What is one supposed to do when overwhelmed with a feeling of love? Especially when there is no particular, obvious object to which it can be directed? This question came to me while watching a television program. There was a story being told of a small boy with an extremely rare disease, FOP. It is incurable and it turns the small boy’s body slowly to solid bone. As the disease develops one is restricted more and more in the movements possible, eventually resulting in the death of the person.
As I watched the story unfold I was suddenly shedding tears of love. I did not know the boy. Certainly it was the story that triggered the current flow of tears and the overpowering emotion of love. I needed to understand this experience and glean the meaning as it related to my life. I have been experiencing these emotions for some time since beginning an intensive therapy program. In the weekly sessions I came to see many of the experiences that I had through the years simply had either been stuffed into my heart out of sight or carelessly denied as having any meaning for me. This was not the kind of therapy that tries to find out where my childhood went terribly wrong. Nor was it directed at discovering that one event that turned my life in some new and difficult direction. The process was one of learning how to be where I am.
Watching this little boy cope with his difficult life was a here and now moment for me. What can I do with this loving embrace that I feel? I simply let my feeling of love reach out from the spirit in me to the spirit in him. I believe in touching him with love his courage will be stirred. I believe that sharing this love changes me as well. As I recognize the power of love welling up within me I deepen my sense of oneness with all humanity and all of creation, right now, right here.
In our journey through life we are often so caught up in trying to determine where we want to be or what we want to be that we forget to pay attention to who we are and where we are right now! Many of the important things I have discovered about myself in this process of therapy have come to me by letting myself be where I am. When I am truly in this moment all that I need to know and all that is there for me to do silently seems to take its place in my heart. I begin to experience love. When I am in that love I see what is real about my experiences and my life choices. I see and feel this awareness without the judgment one often feels when looking back over his or her life with regrets about certain choices. When I am not in this now moment of love, it is likely that I do experience sadness and grief and regret. The goal of therapy for me has been to bring these two views of my life together in a meaningful way, a way that allows me the grace to recognize that I might have done some things better and at the same time to accept that having made those choices brought me to this point in my life. Here and now I can attribute new meanings to those choices and take new directions from here on.
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While watching the Kennedy Honors program this year, 2006, I was struck by the many ways love was being expressed for five special persons, who, through their careers, had been able to make the world a better, richer and more loving place for all of us. I won’t attempt to repeat the accolades. What I will do is share some of the insights I experienced during the program.
Smokey Robinson was the first honoree. The story of his life from very poor beginnings to his phenomenal success as a performer and song writer along with his positive approach and support of others with whom he came in contact made me realize that there is so much that is good about our world! There are people all around us who unselfishly share themselves in support of the spark of hope within others. Rather than spending our time and attention on what is wrong with our world, we could be productively engaged in sharing our love and our creative abilities with others who simply need an opportunity, an opening that allows them to express their fullest potential.
As they honored the great Indian conductor, Zubin Mehta, and told of the influence he had on various symphonies and artists, I was suddenly impressed with the thought, there is music in every soul. We are so fortunate to have a song in our hearts. It just waits to be sung! Personally, I love all types of music and everyone in my family seemed to be able to play some instrument. As a child I remember our full family gatherings that always included music. My father played the guitar, violin and piano. My mother played the piano, as did my sister and brother. None really had much in the way of formal music training. The music just seemed to burst forth from them. I took piano lessons, but unfortunately was under the tutelage of a strict classical instructor who made it very difficult for me to express any individuality on the instrument. Perhaps our “song” is not always something we sing or an instrument we play. The song in our hearts may be simply our ability to resonate with the symphony of the spheres, the harmonics of the universe. To be aware of the intricate interrelationship of all parts of the universe in a chaotic harmony is to know the music in our soul.
Andrew Lloyd Weber was honored for so many musical scores and productions including, Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ, Superstar. As I heard selections from Superstar I could not help but feel the power of Spirit personally. We are so fortunate to have the song in our hearts. Music can be the language of love, of joy, of sadness and grief, of power and triumph. It can represent all of the feelings within us. All of these representations are positive, redeeming, and uplifting if we give ourselves to their expression. We do not have to sing or play an instrument. We simply need to recognize that each of is the instrument for the expression of the glory of our Creator.
A total change in musical style was represented in the life of Dolly Parton. Born in rural Tennessee with little other than a song in her heart Dolly never forgot her roots and her family. I realized the deepest love comes from the deepest roots. Also, the love we give expression to in honoring others is so strengthening to our soul. Anytime we give expression to love something wonderful happens to us and to everyone around us.
The honoree whose impact upon us came not from music, but rather from his ability to tell a story with great empathy was Stephen Spielberg. He brought us the power of believing in our imagination, of opening up to wondrous possibilities. He also brought us deeply moving accounts of the tragedies humans are capable of inflicting upon each other. Through his movies, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, we came face to face with experiences we must strongly seek to prevent from happening. The message I received from his contribution to our collective understanding echoed the words of Jesus: Love one another, even as I have loved you.
If we will learn from the examples all around us that love is the only real value worth embracing and expressing, we too will make our own unique contribution to the well being of our world. It will be a happier, safer and more loving environment in which to live.