Passionate Pursuit

by Sharon Munfus

“There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.” —Salvador Dali

Passion, a word of intensity, fire, drive and purpose, but what does it mean to be passionate? Is passion really necessary in the pursuits of life? A really good acting coach and mentor of mine (Jeffery Brooks) is often heard saying, “Passion is likability.”  If I am passionate about something, anything, others will be intrigued by and curious about me. Simply put, passion (the feeling, emotion) is intense love, interest or desire, but passion is not truly expressed or experienced in only having it. Passion is at its fullest and most vibrant when it complements purpose (the doing, action).

Purpose is discovered because of passion. When that thing that makes life a journey of quality not just quantity is found. It is that discovery of what I must pursue and do, not because it will make others happy, or that it is lucrative, or out of desperation, but because my very being mandates it. There is no relief, peace, or true joy of will if I do not or cannot pursue that which I am passionate about. I find rest in fulfilling my purpose which is ignited and propelled by my passion.

Having said all that, I discovered my passion by accident and as a result of exhaustion. I am a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) by degree and training. I administer anesthesia during surgery. The long and short of it all is that I have experienced much schooling and preparation which require rigorous study and discipline. I dare say graduate school was one of the hardest things I have ever endured and accomplished. Graduated with a 3.8 GPA thank-you-very-much! When I graduated I was emotionally and physically bankrupt so I took some acting classes for ‘stress relief.’ Ta-da, found what made my heart soar. Acting requires work and discipline but it is never work or tedium to me. The pay-off is amazing. I am gratified at having the opportunity to ignite emotion and opinion through my art. There is nothing like being a soul-stirrer and thought provoking. All art forms do this, my passion just happens to be expression through acting. I am in love with acting and it shows when I talk about, think about and do it. I purpose to pursue it with love—passionately.

I moved away from family, friends and the familiar in Orlando, FL to the unknown and uncertain in Los Angeles, CA with faith and hope in my passion and have not regretted it once. Was it all worth it? Is it still worth it? I will let Oprah Winfrey answer and just so you know, I concur:

“Ignoring your passion is like dying a slow death…Passion whispers to you through your feelings, beckoning you toward your highest good. Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, stimulated- what gives you your juice. Do what you love, give it back in the form of service, and you will do more than succeed. You will triumph.” —Oprah Winfrey