Cindy was soft. She was soft in every way. Her skin was like a baby’s skin. She had the softest hands. She also had the softest heart. Cindy Love was real softness; pure, peaceful and completely undisturbed from stress and worry. She was so easy.
People say the reason Cindy was as loving, gentle, soft, forgiving, understanding, free, happy, warm, open, available, present and kind was because she had Down Syndrome. They say that way of being was possible for her and isn’t for us. I don’t agree with them. I think it is possible to be that open and soft. It takes courage and true courage comes from the heart. We have to be willing to be vulnerable and exposed for who we are.
My partner, Neil Sicherman, who is an Enneagram teacher talks about how we each desperately want to be seen for who we are. He calls it ‘being out of the closet’ totally. He also says that being seen for who we really are is the most frightening thing we feel. So we stay in the closet and keep parts of our self hidden because we are too afraid of what will happen if we reveal our truth.
I make a choice over and over again to be me. I make a choice over and over again to be real and to show who I am and what I am feeling. I don’t always make that choice and sometimes it takes me a while to get there, but more and more I am making the choice to be me. I choose to show you who I really am in my mass of insecurity and woundedness and vulnerability. And often when I make that choice I feel infinitely better and stronger and more held by the universe. Truth usually wins out and ends up being the safest and strongest option.
Early on in my teaching career a teacher pointed out that if I tell people what is wrong in their moving they will automatically focus on the problem and cause more of the problem. When I was younger I spent time paddling the Nantahala river in the Western North Carolina mountains. As a beginner canoeist I was lucky to go through some Class 3 rapids easily. One day I smashed right into a rock and from then on I seemed to hit every rock in the river. A friend pointed out that I was always looking at the boulders I wanted to avoid, and so, I ran into them. He called it ‘Object Fixation’. I was looking at what I didn’t want and continued to hit it until I started looking at where I wanted to go. After that I could easily maneuver the canoe around the boulders and flow down the river.
I don’t have a photograph of a river. This is a sound off the coast of Virginia. It reveals to me soft beauty and possibility and potential of revealing our light.
photo by Hannah Sicherman
All of this pertains to the work of loving ourselves and all of this is what Cindy taught in her exquisitely innocent way. If we look at what we don’t like about ourselves we will get more of that. If we look at our light we will bring more of that. She loved her self. When she looked in a mirror she saw her light. She always saw her beauty, and because of that, she saw everyone else’s beauty. When anyone was with her their light shone more brightly. Cindy had a way of bringing the best out in others because she was so pure. She had no filters or defenses. She simply was who she was.
When I work with someone in an Alexander Technique lesson or a Movement Therapy Session I reflect back to them the truth I see in them. I believe it is the most important aspect of my work. I rarely focus on what’s wrong. I help them and encourage them to see and experience what is beautiful about them. I show them the light I see in them and that light becomes their beacon.
I made a decision after Cindy died to carry her light and gifts within me and to love as purely and simply as she did her whole life. Though I struggle with that so often, I make a conscious choice as often as possible to be kind to myself, and gentle with myself. I forgive myself more and more and realize that if I show up as the real me, I give others the opportunity to show up as the truth of who they are.
As I said in an earlier blog, Carl Rogers, a Humanistic Psychologist said ‘the things we consider most personal are most general.’ We are the same. We feel the same. We all have the same fears and needs and wants and we all are capable of love. First…..we need to love our selves fully. We need to forgive ourselves fully. We need to accept ourselves fully. We need to focus an where we are going and not the obstacles in the way. We can float down the river and trust that we will be carried where we need to go.
You and me the same.
We have the capacity to give our love to our selves and others.
I choose to give my love to you,