Updated: Sep 11, 2020
In this world of constantly cycling happiness and despair I find it most important to be mindful of the ebb and flow (Tide) of your own personal passion. It is in our nature to strive for success and progression, to feel fulfillment and happiness (flow), whilst avoiding failure and stagnancy, to prevent feelings of despair and frustration (ebb).
Although these two states are far apart in character, being proficient in "reading" the Tide allows you to move through the natural barriers and milestones of any passion impartially.
Had you met me two years ago I would have convinced you that I was in the process of becoming the most accomplished filmmaker. Every minute I spent (half) awake was dedicated to the pursuit of sharing my vision through Cinema, by learning the language of light and sound at University and collecting referential material at home.
The person I was becoming was molded by the directors I admired; Gaspar Noe made me shave my head. Stanley Kubrick made me horde all my notes. Quentin Tarantino made me a bad speller. Wes Anderson made me artsy?
As a filmmaker I did most of my "work" in my mind and late at night; my deepest visions came during a sleep deprived state in which I could effortlessly roam my imagination. My relationship with this imaginary world grew as I disassociated with the physical world. And with a lack of sleep came a lack of interest for general health. Quick to cook, instant, stomach clogging junk, salt injected, sugar coated, deep fried, nutrition-less meals chained me to the desk I sat at crooked and wide-eyed, facing the blank timeline of my next film. The passion to endure such a lifestyle came from an authentic desire to share.
In the second year (2019) of University I was faced with the reality of Film-making; what was once an experimental, wonder-driven "art form" has turned into a dominantly trend following industry. And If I were to make a living off of such an industry I would have to conform to its methodology, which implied a change to my creative process, which in my mind sabotaged the essence of Film-making. My passion dwindled as my creative freedom limited.
That was two years ago...
Today I wake up with intentions so foreign to my old self that I could place a lifetime of experience in between.
As a climber my day begins early enough in the morning that I get to witness the coming of day, each day. With a cup of tea in hand I patiently watch as the sun rises over the short trees along the horizon. Casting a sharp orange veil over the dewy green grass, the sun never fails to prepare me for the day to come. I have learned to admire being in tune with the natural cycle of day and night, especially after recognizing the implications it has on energy and productivity.
Having aligned myself with the flow of time, instead of rushing to catch up to it, I effortlessly become productive. Often cooking a hearty breakfast and reading or fasting and performing an activity such as yoga, running or climbing.
Climbing has also completely changed the importance I place on being physically and mentally fit and healthy. Having an appreciation for the physical aspects of life echoes an interest in nutrition, exercise and challenging oneself. I now reflect every decision I make towards the greater good of my climbing progression. In the beginning this led to an extremely one-sided lifestyle, which was equally as toxic for me as the slump I was in as a Filmmaker. This was largely the case because the tides of my passion consisted of only flow. I was quickly progressing in the sport and was rarely faced with a challenge I couldn't overcome: an ebb in my passion.
More recently I have been failing more than I have been succeeding (due to the nature of climbing grades and progression), which has forced me to aim for smaller successes in creative ways; working on flexibility, endurance and technique, rather than overall grade pushing. This not only feeds my passion with flow but also avoids a deluded relationship with ebb.
Managing my ego through the tide of my passion has drastically effected my mental health, as I feel no pressure to prove myself. With these concepts in mind I am constantly reminded that I am moving towards the next state, and that when their turn comes I will happily embrace each equally.
It is important to note that these states don't just happen, they are the product of your efforts and passion; everything you do leads towards flow and ebb. The difference is that you aren't consciously trying to change your state and so place no inherent value towards staying or striving for one specific state.
Realistically speaking my passion for climbing has outgrown that of film, and there are some hard feelings to be had in losing a large part of my identity as a young teenager, but I think that as with anything in life: it is more harmonious to move on and find purpose in the movement rather than the pursuit.
I hope you the reader can apply these concepts to your own passion(s), to effortlessly cycle through ebb and flow and unapologetically be what/who you are.