I write a lot in this blog about passion, but it’s an overused word in our society. People will say, “I’m passionate about pizza” or “My passion is shopping.” But the definition of passion is “a strong and barely controlled emotion.” I seriously doubt that pizza makes you feel like you are coming out of your skin.

So what do you feel passionate about? Your partner, your children, your faith, maybe your job? Sure, but what else? What do you care about so much that you would stand in the freezing cold and face water cannons and police dogs in order to defend it? Is it the environment; equal rights for women; fair treatment of animals; proper education for all children?

What causes and organizations do you support with your time and money? What makes you so riled up that you will write a letter to the editor, or call a congressman, or join a march? What so motivates you that you will promote it via a bumper sticker on your car or by sharing it on your social media or by starting a grassroots effort to support it? What do you care about?

Because the best art comes from passion. It comes from a yearning for “the answers”; a need to set things right; a longing to serve; a desire to challenge; an eagerness to inspire; an impulse to celebrate; a need to remember. Sometimes it comes from our passion for the wider world, and sometimes it comes from a more personal place, but it always comes back to those things.

I heard an interesting interview the other day in which speaker Neen James was explaining how to become a “thought leader.”  She said, “Ask yourself two questions: What have you spent your entire life trying to figure out? And what drives you crazy?” What she’s really saying is, if you can identify your passions, you can lead us all in new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Come on, my artist friends, now is the time to embrace your passions and make some real change in this world. If not you, who?