I Choose Love

Somedays life is like a long dark tunnel, and it’s not clear that one will emerge anytime soon into the light. That is what Holy Week felt like this year for me. Everything around me was bright and comfortable and beautiful. I am housesitting in a gorgeous adobe for friends in Taos. This Easter weekend, I renewed old friendships with those who make my heart sing! My beloved came to visit. Mari the cat was a lovely snuggle bunny and Spring was happy to bring her warming temps. But inside I felt a bleakness. Grief washing over me as I felt deeply this time of transition in my life. Loss was a stark reminder everywhere I turned. The landscape looked crumpled and brown where it had fallen dormant in late Autumn last year. The greening plant hormones of growth were still waiting til the warm temperatures were not so fickle. The daily headlines were from a world screaming about more clashes of strife on top of the usual reporting of wars, rumors of more wars and authoritarian fears. Partisan cultural wars and gun violence continue to rise like a tidal wave in this country, causing vexations and daily unsettling.

You might say I have a penchant for a “glass half empty” existence. Somedays, this is very true. I do feel things deeply.

But oddly enough, after marinating in my own stew on Passion Week, I awoke this Monday morning with a different outlook. Cynthia Bourgeault calls our own little interior sufferings, “passions”. She says in her teachings from the Wisdom School (my paraphrase):

This is not the passion of suffering that Christ suffered, but our own private passions—what she calls “big energy leaches”. Our journey forward, towards the resurrection of our own hearts, is to free ourselves from the enslavement to these passions. What they really are is a “stuckness” in relationship to our own peculiar and small fixed emotional points of reference. This includes our personal points of view, rather than a larger consciousness—my drama, mystory, my suffering, my narrative, my vision, my need. This “stickiness” leads us to being easily offended, meritorious, slighted, wounded, urgent.

As Cynthia says, the problem with the passions is that they divide the heart. The cost is that it keeps us in our “drama”.

As we sacrifice the passions we begin to unify the heart so the heart can “see” in the dark, live in faith, and find the clarity of our inner guide. Whether this is the Holy Spirit in Christianity, the inner light in the Quaker understanding, non-attachment in the Buddhist tradition—all these spiritual paths call us to live from this inner heart space. 

(content attributed to Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault in The Introduction To Wisdom School, Center for Action and Contemplation February 2023)

I pray to live more and more from this single souled, heart-place as I walk forward.

The beautiful thing is that, even as I awoke this morning, Easter Monday, after a troubling dream, something shifted. For a time I laid in bed, spending time in breath meditation and silence. As I started my day, I suddenly had a glimpse of this beautiful sense of “oneness”.  Even as Kenneth and I are on a good journey to move from a place we’ve called home for decades, I often find myself dragged under the waves of overwhelm and the grief of leaving—a crisis of meaning and trying to “figure out” with my brain all the whys??” But today, it was as though the jagged edge of that inner oppression had softened with a feeling of peace, trust and joy. Thanks be to the Resurrected One. It felt like I was resonating with that Divine Heart. Like a plucked harp string singing or a choir in beautiful harmony.

Death happens in so many ways, large and small, daily. We cannot sustain that sense of peace, faith and oneness alone. We need each other and our daily connection with the Great Love. Mary Oliver, the renown poet writes about the Big Death at the end of our lives. But, I feel it applies to any transition. How we face it makes all the difference.

When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox;

When death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades…

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?…

When it’s over, I want to say; all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world in my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

If I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don’t want to simply have visited this world.

(Mary Oliver, Devotions (NY: Penguin Press, 2017)285-86

On this Easter Monday—post Passion week—in the face of the myriad and small deaths you face or have experienced, I wish you just as many kindnesses and love overflowing from that Great Heart of Love, beating with yours in rhythm even as you proceed towards resurrection hope.

8 thoughts on “I Choose Love

  1. I’m not sure if I am really able to reply to your post in this way but that’s what the implication was.

    You will have to fill me in on what’s next for you two. I didn’t know you and Kenneth were leaving, or at least leaving your home. And it sounds like there have been other losses which is not surprising as Covid seemed to come with losses but I don’t know what you were referring to.

    If you can fill me in, I’d be most grateful. I am sad if you are leaving the SW.



  2. Beautiful, Anita. I had a similar week and woke today with a sense of internal re-creation, a lightness, and acceptance.

    Curious about where you two are headed. Having made a significant move after 17 years in NM, I can relate to the goodness and the grief you are describing. Much love to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

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