Obsessions, Passions and Addictions

So I’m reading along in that great classic by Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones. And she has this chapter on writing about our obsessions. Because, as she says, whether we acknowledge them or not, they’re part of us. Some of them, the main ones, probably have power over us and may emerge again and again in some form, be it in our writing or just our everyday living. So rather than deny them, she says to write about them. I don’t think she means to write entire books (or even blog posts) about them, but just to get them out. Acknowledge them head on. In getting them out, you can probably put them to good use.

Immediately I started making a list, right there in the book. The first thing that came to mind was coffee (I was in a coffee shop as I read that chapter). Can one be obsessed with coffee? I don’t think it’s exactly an addiction. I drink mostly decaf and don’t get the jitters or headaches associated with a caffeine addiction. But most days, one of the primary things on my mind is where and when am I going to get a good cup of coffee. Ideally it’s at home. But that doesn’t always happen. When I went away in February, I thought I would die – when you travel with a tea drinker and an “anything goes” coffee drinker, you know your chances of a good “cuppa” are slim to none. I swear I felt a little panic set in, but perhaps that was associated with my utter dislike of airports and travel in general.

Another obsession of mine is about as pathetic. Socks. I love socks. But socks must match – period. It’s probably a hangover from Bible college days when casual dress meant a long denim or khaki skirt, socks and tennis shoes (over pantyhose – we were not allowed to go without!) I guess the best thing I had going for me was my socks! My poor feet have been cringing in embarrassment all day because my socks are navy blue and my jeans are black.

This was a fun line of thinking to explore. What are my obsessions? My addictions? My passions? Have I clearly defined the difference in my mind? What do I dwell on, subconsciously as well as consciously? Where’s my heart? Am I giving anything power over me that belongs to God? Lots of good journaling fodder!

Funny, when I went on retreat in April, the coffee thing didn’t cross my mind. Which tells me obsessions don’t have to possess me. Tomorrow maybe I’ll wear two different color socks, just to psyche myself out!