Somewhere in the past ten years, I wrote a manifesto of sorts, called What I Learned About Love, as a Valentine’s Day gift to my friends. A few of the items were these:
“Love without limits begins with self love.”
“Love never dies even if the person does.”
“No one will ever love you enough to make up for you not loving yourself.”
“Love with adbandon without fear of being abandoned.”
I pull them out on occasion as a teaching tool for workshops and to remind myself how I choose to live. This being human brings with it ample opportunity for that refresher course. How often do we encounter situations in which we hide our light, our passions, or dreams so as to ‘protect’ ourselves? This past week, I gave myself the gift of that message, as it came through my friend Arlene Curley. I am going to be teaching at the center that she and her husband Jim steward in beautiful Bucks County, PA called Greenshire Arts Consortium. As we were putting together the promo material, I sent her the delightful photo that my friend Cindy Greb had taken for my book jacket. I am playfully peeking out from behind an ancient tree in my friend Durwood’s yard, butterfly wings tipping out. My leg is extended behind me as if I am ready to take off. I thought that it represented the free flight on which I was embarking. When Arlene looked at it, she asked: “Do you want you standing behind the tree? Or do you have a full-forward face – presenting your entire self to the world!” Gulp. Being a highly intuitive woman, it seemed that Arlene was able to see into my soul as she also encouraged revising my bio. As a career journalist, I have had the honor of interviewing notables in the fields of transformation, medicine, entertainment, the arts, politics and peace. I had always included their names as if somehow THEY gave me credibility. Arlene reminded me that my experience was sufficient and that I was incorporating what I had learned from hundreds of encounters in the past 24 years and THAT was affirmation enough. WHEW!
I believe in the maxim “We teach what we need to learn.” and this is certainly a life lesson for me as I encourge people to come out, come out wherever they are and show their beautiful faces to the world. Although I am doing so more readily, there are times when I retreat to the safety of the tree. Being public means being vulnerable. When I interview folks, I take the moral high road and don’t share information about them that is tabloid-esque. I recall interviewing Nell Newman who is the daughter of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. She and her proud papa had just founded Newman’s Own Organics. She laughingly told me a story about something that happened in their home. I felt it was a bit too private a glance into their lives and I asked her if she was sure she wanted that in the article. She thanked me and it never went in. I desire that same respect for my work and my life. I do want to be fully seen and known for who I am, realizing that being on the ‘big stage of life’ brings with it people’s interpretation of who I am. I endeavor to be low maintenance, easy to work with, open and receptive in all areas of my life.
I grew up in a family in which expressions of love were everywhere. My wise parents knew that there was always enough to go around and that by sharing it generously, it would grow. As a result, they had many friends. That sense of abundance has served me throughout my life and yet, there are times when I have felt embarressed by effusive expression of love winging back at me. My friend Deremiah *CPE used the term The Law Of Reciprocity last week; the idea that what we put out into the world, returns to us, like a boomerang. My father called it “One hand washes the other.” Although the idea isn’t ‘give to get’, but when we offer our gifts and talents to the world, it can’t help but return to us, perhaps not directly from the person to whom we have given, but most certainly from the true Source.
What is that you are called on to do with abandon? I choose to do most things that way. One of my favorite shows was Northern Exposure; this quirky, creatively genius series about ‘life, the universe and everything’, explored relationships, physics and metaphysics, life and death, light and dark, fantasy and fear. I was perusing old episodes last night and re-disovered this clip….I invite you to dance with abandon and may that offer you the courage to live the other aspects of your life in that glorious way…
http://youtu.be/Lx3NN_AFV5E Dance With Abandon from Northern Exposure