Welcome to the month of love. Because February celebrates Valentine’s Day, we have an invitation to reflect on the wonders, mysterious, miraculous beauty of love, in all aspects of our lives. When I was invited to give a talk at our community’s cultural center, La Grua’s, I seized on the opportunity to enter into a dialogue about love. I decided to call my talk “Living In Love” – the name of a book I wrote in the 1990’s when Peter and I were flourishing. In our “love and work,” in love with each other, our family friends, our chosen work, and our thriving, by reaching out to extend our love of life through the adventures of traveling to foreign countries, we explored the limitless, expansive opportunities to learn about love. Living in love is an energy, a way of being an attitude of affirming and confirming all of life’s possibilities.
Love is foundational, the essence of our being. When babies are born, they may die when not touched by human love. Love is our nature. It is up to each of us to will and choose to live in love. What great good fortune for me to focus on this energy for the weeks before Wednesday, February 28th, the last day of the month of love. By focusing on love, remembering Peter’s last words to me, “I love you,” has expanded my heart, awakening all the powerful memories of loving moments big as years that well up in our hearts, illuminating our path to become more loving human beings.
I’m thrilled to learn that several friends who came to the November Happiness Retreat are returning to Stonington to come to my love event, followed by an intimate dinner at Breakwater. Thank you dear friends. We will have another fun meaningful, shared experience. As Peter told me with a wink when we chose to marry, “there will be many surprises.” Whenever any of us are together, living in love, there will be many surprises. I feel confident we will be surprised by joy.
The month of January was a peaceful, quiet period of time reflecting on why we do what we do, and what truly makes for lasting happiness and eternal love. We can’t give someone a heart shaped box of Godiva chocolate. Love is not an object to possess, but a powerful force we learn about and nurture by loving. We bring loving energy from the core of our being and genuinely choose to share it with others, from known to unknown.
A friend went to a thrift store and came across a paperback copy of a book I wrote, “Daring to Be Yourself,” and paid twenty five cents for it. She decided to have me autograph it to her until Barbara saw an inscription written in March 1994 “To Barbara.” What are the chances of this happening? This was an astonishing coincidence. What do we make of an experience that amazes us? We tend to reach out to others, tell our story, and make the happening “made to be.” We and we alone are responsible for the choices we make and the openness to personal growth and change that will broaden our horizons and make us more loving. “Daring to Be Yourself” is a reminder that we can be true to who we are. We can always remain true to who we are in all aspects of our lives. No matter where we are or with whom, we can always remain true to our values, longings and inborn gifts. We have to respect and nurture our individuality, believing in our own self worth and purpose in order to create authentic original works of art or any forms of love that spring forth from our heart.
I have a longing to live in love as I move forward on my journey of discovery and wonder. Because there is only one “me” in the universe, and when I die, all the unutilized potential in me will never be born, I feel excited to explore new, fresh ways to grow and learn more about what’s possible and pleasurable.
All things worth doing require work, lots and lots of work. When I was younger I felt the word “work” was pejorative. I was quoted in a magazine once, “If it’s not fun, I don’t do it.” This makes me laugh now, but sometimes out of the mouth of babes, truth is the prize. Hard, dedicated work does not have to be painful. We all will be happiest, most alive and most receptively vulnerable when we are expressing our unique personality and temperament. Without my deliberate conscious decision, all my writing aims toward an ability to seek and find our unique way of personal expression and sense of happy satisfaction with the way we choose to live. Whenever we stretch ourselves and challenge our hearts to be more open and vulnerable, we will grow and evolve into greater self-knowledge and awareness. The Frank Sinatra song, “I did it My Way,” resonates in my soul. When I was raising my daughters Alexandra and Brooke, I encouraged them to never sell their soul. There are core principles in our continuous character development that are right for us, throughout all of our development. We are constantly evolving, learning, re-learning how to become who we are capable of becoming.
