synchronistic encounters

I love synchronistic encounters, whether that may be a person or, in this case, this wondrous book: “Love: What Life Is All About” by Leo Buscaglia

I added this book to my reading list from reading excerpts from Brain Pickings (Leo Buscaglia on Education, Industrialized Conformity, and How Stereotypes and Labels Limit Love and A “Dynamic Interaction”: Leo Buscaglia on Why Love Is a Learned Language) a few months ago and it just sat there on my list, waiting patiently. I felt the urge to start my New Year with this book, along with a few others, and I am beyond glad that I listened.

I just started two days ago but I’m already so captivated by his words and ideas, willing to learn, grow and “take what is right for [me]” from all that he is sharing.

This quote hit home hard and gave me a boost of confidence to believe in my own path:

“You can only be “real” on your path. The hardest thing in the world is to be something you’re not. By straying from yourself you must get closer and closer and closer to what you are. You’ll find it’s an easy way to be. The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position. Find “you,” who you are, be as you are. Then you can live simply. You can use all of the energy that it takes to “hold back the spooks,” as Alpert calls it. You won’t have any spooks to hold back anymore. You won’t be playing games anymore. Clear them all away and say, “Here’s me. Take me for what I am with all my frailties, all my stupidity, and so on. And if you can’t, leave me be.”

~ Leo Buscaglia

And this quote:

“If a man in the street were to pursue his self, what kind of guiding thoughts would he come up with about changing his existence? He would perhaps discover that his brain is not yet dead, that his body is not dried up, and that no matter where he is right now, he is still the creator of his own destiny. He can change this destiny by taking his one decision to change seriously, by fighting his petty resistance against change and fear, by learning more about his mind, by trying out behavior which fills his real need, by carrying out concrete acts rather than conceptualizing about them, by practicing to see and hear and touch and feel as he has never before used these senses, by creating something with his own hands without demanding perfection, by thinking out ways in which he behaves in a self-defeating manner, by listening to the words that he utters to his wife, his kids, and his friends, by listening to himself, by listening to the words and looking into the eyes of those who speak to him, by learning to respect the process of his own creative encounters and by having faith that they will get him somewhere soon. We must remind ourselves, however, that no change takes place without working hard and without getting your hands dirty. There are no formulae and no books to memorize on becoming. I only know this: I exist, I am, I am here, I am becoming, I am my life and no one else makes it for me. I must face my own shortcomings, mistakes, transgressions. No one can suffer my non-being as I do, but tomorrow is another day, and I must decide to leave my bed and live again. And if I fail, I don’t have the comfort of blaming you or life or God.”

~ Zinker, Gestalt Institute in Cleveland, from his paper called On Public Knowledge and Personal Revelation

Other powerful quotes to share:

“We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.”

~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer

“We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating and adventuring. Consequently, the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventures of our lifetime.”

~ Herbert Otto

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

~ Herbert Otto

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LOVE, NO MATTER WHAT

I came across this insightful and thought-provoking TED Talk and wanted to share this with as many people out there as possible (and with Mina when she’s older, of course)!

You don’t have to be a parent to find his talk moving and compelling, only human. “Diversity is what unites us. … [T]he experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love.”

Another quote with profound meaning to me: “Love is something that ideally is there unconditionally throughout the relationship between a parent and a child. But acceptance is something that takes time. It always takes time.

This distinction he made between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance was an aha moment for me.  This distinction is something I knew by experience, by living through the pain of nonacceptance from my family; but something I was never able to make sense or articulate.  All I managed to do through it all was LOVE.  “LOVE, NO MATTER WHAT,” as his title says.  Yes, indeed.  And in the end, almost miraculously in my eyes, my parents have come around to accept me and my family for who we are.

Now, seeing that fine line and separating the two gives me an odd sense of security and relief.  I’ve arrived here: a calm understanding and compassionate resignation that acceptance from those unwilling will take time, on their time.

There is a lesson here for just about anyone willing to listen and give the next 23 minutes a chance.  Profound meaning is here, wherever we are; but only found to those who are open and present.  Both his books, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression are on my reading list now!

“Andrew Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.  Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.”

Andrew Solomon Bio on TED

andrewsolomon.com

RB’s life lessons to revisit daily

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons & 5 to grow on (click the hyperlink to view the article with complete list) I’ve read it, printed it, and posted it on our fridge because it’s too profound a list not to revisit daily.

A perfect succinct list of reminders to keep your eye and heart on what really matters, despite all the noise and distractions, the lies and delusions.  I love them all but here are my favorites:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Some of these resonate profoundly, especially the bold ones (I placed for emphasis). Serendipitous to read them right now as they reaffirm my own realizations in the past few weeks, months. I’ll have to examine this further in order to synthesize it for sharing.

bubbly toesies & hands

I love kissing Mina’s soft, bubbly toesies and hands! (Yes, like the children’s book, “The Kissing Hand.”)

Just seems like yesterday when Mina was born…and in a few short months, she will be 2…though her terrible twos has already begun…. Actually, I take that back. Humbling and challenging, yes, but not terrible at all. (What’s terrible is when I’m not as patient and compassionate as I’d like to be…worse yet, when I can’t make it all better…but every day is practice, every day I’m learning to be a better Mama to my Mina.) She’s just growing up, discovering the world in her own way, sharing more of herself, and wanting to “Mina do!” everything because she knows she can, because she’s secure, confident, and curious. We love that about her! She’s a wonder!!

Pema Chödrön’s quote comes to mind: “This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

excerpt: The Art of Loving by Fromm

In my previous post the art of loving: food, I recommended one of my favorite books of all time, “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm; so I had to share this excerpt so dear to us. So clear, so deep,  so true, so wise. First published in 1956, such a timeless piece! I’m forever moved and inspired by these words:

“An illusion must be mentioned here. The illusion, namely, that love means necessarily the absence of conflict. Just as it is customary for people to believe that pain and sadness should be avoided under all circumstances, they believe that love means the absence of any conflict. And they find good reasons for this idea in the fact that the struggles around them seem only to be destructive interchanges which bring no good to either one of those concerned. But the reason for this lies in the fact that the “conflicts” of most people are actually attempts to avoid the real conflicts. They are disagreements on minor or superficial matters which by their very nature do not lend themselves to clarification or solution. Real conflicts between two people, those which do not serve to cover up or to project, but which are experienced on the deep level of inner reality to which they belong, are not destructive. They lead to clarification, they produce a catharsis from which both persons emerge with more knowledge and more strength.

Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence. Only in this “central experience” is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, this is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence, that they are one with each other by being one with themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.”

Link to Google eBook: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm