Copyright: C. Martin, 2015

Copyright: C. Martin, 2015

I thrive on passion. I think we all do.

I think we do ourselves a disservice by relegating passion to the bedroom. By trying confine it to one person, one relationship.

In reality, passion is everywhere. From the roiling flow of a river to the sound of thunder. From a roomful of excited students to the infatuation between a mother and her baby.

It even lives, I believe, in sadness, tragedy, and fear. There is passion in an earthquake, passion in illness, passion in a panic attack, passion in the way people come together when facing hardship.

When I was a teacher, this was something I yearned to teach my students. I wanted them to find the passion in music, art, poetry, books - and hopefully learn to see it beyond the arts. This was a harder task to achieve than I ever dreamed possible, but every now and then, it happened.

One of my favorite memories of that time was when I worked at a boarding school that served middle-school aged girls who were dealing with mental illness and psychological trauma. I made some headway with a book we were reading, but couldn't quite get them to the point of falling in love with art and literature.

One day, I brought in my DVD of The Phantom of the Opera and we started watching it. Each day, I found a way to work it into the curriculum and we talked about symbolism, and how music, choreography, and well-chosen words could add to the experience of a story for viewers and readers.

Those girls were mesmerized. With the issues they were dealing with, they strongly identified with the Phantom and were able to connect to the story even more deeply because of that. I would get goosebumps looking out at them as they watched the movie, and even more chills when we talked about the scenes we had just watched and they made connections, dug into the meaning of the story, and expressed their desire to write something similarly moving.

They got it. They understood the passion and they felt it.

Imagine if we all felt that the majority of the time. Imagine if we didn't relegate it to moments with a lover. Imagine the ripple effects that reverberate from us when we allow ourselves to embrace this passion for life (and for more passion).

The funny thing is, I don't think the events of life would change all that much. We'd still have the same love, the same tragedy. But we'd go deeper. We'd love deeper and feel deeper and connect deeper. We'd swoon just a little bit more. It would feel so good and so tender.

Our hearts would be broken open every single day. And it would be exquisite.