5 Hints to Endure Love’s Dagger: A Modern-Day Fairytale with Shakespeare & Rumi.
I’d like to sit with William and rewrite the ending to his tragic love tale.
He started out very convincingly with his unraveling of the family feud and the losses which the lovers had to endure. But, in the end, they got out of the mess pretty early.
Here is a proposed new ending:
Juliette wakes, sits up in a post-fake-poison fog, and looks at Romeo.
Before she is fully conscious, Romeo chimes in, “Babe, we need to talk…”
Insert one of the following themes into the ending dialogue (with the silent assumptive questions in parenthesis to follow): I have a few kids from a previous marriage (ready to be a step-mom?); My parents aren’t going to accept you (remember, you aren’t *insert race or religion of your choice here*?); You may lose your job if you choose to be with me (you didn’t really like it anyway, did you?); My ex is not willing to make this very easy on anyone (didn’t I tell you about her?); I just got assigned to another country (wanna leave your life and join me?).
Juliette replies, “I think there is still some poison left in the vial. I got the real stuff too, just in case. Or… there’s always the dagger, right?”
What is it about soul love that makes it so messy? I grew up on fairytales. Not one of them ended in divorce in order to find the mystical prince of my dreams or gave me any hints on how to walk the woods of false rumors or survive the shire of complexity.
Soul love is demanding. Period. It rarely comes without requiring a huge amount of courage, foresight, integrity, trust, honesty, strength and perseverance.
Those are my new seven dwarfs. I needed them around when I pricked my finger on the spinning wheel and awoke to find my prince. When I saw who it was, I think I may have wept, not out of joy — out of complete denial and fear of the mess that was to follow. I may have even vomited on one of the dwarfs.
Rumi, the master of love himself, tried to tell me. I don’t think I was ready to listen.
His poem Love comes with a knife gives us some hints on how to put down the poison vial and endure love’s dagger.
Here are the hints (or I would say flashing neon billboards) found in his poem — wise man that he is. I am now, perhaps, ready to listen.
1. “Love comes with a knife, not some shy question, and not with fears for its reputation!”
There it is. Clear as day. Accept it. Love comes with a knife. Not a spoon. Not a down pillow. A knife. Oh, and it doesn’t give a damn about its fluffy reputation.
Part of you will fall under the point of that knife — most likely it will be the part of your identity to which you are most attached.
There will be pain.
But remember, my darling, that the path of love is laid with thorns. Stick it out and the beauty of the blood from your pierced feet will be soul-shuddering. It is the very liquid that streams from your heart, that gives you life. Endure. This isn’t a battle. It is love’s knife, not your enemy’s.
This knife cuts beautiful fractured pieces of your soul away from the illusion of your attachments. This knife carves sacred inscriptions onto the altar of your flesh. It is the sculptor’s blade. Be sculpted.
2. “Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes, running through the mountains, drinking poison, and now quietly choosing annihilation.”
In the spectrum of love’s light, this is not the pole of gentility and warmth.
This is the pole associated with burning and disintegration. It is annihilating and purificatory by nature. It tears things apart. It disconnects and deconstructs. In the Sufi mystical tradition, this is known as fana.
Fana means complete annihilation, the passing out of self-hood (note self with a small s). It is the moth entirely burned by the flame.
It has as its aim the annihilation of the self into the light of the Soul. In this holy fire, there is a burning away of all that blocks one from experiencing the true Beloved, in its glorious entirety.
Don’t worry, my darling, the promise of boundless love will give your heart the courage to endure such a process. Know this and choose it quietly.
3. “You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry.”
Soul love doesn’t do tip-toeing at the ocean’s edge. Soul love doesn’t give a damn about keeping your clothes on and dry.
In fact, it often runs into the center of the ocean, where one can no longer stand.
The robes get soaked. We realize their remarkable heaviness.
We recognize that heaviness. The heaviness of others’ perceptions. The heaviness of caring what people may say or question. The heaviness of maintaining our perfectly constructed identity. Why have we worn these for so long and protected them like a delicate child?
4. “You must dive naked under and deeper under, a thousand times deeper! Love flows down. The ground submits to the sky and suffers what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse for giving in like that?”
I cannot but bow before Rumi here.
Have you plunged into the depths of your soul and surrendered under love’s intentions?
The path of love asks us to near suffocation to experience the fullness of the breath, to fall into anguish to know the true heights of elation.
Hidden within surrender lies redemption. There is a deep understanding that abundance springs from nothingness; that all forms come from the formless; that in the moment when all is taken away, all is provided. In the moment we give in, we are given.
5. “Don’t put blankets over the drum! Open completely. Let your spirit-ear listen to the green dome’s passionate murmur.”
Love is recognized in all spiritual and religious traditions as the most transformative energy of our human experience.
The mystical path of love, in all of its ecstasy and agony, has much to teach us. It remains a great and endless mystery. It escapes the nets of human logic, breaking free from the forms it seems to appear within.
The love that calls us beats passionately, and yet we understand what we hear is only a murmur of a much, much larger melody. Don’t put blankets over the drum!
Maybe this is our new ending, William?
After the final “Babe, we need to talk” dialogue, a Capulet is seen through a crack in the cave. Even though he is madly in love with her, he is leaving his lover, for good, after discovering she was previously married to a Montague and their society will not accept them.
Juliette puts down the vial, places the dagger on the floor between them, and kisses Romeo madly. The curtain falls as she screams:
“Oh, sweet night! Hush now. I hear the drum of your heart. Who is this mad fool that lays blankets over your beat? I am here, as your servant, to scream, wildly, of your thund’rous murmur. Come what may! Here I not lie, but awaken. My soul, ’tis forever shaken.”