“Why are we here? 
You are here to take the curriculum.”
~Ram Dass

Dear Friends on the Path (and we are all on the path),

It takes courage to love—to keep your heart soft and vulnerable after it’s been broken wide open by loving someone only to be let down, betrayed, belittled and abandoned.

But that’s what one of my kids has done—“kids” being the affectionate name I give the group of children now-turned adults whom I tutored, counselled, mentored and grew up with over the last 20+ years. While for most of them, I was initially hired to tutor them in English, the ones that stuck around year after year were the ones whose sessions became more about wading through the emotional challenges of adolescence rather than the academic ones. My time with them was one of the biggest blessings in my life—and continues to be.

Through a lot of tissues and tears, I write this love letter in awe and gratitude for the people these kids have become, having just hung up the phone with one girl who has experienced a heartbreaking loss. The boy she loved died yesterday of cancer—he was only 30.  I didn’t know the boy but I know the girl. And how she allowed herself to experience love during the short time she knew him was something that has broken my heart wide open.

You see he didn’t love her back—as a friend, yes, but not in the romantic way she felt for him. And the pain of not having the love returned had broken her heart. However, instead of collapsing into despair, medicating herself or moving on to another person or distraction, she took two months this summer on her own to experience as much joy and connection as possible in other ways—through a hike, her work with children, camping under the stars. 

She returned home, read the signs that the universe delivers to us when our ears and eyes are open and knew it was time to contact him.  And while she still loved the boy and the love remained unrequited, she spent this past week telling him about her love and gratitude for all the gifts he gave to her just by him being in her life. 

A few days later, his illness turned for the worse and yesterday he passed, in her words free to be among the stars, the sun and the sky. 

When I saw her last week and talked with her this morning, I was struck by this beautiful, light-filled girl who I’ve known for 16 years who has become the teacher now, brilliantly demonstrating in her exquisite beauty and vulnerability what true love is. She let herself be transformed through the pain and as a result she is able to love even more. I can’t help but think how much the people in her life will be affected by the loving space she has amplified within.  I know how I’ve been affected. 

Relationships teach us to grow in love and consciousness—if we let them. The curriculum does not have to be punishing and painful, but it can be when we blame others for how we feel. Sometimes the hurt seems unbearable, but it doesn’t have to linger. When we move to our heart centre, surrendering the pain and trusting that a higher and more loving force is moving within us, the heart that has been broken bursts through to a new understanding of what it means to love unconditionally. 

The kid who was once my student has most certainly become the teacher and I’m so grateful that her soul requested this assignment and her heart answered the call. 

With all of my love,

Love Letter #9
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

*Picture taken by Chris Willis on the trail of the Camino de Santiago over the skies of La Cruz de Ferro, Spain.