Friends, I have a challenge for us. Let’s use the month of love—February—to be more self-centered! By centering ourselves, by taking excellent, prescient good care of our heart, soul and body, this could be our way of giving back to the world. As we think of Valentine’s Day, let’s think of how to better love ourselves. We are essentially alone in life. No matter how closely we bond and become soul-mates, we are alone; living in love, connecting with loving people throughout the different stages of our development, is essential to our well-being. We can share our essence. Others, people we open up to in understanding and empathy, help us to follow our dreams until they become reality. The friends we develop who only wish us well, who love us for our courage to express our real passions, are truly friends of excellence. Rare indeed.
Care giving is learned by taking sensitive, tender care or ourselves. January was a time and space for me to strengthen my belief that by cultivating my own garden I clarified my thinking about how vitally important it is to pursue our own work, whatever we choose that to be. Our outward forms of self-expression will flow and float, depending on a rainbow of reasons and circumstances. Chance is the way we strengthen our resolve to become a better human being, someone who is proud of who we are at the center. To be true to yourself, you have to know yourself. How is it possible that most of us drift through life, narrowing our lives through conforming to fashion, convention, prejudice and labels, using only approximately 5% of our capabilities. We can start today to strengthen our minds and hearts to question more, to look in the mirror in order to see beyond the surface of who we are. We have today, a fresh start, and we’re free to begin anew, to live in love as authentically as is humanly possible.
I read recently that an ancient Roman philosopher and statesperson believed we are going to face death no matter what we are doing with our lives, He suggested we do what we’d choose to do when faced with that situation. Live vitally, enthusiastically and joyfully now. Right now. Begin anything and you will be in the process of becoming a better, more excellent, more loving, happier you.
Thank you friends, for reaching out to me to let me know my writing makes a positive difference in your life. I’m also heartened to learn from many readers that they return to re-read my books for information as well as encouragement and inspiration. I’m glad my words ring true over the test of time and are still relevant in your life now.
When a New York Times book review reporter went to Joe Biden’s house to interview him, before his memoir, about his son Beau dying of brain cancer cried in his kitchen, Joe said, “Stop. We are here to help each other.” Together we can continue to lift each other up to become stronger, more uplifting and encouraging. It’s easy to become discouraged; remaining optimistic and positive in challenging times and specific circumstances requires emotional intelligence. As a spiritual guru taught his followers, “do your best and leave the rest.” If there is something specific you can do to support a cause you believe in, roll up your sleeves. We can all play our part to be the change we envision.
In January, Yale University offered a course in their psychology department entitled “Happiness.” Apparently, there were 300 students who signed up for it and by day three or four, 1200 students signed up. Students were complaining about feeling numb, depressed and distracted, and their unhappiness is keeping them from excelling in their academic work. Peter and I went to a Happiness class in an adult education course taught by a Harvard professor. I’ll be interested to learn about this Yale 2018 course. Happiness is studied scientifically now, making it grounded in patterns of behavior that leads to greater life satisfaction.
Please plan to come to my happiness retreat November 7th and 8th at the Inn at Stonington to help me celebrate my birthday. Call 860-535-2000 and ask to speak t Audry.
On a personal happy note, our granddaughter, Cooper won her first “All Star” basketball game for her school the end of January. What a triumph to have played her heart out and been a part of a winning team, on the record forever. Cooper called me before she played and I told her to have fun and keep her eye on the ball. When she called me after the game, just before going to an ice cream store with some of her teammates, her sheer glee made my whole body tingle. Cooper’s three older cousins are all accomplished basketball players—how proud she feels to be on a winning All Star team! Grandmommy is celebrating! The joy Cooper’s family, teammates, classmates, and friends felt brightened my day. Whenever we have uplifting news that we share, we are spreading good will, creating a welcome antidote to the disheartening news of the day. Self learning, relearning, renewal and love will cause us to be inspired to love all the good in our nature, and through reflection, discipline and mindfulness, we can evolve to eliminate bad habits, and any unloving behavior. We are in a continuous state of becoming. Now is the hour to be the individual character we most earnestly strive to become.
I yearn to be worthy of other people putting their trust in me. I want to live up to my higher powers of universal love, and my intention is to let love flow far and wide as my limitless potential. This expansive love is our responsibility as human beings. Lets together encourage our growing more deeply into a loving consciousness. We are one. What I do to create more excellence in my life will create more ways to become more useful to others.