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Monday, February 20, 2006


One of my guilty TV pleasures is a little syndicated show by the creators & executive producers of The Real World called Starting Over. I admit, when the show first premiered, I thought (having not even seen it) that it was no better than The Real World but for "soccer moms." Who really wants to watch 6 women picked to live in a house, and not only have thier lives taped, but to struggle through each of their many "issues"?! As a woman, I acknowledge that I have plenty of my own problems thank you very much. What makes anyone want to watch women working through their issues on TV? There is enough crying and cat fighting and yelling and crazy stunts to make anyone want to run away...or so I thought.

One day, while at work, I had the TV on and for some reason decided to watch Starting Over. I watched these women in season 1 deal with issues of weight, self esteem, loss, death, family, mothers, fathers, independence, sense of self...wait a minute...these are not just issues I can relate to, but issues all women seem to deal with. Maybe, this show isn't so bad. Then, Amy came on the show. I could relate to among other things, her sense of independence and her bad temper and grew to respect how she worked through it all and came out of it a better person with a better sense of self. I realized I was experiencing a loose form of therapy by watching all of this on TV, taking only what I thought was relevant to my own life. Yes, needless to say, I was hooked. There were very specific things I learned from watching these women deal with their problems and somehow, I was able to translate this to my own life (and yes, I still think it's very odd to experience that through television).

Starting Over is not just a fluff hybrid reality show/soap-opera -- the show gained it's authority when it won Best Special Class Series at the Daytime Emmy Awards May, 2005 and this year received several additional nominations. Ok, so I had to mention this as I still somehow need to justify the "quality" of the show because I am discussing it in my blog.

Anyhow, I was just watching reruns of Starting Over recently and Rhonda Britton (one of the "life coaches") brought up the topic of "passion" to the ladies of Season 2. She asked them if they ever had a passion for something while growing up and if so, what kept them from pursuing it further and is it something they would still pursue if their excuses didn’t stand in the way today? Every woman in the room had an excuse as to why they didn’t push themselves to pursue their passion and in the process lost their passion for their passion.

How did Britton respond to them?

"The reason we do not express our passion is because we are afraid of our power ... Passion ignites power. So I practice owning my power as a woman. [And] I'm always pushing against my fears. Usually our fears win, our fears show up as comparing and competing. It boggles my mind how quickly so many things can stop us from our passion because we're afraid of our power..." ~Rhonda Britton from Season 2 of Starting Over.

Interesting says I.

I've always respected people who have a passion for something -- I don't really care what it is, but it's important (to me) to have one. I find it hard to relate to people who aren't passionate about anything and often times feel bad that they don't know what that feels like or have lost sight of what it means. It's easier to let your passion slip away when fear takes hold of you, (don't I know that), but never let it go and always remember what your passion means to you.

Who are you? Expressing your passion is expressing in part who you are. Loose your passion and you loose sight of yourself. Maybe that's why I was able to relate so fully to what has come to be one of my favorite songs. If I forget the meaning of this song and the way it made me feel the first time I heard Sutton Foster sing it, then I've surely lost my passion for my passion.

(sung by Sutton Foster)

There's a life that I am meant to lead,
Alive like nothing I have ever known.
I can feel it and it's far from here.
I've got to find it on my own.
Even now I feel its heat upon my skin:
A life of passion that
Pulls me from within.
A life that I am aching to begin.
There must be somewhere I can be

I'll find my way
I'll find it far away
I'll find it in the unexpected and unknown
I'll find my life in my own way

Here I go
And there's no turning back
My great adventure has begun
I may be small
But I've got giant plans
To shine as brightly as the sun

I will blaze until I find my time and place
I will be fearless,
Surrendering modesty and grace
I will not disapear without a trace
I'll shout and start a riot
Be anything but quiet
Christopher Columbus
I'll be Astonishing
Astonishing...At Last"

~ from "Little Women: The Musical"


scmusicals said...

If you're watching Starting Over and Oprah during work...when does the working part come in? ;)

And...are you going to start living your passion more and work in theatre again? =)

Mitch Glaser said...

Excellent post! I am always impressed by your ability to communicate.

While it may be correct to state that television (and the reality genre in particular) is a great "wasteland," I am not too naive to think that some programs have value in our lives. After all, television is art, and art in all its forms is the most powerful means of human expression. Be proud to be a "Starting Over" fan!

I've never thought about the idea that passion ignites power and that people back away from their passions because they fear power. Then again, I am a man, and my kind seems to crave power in all forms. That being said, Ms. Britton's advice to "own" your power should speak to everyone.

When I look at my life, I often wonder if I've given my passion in life (cities) a larger role than it deserves. But I suppose there is nothing greater to commit myself to. I can count many successes that I wouldn't have been able to achieve if I had not clung to my passion. In fact, if I had abandoned my passion, as so many others do, I doubt that I would feel good about my life at all.

The song lyrics you posted may very well be my life's anthem. No matter what obstacles I faced, no matter how much pain and hurt I encountered, I fought for what I wanted for myself; I fought to become the person I wanted to be. I just wish that I count declare victory and stop fighting, but I know the battle will never end. Often I feel that I am out of energy and that I can't go on any further...yet I know that I've come too far to turn back now.

Let me assure you that you are living the life that you are meant to lead and that you truly are astonishing. But you know, as I do, that there are even bigger and better things in your future. I am a fortunate man to know you and to be able to help you continuing along life's path. I encourage you to "own" your power and to make your wildest dreams come true.

Perhaps your passion is working in theatre, but I continue to wonder whether it may be writing. But no matter how your passion eventually manifest itself, you have the ability to share many wonderful things with the world. You have certainly shared them with me.

By the way, I have another passion beside cities :)

Tianyi Wang said...

Don't know you realized that your Passion week coincides with the Olympics and it's theme this year "Passion lives here."

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