If we lived in a crucible of unconditional love, what might be possible? What would our lives look like, and how would they be different from how we are living right now?
Every so often I have had the opportunity to spend some time with extraordinary and yet very ordinary folks who live and love with generous openhearted courage. A few examples come to mind:
Over ten years ago, I attended a two-day training for therapists about using expressive arts therapy in working with clients around food, weight and body image issues. As part of the training, we practiced first hand these creative and very effective experiential approaches. One of the most critical underlying perspectives was the importance of self love and countering the negative beliefs and attitudes about female bodies so prevalent in our society. Basically I spent the weekend away with colleagues cultivating practices for self love.
I have already written on a number of occasions on this blog about my ongoing work with the Center for Courage and Renewal. That network of colleagues is like a giant group hug with people of exquisite integrity and generosity of heart. Circle of Trust facilitators are passionately committed to relationships and resources that encourage the integration of soul and role in professional work, community and family life. Every time I get together with other facilitators, and every time I lead a workshop or retreat, my hope is restored, and my heart is filled up with love.
I take this all very seriously, this work of the soul. My friend Rabbi Menachem Creditor recently wrote about being a sacred vessel during moments of tension and difficulty, and I think that's what I mean by being a crucible of unconditional love. Brave, generous, receptive, caring, loving, boundaried yet open.
This idea of being a sacred vessel is exactly what I strive for. I know it sounds a little schmaltzy, but it's true. I have so many role models who've cleared the path for me; now all I have to do is start walking.
It's dusk and there's a rainbow outside my window as I write this. A soft late autumn rain is falling against the backdrop of the setting sun. I'll take that as a sign of affirmation.