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Director, Renewed Strength
A monthly memo for corporate survivors and heart-lead leaders wanting to thrive during change, navigate paradox, and fearlessly create meaning
Recently, I connected with a reporter who was writing a newspaper article on how one heals a broken heart on Valentines day. I gave her an answer and a catchy title because every reporter loves a hook. Yet I'd also say my answer was incomplete.
“I never knew until that moment how bad it could hurt to lose something you never really had.”
– from the television show ‘The Wonder Years’
Funny thing about love. Right now, a number of people close to me are doing the best they can to dissolve their long-term partnerships amicably. Another dear friend is ending a love affair she's had with her business for ten years, one that's helped hundreds of people, including me. This same friend told me about how the father of her children is experiencing a personal crisis that may end his life as he and his children know it. He's in his fifties.
Closer to home, my dear Unca Rick (a.k.a. Dad) is now home safely after a heart attack, which gratefully, he experienced at home where my mom could immediately call 911.
So, in this month of love, with all of this swirling around and inside me, I think not of chocolate bon-bons or lingerie, or the heady expectations of romantic gesture. I think instead of those around me who are honouring their lives, living fully and loving deeply, where they are, even when in great discomfort and change. I'm reminded also of who I've been, who I'm becoming and who I've loved.
“Immature love says ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’”
– Erich Fromm
I used to have a recurring dream. Sometimes I still do, but less often now. Usually I am traveling in a beautiful land. Sometimes I'm on my own, but more often I'm with friends. I am on my way to a place where I've been before. It feels crystal clear in my memory, I can almost taste it.
Though the details change from dream to dream, it's always a beautiful place, exotic but not tropical, with comfortable and exquisite accommodation. There's always water close, always some green, and sometimes the place is an island. These places also have the feeling of being ancient. Once I remember a beautiful stone castle.
In the dream, I remember how to get back to this place — almost. Then when I couldn't find it, I'd get frustrated and feel the beginning of despair. Sometimes, I would wake up with such a feeling of sadness, tears welling, as I realized I couldn't find my way back.
When I was working with karmic astrologer Linda Brady, I used to record my dreams. I told her about this one and she smiled. “You want to go home.”
I teared up. She didn't mean my condo in the city.
She was right. On some unconscious level, I wasn't really committed to being on, and loving this earth.
I haven't had this dream for a while now. I know that it's because I'm really here, today, in the now, embracing my life and whatever it offers me. I will go ‘home’ again. Yet for now, I step into the earthly flow. I embrace the mystery of it all. I open my heart wider.
Valentines has never been a big deal for me. Love day-to-day, however, is. How it's experienced, how it's expressed, how it's lived in every action. Deeply, truly, the best we can. Kindly, generously, warts and all.
“Home is not where you live [or came from], but where they understand you.”
– Christian Morganstern
In this month of commercialized love, I wish you a swell of devotion: toward your own life and those in it, toward your choice to embrace who and where you are today, truly, madly, deeply, warts and all.
All this... PLUS the strength to dive deep when the inevitable tides of change wash in, and the trust that its currents will carry you safely to the places and people on this earth with whom you will feel most at home.