1. A landscape gardener came to look at our back courtyard and talked for 15 minutes about one particular varietal of clematis that he found particularly lovely. Everything he said about gardens was all about emotion, the feeling you get when you walk into a garden space. "A place of stillness" is what he wanted to create, emotional stillness, so that being there makes you feel at peace. Before making suggestions for our courtyard, he asked if he could come over one afternoon and just sit in the space (for three or four hours!), simply to get a feel for it.
2. We had some people come into our house recently to hang all our large pictures. We all got chatting about art, and creative perfectionism, and the difficulty of letting go. One of the men said he would look back at the way he hung pictures 10 or 12 years ago and cringe, because he had learned so much and would do things so differently now. And I thought "Wow, this man is a career picture-hanger." He was an artisan, not a handyman, and I'd never met anyone so passionate about drilling holes in walls.
3. I stepped into a potter's shop last week to buy a bowl I'd been admiring through the window for a long time. The maker clutched the bowl to herself and said "Are you sure?" when I told her I wanted to buy it. As she wrapped it up, she said, "I'm sad that bowl is going." She had made everything in that shop, with her own hands, and it was all beautiful. But while she made a living from her work, she LOVED her work too. She created it because she wanted it, and that made it hard to let go.
I walked away from each of these conversations feeling energised, and determined to give myself permission to give my all to the things I loved. To stop apologising for my passions. You know? I don't think it matters what your passion it is, or whether or not others share your passion. It's your excitement and energy and commitment, and the sheer joy of doing what you love, that shines through. That joy puts a smile on the face of everyone around you.