We all have it.
Even if it sleeps deeply buried inside us, we know it is there. It stirs us. It whispers to us in our darkest and our finest hours. As without it we would not know love, or grief, or hatred, or sorrow, or jealousy. Without it no art would be made, nor wars waged, nor gaols broken, or built.
Passion has imprisoned just as many as it has freed. Liberators are filled with just as much burning passion as are conquerors.
I could not think of anything sadder, more removed from the essence of humanity than not to care about anything or anyone deeply. Not to feel anything strongly.
There are those who seek self-preservation through avoidance of strong feelings. They strive for lives of light and purity and sacredness. I could never help feeling that such aspirations are fuelled by conviction of one’s superiority to the rest of us whose daily toil is amongst all the guts and all the gore of human existence. To attain purity and sacredness one must be either dead or, if still alive, removed from living. Set aside, perhaps as an observer, rather than a participant. In this way, an observer is freed from having to make any of the life’s choices. Instead, passing judgments (however packaged) on choices made by fallible participants becomes their sacrosanct duty.
Then there are those who speak of passion as belonging to youth only. They tell about great peace, and sometimes great wisdom, they attained with the onset of old age (that being any age they deem appropriate). They believe themselves liberated from the chains of passion, no longer enslaved by their desires of either flesh or soul. They tend to observe any affairs of heart with superior indifference. They have ‘seen it all before.’
I never subscribed to either camp. On the contrary, I maintain that it is nothing but an ordinary cowardice that really lies at the heart of it all. However masqueraded, it remains a fear of surrounding to the richness of human heart … to that which Pablo Neruda described so beautifully – ‘As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin.’
However big our fear might be, it is nothing compared to the emptiness we would know if we let it stop us from surrounding to our human heart, with all its fickleness and all its frivolities.
And all the risks that ensue from it … so it seems that when comes to passion – surrender is an act of unprecedented bravery.
Being of such disposition, it is a little wonder I found myself rather vindicated after listening to Isabel Allende speaking so candidly about living passionately no matter your age!
Not only is Isabel as witty and as charming at 71 as she always was, but if you listen till the very end, your views on guacamole are likely to change for ever! I know mine have -:)!