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.
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.