This morning, my friend Shaun Stephenson sent me a message in response to an article I had written about sexuality/spirituality. I had told her that I was stretching comfort zones by exploring that realm in writing, not because I have ever been a prude when it comes to physical and emotional intimacy, but because of the environment where I had worked, I had been feeling a bit cautious about being too visible and outspoken about the topic. As a therapist/social worker, I framed my work there, in part as sex education. Since leaving the job last June, I have felt a greater sense of freedom around expressing my thoughts in all areas of my life. I still occasionally look over my shoulder to see if the ‘propriety police’ are watching to be sure I am being a ‘good girl’ and not upsetting the apple cart, making waves or stepping on anyone’s toes…the final throes of co-dependence loosening its grip.
She commented that I was exhaling, which brought to mind the ensemble cast (Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Gregory Hines) movie called Waiting To Exhale. For most of my life, (since I was 4 or so) I had been at the effect of asthma that had me doing just that. Mostly unconsciously, but sometimes with complete awareness, I wouldn’t let an outbreath go completely since there was a fear that I wouldn’t be able to fill back up. Such a powerful symbol for how I lived my life…not letting go totally and not allowing in fully. Getting just enough nourishment in those ways to sustain me but not always have me feeling safe and at ease. It showed up in dysfunctional relationships in which I offered excessive care so as to ‘earn my right to receive’, whether it was praise, love, attention or approval.
Later in the day, I was speaking at an event called Awaken The Love; specially timed for Valentine’s Day weekend. The room at a local Unitarian Church was packed with sweet souls who listened with rapt attention to the presenters and musicians who volunteered our time to the cause. Greg Campisi is the heart and mind behind Awaken. Fabulous musicians Annabella Wood, Ashley Blanco and Eric Labacz made our souls sing and Susan Pie’, Terrie Thomas and Greg gave us grist for the mill.
The purpose is : Assisting Humanity in reaching its fullest potential through the education, empowerment, and acceptance of ourselves and others. Awaken is a Center for Human Evolution (CHE) where individuals and groups will be guided into their brightest, highest, and most beloved selves through the education and practice of empowerment, expression, love and acceptance.
Awaken uses education as its primary tool for empowering people to know, understand, and live their greatest potential. The main catalyst used for empowerment is the expression of emotions and deepest truths within us, creating a space to accept vulnerability in ourselves and in others.
Awaken realizes the importance of helping future generations reach their full potential. This is accomplished both through working with youth, as well as helping current and future parents understand themselves and the needs and potential of their children.
Awaken is dedicated to bringing love and harmony to the hearts of all humankind through education and health. Awaken’s goals include, but are not limited to:
- Love and Acceptance of Self
- Expression of Self
- Love and Acceptance of Others
- Evolution of Mind, Body and Spirit to their full Potential
As I stood in front of the room, I felt waves of love wash over me and watched with awe at the sheer willingness of each person there to surrender their belief that they were not worthy of love. They too, it seems, were holding their breath, holding back, holding off the tidal wave of love that had headed their way throughout their lives. I invited them to allow it to flow over them and through them so that they could absorb it and then, like a sponge, ring it out on those they encountered throughout their lives.
Sandwiched in between services at Circle of Miracles earlier in the day and this event, I had another encounter that had me smiling and shaking my head in astonishment. I like to say that I am amazed, but never surprised when these things occur. I had stopped at Panera Bread for lunch and as I sat at a table next to the fireplace with my salad and bowl of black bean soup, a family (11 people in all) sat at two nearby tables. One member was the delightful white haired matriarch who noticed a book I was reading. It is called 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain Through Energy Medicine, written by Candess Campbell. She asked “Oh, do you have pain?” I assured her that I didn’t and added that I was a journalist and was reviewing the book. She told me that she does experience pain and that with the guidance of Deepak Chopra’s work, she is able to reframe her thoughts and thus vanquish the pain. How cool is that? Our conversation continued and she asked me about my work. When I told her, she laughed and said “Oh, you do so many things.” She went on to share that she is 79 years old and has a 91 year old boyfriend (good for them both!) and that she wants to live to be 120. When I told her about being widowed many years ago, she asked if I had remarried. I told her I hadn’t and she winked and said, “You should snag a good man, with all that you have to offer.” I winked back and said, he would have to be able to keep up with me and be really special to beckon me out of my single life. Somehow the conversation turned to asking each other our names, she tells me it is Edith and of course I smiled and introduced myself. Edie is her nickname and my birth name. What are the chances? Only 100%. It is that certainty that life shows up in serendipitous ways that has me no longer waiting to exhale, but instead willing to exhale…..ahhhhh~
http://youtu.be/pkAhQBbK-oM Shower The People- James Taylor