Passion Is A Rocket

The majestic power of people’s passion.

That’s what the film “October Sky” fleshes out so gloriously.  We hadn’t watched the movie in years, but when we viewed it again recently we caught the contagious glow from the amazing, inspiring, and true tale.

Homer Hickam is a high school student living in a coal mining town in West Virginia in 1957, a town in which few escape the hard, unhealthy life of the mine.  The handful fortunate enough to go away to college usually do so on football scholarships.

imageCaptivated by witnessing the Sputnik (the first artificial, Soviet satellite put in orbit) cruise across the evening sky, Homer is so inspired he vows to build a rocket.  No matter that he lacks the supplies, equipment, money, knowledge of rocketry, math skills, support of his father, and teenaged contemporaries. His soul is on fire.

Homer enlists his 3 friends and galvanizes them with his passionate vision on a journey far beyond their wildest imaginings. Homer encounters countless, daunting obstacles and setbacks. Yet he doesn’t relent: his passion won’t let him.

My modest 🙂 science and math abilities are about as far as you can get from a rocketry aficionado’s.  But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to relish the juice of this tale.  For this is a tale about passion, something we can all understand.  And it is about the enormous sea of possibility and meaning that we avail ourselves of when we follow that passion.

As I watched the characters’ faces of deepest concentration, tenacity, and utmost exhilaration, my own soul echoed, soaring.  That’s how I often feel when dancing, writing, cooking, bodysurfing.  Electric!

Photo credit: Rich Davis

Photo credit: Rich Davis

It is what I wrote about in my last post (“Passion: Jet Pack”), about flow or “optimal experience” in the words of author and guru, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  “….[T]he best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile….”

So often we delay pursuing our heart’s calling to do “more important” things or procrastinate out of fear and guilt.  Yet, pursuing our passion is good for us! And for the universe!

As Csikszentmihalyi’s exhaustive research demonstrates, cultivating those moments of optimal experience allows us to “….learn to become more than what we were. When we choose a goal and invest ourselves in it to the limits of our concentration, whatever we do will be enjoyable. And once we have tasted this joy, we will redouble our efforts to taste it again. This is the way the self grows…that allows us to…. make significant contributions to humankind.” (emphasis added)

The form doesn’t matter–your jam could be needlepoint or playing the saxophone or skydiving or writing a blog :).  The key is to follow the passion to the greatest extent we can, growing our selves and showering positive juju on those around us and into the Universe.  A healthy kind of contagious.

Who knows whom we will inspire with our own inimitable journey of the self?  We will never know until we GO! FOR! IT!

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18 Responses to Passion Is A Rocket

  1. luggagelady says:

    My Sweet Chloe, the timing of this inspirational piece could not be more perfect! Love everything about this post, including the movie (which I need to watch again)!! But Csikszentmihalyi’s words really resonate: “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile….”

    I am a master at operating within my comfort zone when I should be expanding my borders and challenging myself. And your verbiage is spot-on: “The key is to follow the passion to the greatest extent we can, growing our selves and showering positive juju on those around us and into the Universe. A healthy kind of contagious.”

    Now, there’s a disease I’d be thrilled to spread! 😉 Thank you for this beautiful reminder! XO

    • SirenaTales says:

      LL! Always so gleeful to see you here. But what’s this?! You, zigzagging across the skies and the lands below, hangin’ out in your comfort zone?! No way, baby. YOU are my role model for “expanding borders and challenging” yourself, girlfriend–both the physical borders and the soulful ones. I am always deeply humbled and honored by your generous support and encouragement–they mean more than I can ever express. Shine on, my lovely friend. xoxo

  2. You are on fire, ST & I’m loving it! Such words of encouragement filled with the passion you write about. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. You inspire me! Xxxooo

  3. Lorien says:

    Wonderful! I’m going to borrow the quote you shared that includes “limits of our concentration;” I’m teaching a concentration workshop this weekend and that will be a lovely addition to the handouts I’m preparing. Very inspiring and timely post, Chloe, thank you!

    • SirenaTales says:

      Oh, I am delighted that you like and can use that quote, Lorien! And I am grateful for your kind presence here. Yahoo for you–workshop weekend!!! Here’s wishing you all kinds of loveliness and inspiration. xoxo

  4. F.G.M. says:

    Inspirational post… j’aime le verbe “galvaniser”… dancing, writing, cooking, bodysurfing… + blogging: you’re a wonder-woman 🙂 merci pour ce post qui dévoile une vérité fondamentale: learn to become more than what you are. Much love to you, xxoo

    • SirenaTales says:

      Ha! Yes, I love “galvanize,” as well, Frédéric. Thank you so much for cheering me on, my friend, and for “getting” me and this post: learning to become more (which your writing evidences that you do all the time :)). love to you

  5. As usual, this post brought up so much that connects directly to me. I am amazed at how you can do that time after time.

    I have never seen them movie “October Sky” but you can bet it’s on my list now.

    I met a young man, sixteen, in Mexico, who entered a contest in which the students were to build something they could launch into the sky. The goal was to have the entry soar the highest. This young man constructed a rocket out of plastic bottles, of which their are many in Mexico. He toyed with his design until he knew it could rise above all others.

    And rise it did! I do not remember the details of the height, but his sailed at least twice as high as any other. Since he won, he moved forward into other competitions and has now won a full scholarship to engineering school. He is excited beyond imagination as he prepares to head to university in the fall. Perhaps this young man, too, has a movie story in his future!

    The other thoughts are many, and they are about me denying my own passions. Denying one for about twenty-five years and the other for over forty. I am about to delve into that forty-plus-year buried passion next week.

    Old dogs? We are full of new tricks!

    • SirenaTales says:

      Oh, I LOVE your story of your young Mexican friend, Emilie. So inspiring! I am honored and touched by your lovely words and I am thrilled that my writing resonates with you. Most of all, I am beyond stoked for you about your long-delayed, passionate adventure. So impressive that you are going for it now, Emilie, truly. You inspire! May your path be showered with excitement, inspiration and joy. xoxo

  6. Rachael Charmley says:

    Ah yes. It’s that tingling feeling when we know we are truly alive ❤ ❤

  7. diahannreyes says:

    I love the image of passion being like a rocket- exactly how you’ve articulated it- it really does fuel and spark and can take us soaring if we let it. The world in general doesn’t support passion the way it does practicality- but if we all lived from that place within us…. you’ve got me thinking how “living your passions” can be seen as a romantic, out of touch way of living when really maybe it’s where so much of our power gets activated.

    • SirenaTales says:

      What an intriguing, perceptive observation, Diahann! I hadn’t quite realized the irony/dichotomy of the rocket’s practicality vs. passion’s romanticism. But I agree with you wholeheartedly: passion is what ignites us and our journey. I so appreciate your giving my writing such wonderful attention. Really. love to you….

  8. Mélanie says:

    my passion is my beloved rocket & satellite scientist – for more than 35 years… ❤

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