100 Love Notes is a project of one man’s beautiful memorial to his wife of 15 years who passed a year ago. Learning to love the scary parts of myself has helped me love others more easily. Here is my attempt to write my own love letter to what I call my “dark passion” ( a phrase I ripped from Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein). To me, “dark passion” is a term I use for what might be viewed as a “negative” or “unskillfull” mental formation, or emotion.
Dearest Dark Passion,
You and I have quite a history together. In the early days of our relationship, I was frightened of you, and you have nearly killed me a few times.
But I have come to learn what a wise and masterful teacher you are. I am in awe of your amazing power, like a wild storm, to leave in your wake a clear expanse that allows for the beauty of the world to rush in and fill the void. We only need to welcome you in and offer you a cup of tea.
Only when I ignore your knocking, mistake your shadow as a call to keep myself busy with doing, that you get rowdy. And rightly so, as ignoring someone who has traveled so far bearing gifts in their hands is just plain rude.
I used to believe that you caused me suffering; over time, I have realized that it is my resistance to being with you that causes suffering.
This week you visited, as you mostly do, unexpected. But in hindsight, I called for you, as I allowed my worry over my new business venture to foment in my mind. I resisted your presence.
As with everything, a planned trip created connection with wonderful others that rise to new perspective and appreciation. Sometimes you are too much for my perfectionist soul, but being in community reminded me that I am wave that is part of a vast ocean. Only then do I remember I am large enough to hug you.
When you came back again, in the form of millions of refugees, I was better prepared to sit with you.
I allowed the pain, I allowed the despair, I sent love to the refugees, to the people blinded by hate and fear who are committing the acts of over acts of terrorism, to the people who are committing subtle acts of terrorism by pushing away “the huddled masses yearning to be free”.
You and I both looked at each knowingly. Locking yourself in a grave surrounded by weapons may make you feel safe but you are suffocating your heart in the process.
I dared to ask myself what I could do to help and the beginning of an answer appeared. I was bolstered to investigate this idea further by another meeting of souls I had with another good person in the world.
I came home and allowed myself to lay in bed and do nothing. I allowed myself to fall in love with life again, through the soft pressure, the gentle purring of a cat on my chest.
I fell in love with life through the beautiful walk in my wooded neighborhood, drinking in the barren landscape through my eyes and the sharp coolness of the air, through the Japanese red maple leaves in my yard.
It was only then that I realized you had left, tea cup empty and a gift so large I had to expand my heart to hold it.
You cleansed my vision with tears and unspeakable beauties leapt in their stead. You left with me the wisdom that beauty is yet another form of connection to our larger ourselves.
You emptied me out, in order to allow me to be filled with vibrancy and wonder, which was reflected all around me. Thank you, thank you, holiest of teachers, skillful master of living. In gratitude, I bow, and in gratitude, I will serve.
With deepest love and respect,