11/05/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Anything for Passion

Passion's been on my mind lately, mostly because I haven't stopped thinking about it since I was 21, when I endured my fiancé's abuse and cruelty -- and by extension his hot and cold displays of "love" -- for three long years. In spite of implicit consent on my part, not surprisingly, he broke my heart anyway. Although I recovered and eventually moved on to healthier relationships, I continue to talk with men and women about the question we have all grappled with at one time or another: Why will human beings put up with almost anything to experience passion?

Passion is a big subject, I know. There's passion in love, passionate sex, passion for one's art or work, and passion for life, as a starter. All its incarnations fascinate me, but for now I'll focus on the passion we seek in relationships. Over the years I've come to many conclusions about the subject -- none of them being the all-defining period at the end of a long book -- and here's my most recent epiphany on the big Why?

At the core lies the bigger question: Why do we do anything?

Why do we try to succeed at anything? Why do we raise animals, or eat them? Why do we establish friendships? Why do we pray? Why do we read books? Why do we lie down at night or get up in the morning? What do we want out of life?

I have a feeling it lies beyond having flat abs or a fat bank account.

What is it we are trying to get to? Different people call it different things. World peace; or, justice for the oppressed; or, justice, period. Maybe it's food, shelter and clothing. To live well. To die peacefully. To be healthy. Or is it that we want to be healed?

Nah, just give me a good boyfriend.

No, really, I've given this a lot of thought, and I think we want to be healed.

The American Heritage Dictionary says that to "heal" is "to set right." And "health" is described as being "free from disease or abnormality." Seems to me that back then, I had a really funky disease that landed me in a quagmire of heightened abnormality. I've asked my mother if I might have been abused as a child, and just can't remember? Must be a reason I was so devoid of self-love, and allowing of what leads to self-loathing.

"No," she says, taking the question seriously, "you weren't."

"How do you know I wasn't sexually abused while you weren't looking?" I insist.

"I think I would have known," she says. "Why do you ask?"

"Never mind."

I think I was looking to heal something in me. Where the original illness came from, I don't know. Maybe it's the human condition, to be born un-whole and to spend life trying to get back to a place not just glued into some misshapen mosaic, but into a seamless work of art. Maybe everything we do comes from a longing to demystify being human and inhabiting our humanness. To piece together the puzzle of our existence, and to heal the fissures that create uneven edges, and leakage--of hope and faith that we can make it through this voyage in the way we were meant to, whatever that might mean. To cure ourselves of doubt about who we are and where we come from, and to enjoy ourselves wherever we are, whatever it leads to.

I think everything we do is so that we might heal. My definition of healing? To feel good.

Think about it.

I'll elaborate on this theory next time!