March 2006
I went to symphony today, and the day before yesterday.  The same location, same performance, same performers.  Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, soloist Nikolaj Znaider with the Seattle Symphony.  I was so awed by the passion with which he played on Friday that I splurged and saw him again.  Watching him on stage, watching him really listen and react and be part of the music was enthralling, relieving.  So much these days is covered with a face, with a fašade, with marketing.  Nikolaj has an arrogance that I’m sure put some people off, but I find that some arrogance is necessary to be real, to be true to the inner self.  I saw his first and last performance of this piece with the Seattle Symphony.  On both occasions he turned to the symphony during the applause and thanked them, but on the final performance, he actually turned to them right after the last notes and had his back to the audience while they erupted in applause.  I have never seen that in a soloist; celebrating with the symphony that closely, that consciously, that obviously.  I really enjoy that inner, yet outward focus in a person.  I am I, yet I am here and I see you.  For me, it is the mark of a truly conscious person, a person very aware of himself (herself) and accepting of it.

What I was truly moved by was his passion, how much he became the music, moving his head and body even when he was just listening.  His passion wasn’t found at the cost of deforming or subjugating his technical prowess, but by firm command and knowledge of those skills.  He recalls to mind Pavrotti, drenched in sweat from the effort of imbuing his music with emotion.  It’s an awareness that is powered by being… here, for lack of a better term.  Being passionate I find very admirable, and enviable.

I long for passion.  Not romantic passion necessarily, but passion for existence.  A passion for what I do on a day to day, week to week, year to year basis.  I look at Nikolaj, or Pavrotti, and then back on what I do, and I’m left with “what do I do that gives back to people, to the world?”

  It feels like I am pushing successfully through my informal MBA, learning to stay on the financial rails, but I am pushing hard against the reality that in the end, I create only jobs, not passions.  I am pushing hard right now to take, to take for myself what I thought would arise naturally via people being passionate about their jobs and also something that some start-up business owners never see – a consistent salary of some substance.  I know now that I create opportunities for passions to exist, but they can only be filled voluntarily, and so it is my job to not only create opportunities, but encourage them to be filled and also set guidelines, limits, expectations in case passion does not rise to the occasion.  Yet after all that I still have in me my passion, my existence, to salve.  I love to cook and eat, I love photography, I love music, I love riding a bicycle, I love travelling, I love listening to people discourse on their heart’s thoughts, I love seeing people reach through their perceived limitations to find new capabilities and I love giving.  I love life.

With my recent time in Woods Hole, I had a few chances to be passionate.  A sunrise walk with the ocean, a sunset walk on the empty, rolling golf course, moments alone with the birds and trees.  Those mark times when I am thrilled to be alive, and even if I am tired and exhausted and need to go back to bed, I still can pause to revel in smelling, seeing, hearing, and feeling the sun change our world.  Those few moments aren’t enough, though.  Not for me, at least!  Those are moments when I am doing what feels right, not just being what I should be or doing what I am supposed to do.  I am being, giving, exchanging, and most of all creating something that isn’t just another plastic box.  I look forward to the day when the jobs we have at QFD can be ones that are driven by a passion to help the world, not just to sell the world.  That future is far off, but I can hear it.  We’re not sustainable enough to pursue those projects that pay more with passion than with cold, hard cash, but I can hope and envision and guide and infuse QFD with my passion for the time being.

That will do, until the day that those other passions can unfurl and propel me into the distance.

Peter Newbury's Published Adventures