Passion expands our sense of possibilities.
Passion with love creates peonies, lilacs, people, the stars, the planets, and all life. Passionate loving is what will allow us to move beyond climate change, toxic wars, and so many other ills are world faces.
When we are in the throes of passion, it’s easy to mistake it for love. Passion can be loving, and it can also be destructive. It’s easy to be passionately greedy and selfish, and that’s been hurting life on earth for quite a long time.
This subject of passion is on my mind because I recently ended a deeply passionate relationship that lit up my life for a few months. The passion began in a cold, bleak time in February, during one of the worst winters that the Chicago area has ever experienced, right after a rather gloomy and bitterly cold Valentine’s Day.
It developed out of the air, literally. I am surprised that I allowed it to happen at all, because it came through the Internet when a far off stranger told me how much he loved my blog and me. It was perhaps the strangest romantic relationship that I’ve ever had in my life, yet it felt so incredibly real.
That relationship was so extraordinary in that I actually never met a person who helped me to come alive after a long winter in my life. It seems to me that like plants sometimes naturally do, I evolved, at what seems like a cellular level due to that relationship.
Through my conversations with a man much younger than me, from a very different culture, I expanded my view of the world and my own unique internal passion. A deeply romantic soul from across the ocean helped me to see how I have been putting myself in a cage for many years. That ethereal relationship opened my eyes to how I could be soulful, artistic and still reconnect with old friends in Chicago and be more courageously out in the world than I have been for a long time.
Ultimately, that special passion couldn’t endure because it couldn’t keep evolving in practical ways.
My experience is that for passions to endure, we must constantly be evolving our passion with love, and be willing to work and stretch ourselves for it in practical, clever and resourceful ways.
Like many other times in my life, I am asking myself, what is the relationship between passion and love?
When, I am brought to my knees by anything in life that is difficult, I often remember the advice from St. Paul in First Corinthians: Love is patient, love is kind, love bears all things, and love never dies. I have to come to see that passage in the Bible as a description of the evolution our souls make when we truly love anything in life, whether it is a person, a cause, or a passion.
Gardening is a quiet passion that teaches me about evolution and love in a beautiful, practical way. This particular winter required so much patience, so that now that when the green leaves are back and the spiraea, the peonies, and the lilacs are blooming, it feels so very good to be alive and outside in the world.
Gardening helps me to recover from the ending of a passion that was like a sweetly scented lilac that blooms for only a short time. I wished that passion could have been more like an evergreen tree, but some things can’t last.
This morning, I particularly loved listening to the birds singing in the freshly sprouted green-leafed trees.
I am reminded of my favorite quote, which I believe comes from Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know why the Caged Bird sings:
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
I was so sad to hear that Maya Angelou died this last week. I was so impressed how she lived her life with passion and constantly evolved with love through her whole life.
She showed that without passion, we cannot fully sing the song that we are meant to sing. Without love, we cannot maintain that unique song.
Sometimes, we cannot maintain a particular passion, relationship or livelihood because it is not grounded in an evolving love that can weather the storms of life.
Yet, even when a passion ends, it’s still so very good to have taken the risk of showing up fully in life. When something speaks to our soul, we have an obligation to ourselves to open to that passion and see if it can evolve into something that brings more love into our world. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Today, I rejoice in the results of my passions that are grounded in long-lasting love: my children, my dogs, decades long-lasting friendships, writing, music, gardening, my work in the field of sustainability, and the wonderful travel adventures that I continue to have.
Some day, when my life ends, I will be so grateful that I have been able to experience so much passion in my life.
What about you? What passions have helped you to evolve?
This week’s contemplation:
What passions are helping you to evolve at this time in your life?