In early September 2018, I held my Annual Women’s Retreat. I want to express my gratitude to and about the amazing group of women who ended up making that end-of-Summer retreat such a rich experience.
The depth of love, caring and community that was established in one short weekend gives me hope for our world. Imagine if we could all come together in this way all the time, truly recognizing our similarities, our shared humanity, while treasuring and supporting each others’ unique talents and gifts. Imagine if we could always hold each other in such a gentle place of non-judgment.
Although it’s months later as I write, now, I often think back to that weekend. I find its memory to be a wonderful antidote when the heaviness and overwhelm of outer world circumstances challenge my peace of mind, and tempt me to give in to the sense of malaise that is so prevalent these days.
I use moments from that weekend, and other moments of Love and connection, as touchstones. I recall the exquisite vulnerability, the achingly beautiful depth of honesty….I remember what it feels like to be fully present, to be fully alive. I breathe into that softer place inside my heart, where I know that the only thing that really matters is love. And the only moment that exists in Now.
If we are to solve the many challenges that face us as individuals and as a species, it will only be by each of us having the courage to make choices based in love, not fear. Oh, how simple and lovely that sounds, and oh, how hard it can be to put that into practice when fear overpowers or buttons get pushed – when I want to just curl up and make it all go away, or to protect and be “right”…or when I want it to be someone else’s “fault” – whether it be a beloved spouse, or a not-so-beloved public figure.
One of my heart’s deepest prayers is this:
Let me be an instrument of Peace.
Especially given our current socio-political climate, I offer you the same challenge I present to myself. That is, to ask yourself:
“How can I endeavor to understand and find compassion for, rather than judge and condemn, a fellow human being whose views may differ from my own? How can I love even this person?” (I don’t have to like them. I can vehemently disagree with them, and speak and act accordingly. But how can I simultaneously keep my heart open to them?)
To borrow the central quote from “Unter Investigation” (a play I wrote, currently in production in Sydney, Australia):
“There is no one you cannot love,
once you’ve heard their story.”
~Mary Lou Kownacki
I absolutely believe that. Do you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.