At ten years old I was a pretty miserable child.
A latch key kid from a “broken home”, I was pretty shy and awkward. My older brother picked on me, my parents worked a lot, and I was throughly bored in school. A creative type at heart, I was not amused by worksheets and multiple choice tests. I couldn’t sit still in class and got in trouble quite a bit. I yearned to sing (even if it was off-key most of the time), and paint and play in the orange grove in my back yard.
All that changed the day my new teacher arrived wearing ultra cool John Lennon glasses and a ponytail down his back. Richard was pure magic in my ten year old world. His smile hinted that he knew every secret in the entire universe worth knowing. He was unlike any teacher I had ever known.
In Richard’s class we explored color and sound, and created delicious sensory feasts of all kinds. We painted and sculpted and danced. We sang “Here Comes the Sun” at the beginning of class as he played his guitar. We made stapled together booklets called Poor Dickie’s Almanac, and filled them with the prose and poetry we wrote. We even made a super 8 movie. One of the high points of my childhood was when he cast me as The Queen, surely to coax me out of my shyness.
That classroom was alive. I was alive. We were alive… together!
As a gift for each child’s birthday, Richard wrote a poem. When my birthday came, he reverently read my poem, and then presented me with a calligraphy copy of this brief and touching verse. Decades later, I still remember every word.
Winter in and frozen stream,
but sunlight sees right through,
To a world of warmth beneath,
and lives come true.
When I heard the verse I was stunned and elated all at once. I instantly knew that Richard saw me in a way no one else did. He saw deeply into the shy and fumbling little girl I was pretending to be.
Richard really saw me! He recognized my heart and soul. He saw me as the warmth that could make lives come true! The moment I realized Richard saw deep within me, I saw myself in a new way.
Love is sometimes hidden deep inside; crusted over and frozen. Yet in the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, we have infinite opportunities to recognize and bow down to love in its many forms, within ourselves and all around us.
We all have the opportunity to be the warmth of love that "flows and makes lives come true". Richard did this for me, and in so doing invited me to recognize the incredible power of my loving essence.
He was a catalyst for my tender heart awakening. Before Richard came into my life I knew I was loved, but he helped me to know that I am love. In this simple and magical way, Richard changed my life forever. After that birthday, my young heart would never beat as it had before. I could never again truly believe I was less than I was, or small, or insignificant.
The simple act of courageously recognizing the heart of love in one another is a deeply significant gift, which is so easy to forget as we whirl through life, trying to grab the many shiny and tempting brass rings in our ever spinning lives.
And yet, what is the alternative? We can go on judging, condemning, and criticizing each other. We can be competitive, petty, and uncaring. We can even be angry because the people in our lives don’t always give us the love we want, in just the right package.
Or we can be the "sunlight that see right through", even in the deep cold of winter.
As a young woman, my ideas about love were throughly conditioned by the romantic notions of Western culture. In my young mind, love was all about "happily ever after." The height of love was an idealized version of romantic love with my perfect partner.
As I went through life’s inevitable challenges, I began to have a wider, richer understanding of love. As fulfilling as romantic love can be, a bigger and bolder version of love began to bubble up in my awareness. As my internal vision of love expanded, I looked for ways to bring fuller expressions of love to each moment and situation, rather than perpetually looking for love to show up in the ways I expected and projected.
As I began to look at life through more loving eyes, situations that used to seem hopeless and disappointing became powerful opportunities to share love.
How I defined love kept getting bigger and bigger until one day I realized love encompassed every interaction, every thought, and every feeling I ever had. Period.
Love truly is everywhere, in everyone.
Even the painful disconnected moments that don’t feel very loving are part of love's ever present dance. Every heartache has love at its core. And every person is the embodiment of love’s ever expanding grace.
The moment we realize love really IS everywhere, wanting more love shifts to realizing you already have it.
When we really get this, the ultimate love challenge shifts from finding love, to igniting a fuller, richer expressions of love in every situation.
Searching for the perfect lover is transformed into exploring ways to activate the sometimes hidden and elusive love within and all around you. Wanting love is transformed into being love, and shining its warm radiance in every direction.
Love is the very substance of our world. It is the essence of earth and air, fire and water. Love is the essence of every human heart, mind, and body, however ailing and pain ridden they may be.
Love is the essential force that unites all and make us whole.
Love's mighty force is activated simply by recognizing it. In a world that seems to be turned upside down with perpetual suffering, recognizing love can seem like a small and insignificant act.
Yet, the simple act of recognizing love unleashes its miraculous healing force and activates the creative power we’ve all been searching for, whether we know it or not. This simple act can have profoundly positive consequences in our collective evolutionary journey.
The simple recognition of love has the power to heal, to awaken, and to transform lives.
On this Valentine's Day I recognize you and me, and all the chaos and suffering in the world as love in the process of bursting through into greater expression.
In the light of Love,
In celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm sharing a video that is near and dear to my heart. Several months ago, my daughter and her sweetheart were married.
Although I have married many couples over the years as a licensed non-denominational wedding officiant, it was a profound honor to marry my daughter, and to share deeply in this heartwarming and really fun celebration. This joyous day was incredibly inspiring, and one of the high points of my life.
I share this with you with the hope that it will inspire you to awaken and cultivate greater love in all of your relationships. Enjoy!
I like to write. When I write I feel calm, clear, tuned in, and vibrantly alive.
A few friends and clients have mentioned that some of my blog posts are too long for this fast-paced, plugged in era. So I will be writing periodic posts that get right to the heart of the matter. Short and sweet. I love digging deep and getting to what is essential. So here goes!
An energy therapist, relationship and spiritual life coach, Ariana is a lover of love in all of its many delicious forms; self love, couples love, family love, community love and ultimately, the universal love that pervades all.