was a good read. I will say that I think everyone in some ways or another are hanging out people that feel the same as they do. But somewhere I read something about passion and without there’s nothing. I think we all do things because of our interest and our passion. It’s something that inspire us to do what we like.

  3. Don says:

    Good post. It’s been a busy three weeks for me: start of school, etc. So this is my first trip to your new digs.

    I stopped by the park in your hood on the way out. Bunnies ‘r us!

    Great quote from CS Lewis. Amazing that you’re retracing thought patterns that thinkers and livers from other times and places have teased out. But hey, you’re keepin’ good company.

    I was 24ish when I figured out, “Hey, not everybody thinks like me, sees what I see, or even cares!”

    And as you say, That’s okay.

    But to whom much is given…

    Navigate on!

    PS: White on black, less than 11 pt font? Are you trying to blind me worse?

    • Chase says:

      Don, it’s been busy here. Busy enough that I didn’t have time for a proper blog launch.
      I’ll keep that all in mind when I release the new site. And I’ll try not make you come out here too often until I increase the font and what not ; )

  4. Sebastian says:

    Intentional Community indeed!

    No one ever changed the world (for the better or worse?) by sitting on their ass, eating food and watching TV, right?

    Curiously, I read a blog written by a young guy who’s just finished seminary school (or something like that) — he’s very devout, very Christian — and tries to be philosophical about it all.

    He says we’ve lost sight of what really satisfies us. And life is all about being satisfied. Obviously, he claims that satisfaction can only come from worship to God — but his counterpoint is more interesting: that we seek satisfaction in transitory states/emotions.

    Like stuffing ourselves full of food. Or sleeping with lots of men/women. Temporal, fleeting pleasures.

    But hey, I dare say a lot of the world’s greatest inventors and philosophers were also hedonists… :)

    • Chase says:

      MrSeb, I bet you I could name about 4-5 books on that young blogger’s bookshelf… and they’re all by the same author. All that is parroting the philosophy of theologian John Piper. He calls it Christian Hedonism (bet you never thought you’d hear those two words in the same sentence). Interesting thoughts in the least

      and could you have a world-changing community of intentional tv-watchers? hmm…

      • Sebastian says:

        That’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided getting too stuck into the works of other philosophers…!

        Other than a lack of time of course (some of it is simply too damn laborious to read), I don’t want to sound like someone else. I want my own voice, damnit!

        And if I end up sounding like other people, then so be it. But at least I sound like LOTS of different people, not just one. That’s the sign of free-thinking, damnit!

      • Chase says:

        I’m with you there. I always think it funny (especially in the Christian-realm) to find parrot-philosophers. Good thinkin, eh?

        “This is what I think… go read that guys book.” …hm.

      • Chase says:

        I’m with you there. I always think it funny (especially in the Christian-realm) to find parrot-philosophers. Good thinkin, eh?

        “This is what I think… go read that guys book.” …hm.

      • Sebastian says:

        Well, I think, for Christians, parroting what an important book says is kind of ingrained from a young age… :P

        I have a lot of respect for those that take it to the next level and actually convert it into conceptual understanding.

      • Chase says:

        hhmmm…yeah, I see your point there ;)

        And I agree. I just wish we would see more of that conceptual understanding.

  5. Jessie says:

    Chase, I want to be like you when I grow up.

  6. nice site you got, interesting writings too

  7. andhari says:

    I like to think everyone has their own parts in changing the world , Chase. Each and everyone of them, sure some people love talking light stuffs like mtv or what the hell Lady Gaga wore at her last show but it doesnt mean all of them dont or cant change the world. Sometimes they’re not out there easily talking to people about it :)

  8. Dianna A says:

    I came back to see if anything new was posted (though I’m not sure why, as you normally update everyone when it does), and found an interesting discussion! Hurrah!

    I don’t know if the idea of “satisfaction” really captures everything. Sure, “dissatisfied” is a good way to look at it, but I think satisfaction means far too little when it comes to what we’re looking for in life. We’re looking more for reciprocal, unconditional love. “Satisfaction” turns it back around to us, makes it “me” centered (as does love to some extent), but I think once one begins experiencing that completely awesome unconditional love, one turns away from selfishness, from mere “satisfaction” to an unselfish way of living. Stopping the bar at satisfaction doesn’t take Christian living far enough, doesn’t force us to enter into “intentional community” – one can presumably obtain “satisfaction” in solitude, which is, as Sebastian points out, not really something that changes the world. :)

    And on the parroting – Lewis (heh) says, “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” As much as that is parroting, sometimes the greats say it better than I could. :)

    This is good stuff, Chase (and Sebastian).

  9. She says:

    This is just what I needed to read, as I’ve been questioning what I’m passionate about a lot. In fact, it’s something that has been consuming most of my thoughts lately. Finding things I’m passionate about and knowing where to exercise it in a way that positively affects me, and those around me, is something that I haven’t caught a gripe on yet.

    I need to find something, or someone, that will ignite something I feel is sleeping inside me. But what?

    I do long to converse with more free thinking spirits. The movers and shakers. I need these people to inspire me. They are a lot easier to find online, than ‘in real life’. Which is both fortunate, and unfortunate.

    • Chase says:

      Thanks for coming by! I loved this comment.
      That all-thought consuming drive is near haunting, and tells me we’d probably get along just fine.

      Hope you find a community here that inspires. And beyond this community, I hope you find that something or someone in your life that will ignite that fire even more.

      Off to peruse your blog! Thanks for commenting mine :)

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