Here we are, the day after Easter and Passover weekend. For some, this weekend was exactly how it has been for years. You had the same Easter Ham dinner or the same Passover Seder, and the same people gathered around the table. The same uncle told the same story about the football game where he caught the game winning touchdown pass with three seconds left on the clock. The same people rolled their eyes and mouthed the entire story as he finished. You then went into the living room after doing the dishes and played the same board game and perhaps even the same person won. You felt a sense of love and family that was very comfortable and beautiful, and it was all good! You went to bed last night with the feeling that this is how it should be, and you smiled.
For many of my friends, the story went quite differently. For some, there had been a falling out within the family that occurred between Easters. For others, a divorce or separation created a different Passover or Easter than ever before. Some still went to church or attended Seders, while others stayed home or even created new traditions. Some even went bowling! I actually went to church, which is interesting, since I was raised Jewish. New people told new stories and there was so much love to share. It was beautiful, new, different, scary, and amazing all at the same time!
There was a time, not so long ago, where any change in tradition would cause seismic activity in my inner core. I needed holidays to look exactly alike and totally predictable. I needed to know that the love I was seeking was exactly in the same place I had left it. I needed to get hugs from specific people year after year. If someone missed a family celebration, it affected my sense of inner peace. I was codependently attached to the traditions, in such a way that was hard to comprehend. This year, nothing was the same. The hugs that I had grown accustomed to were simply not available to me this weekend. Fortunately, the hugs I shared were equally valid and my heart told me so and my cups were filled in new and beautiful ways.
Admittedly, I was a bit resistant to letting in this new brand of love. I wanted to reserve a place for the hugs upon which I had grown dependent. I realized that if I did this, I would not have been fully present in the experience I was having. I would have been trapped by the past, and the fear of an uncertain future would have consumed me. It reminded me of a story I heard about a family member who died before I ever got to meet her. As the story goes, she had an extreme fear of flying. As it came to pass, there was a moment where she needed to fly and face her fear. She was around 90 years old at the time. She braced herself, and buckled her seatbelt and then shortly thereafter it was wheels up! As she exited the plane, or deplaned as they call it, many of her relatives greeted her at the airport. Knowing of her fear, they all asked her how she handled the flight. To this, she replied, “It was great….you see, I never put my full weight down!” In my head, I had a visual of a 90 years old woman putting all or her weight on the armrests for the entire flight. I thought of all the energy she spent, trying to control her own experience, instead of relaxing into the seat and letting go. Of course, this was one of the stories I heard almost every year during family holiday weekends. I look at that story in a whole new way now. I used to laugh at that story, until I realized recently that I was living much of my life without putting my full weight down.
In my past, there was a trend. As soon as I fully loved something or someone, it was taken away. When I fully loved a job, it was taken away. When I fully loved being in singing group, some performances were taken away. And when I fully loved my home, it was taken away. This is when I started learning how to live my life with all my weight on the armrests. This was my strategy for survival. If I did not show anyone how much I cared about things, then the things might not be taken away. This may have been a person, a passion, or an event. I spent many years of my life, hiding all the things that I loved about life. I was afraid to put my full weight down!
Now I know that it is unhealthy to experience life on the armrests, living in fear that someone might know just how I much I love them. So, admittedly the pendulum shifted in the other direction. I would tell everyone how much I loved them, and I put my full weight down everywhere! This extreme was not ideal either, because, instead of having the people or things I love taken away from me, I actually frightened them away myself. Totally not cool! So, this is my brokenness and this is the area where I get to grow into the middle. The good news is that I am not alone, and I am finally aware of where my pendulum has swung. The great news is that I have created a path where I get to help people navigate through waters in which I have been swimming upstream for quite some time. I am excited about going with the flow and embracing uncertainty along the way! I am excited about putting my full weight down in measured steps. And I am excited about sharing that journey in service with others who might be stuck, somewhere along the way.
I spent a real long time, in search of a specific hug or brand of love from a specific source. This was how I allowed my past to create my future and distract me from the gift of the present! Now I know that we are all meant to love and be loved. This will show up in abundance if we give up our attachment on loves packaging.
All of the youth served with Dream Catalyst will arrive at different places on the pendulum. Some will have all their weight on the armrests and some will put their full weight down upon arrival. They will all be loved from where they are right now in the present. Some will be searching for a hug from a specific source that may never appear. Some will be open to exploring a hug from a different source than the specific source that were intending. They are all assets to this world, and we will meet them where they are, and share love from there. Many will be searching for a specific apology or explanation of why things are the way they are. For some things, there will be answers. For others, there will not. I know that we will be changing the definition of family together, so that love can be received and given from caring people along the way, who choose to share love and expand their own definition of family.
When I went to church yesterday, I found family and love in a place I was not expecting to find anything else besides Easter Eggs and a potluck breakfast. This was true abundance! Being open to giving and receiving love from such amazing spirits was so nourishing. All I had to do was let go of any preconceived notion of how things needed to look, and let go of the steering wheel that doesn’t exist anyway. Learning how to love without attachment is one of the most amazing lessons available. Coming from codependent roots, this was most difficult for me, until it wasn’t. It took a miracle to make the transition, and a miracle was truly granted. Now I am ready to serve from a place where all journeys are equally valid, and all dreams deserve the soil and nourishment that will give them the best chance to come true.
Some have said that Dream Catalyst makes dreams come true, and in retrospect, I can’t support that claim. I believe, instead that we will get to love and believe in the dreamers who come our way. We will allow them the space to put their full weight down in their own time and support them every step of the way, as we go “Wheels up” together. A friend of mine named Alex Baisley talks about creating the right environment for your dreams. If you dream to grow an orchid, it is important to grow it in orchid mix, not just potting soil. Also, like plants, some dreams wilt from too much water and attention, for they are not allowed to grow their own way, and they are actually suffocated by love. This is what happens when we want to see how a dream turns out before its time. I have been there, too. This is where trust and faith come in. I once had an orchid that went almost three years without blooming, and I admit that I almost gave up on it. As soon as I let go of my constant concern about the bloom, I was blessed with the most amazing purple display of fireworks in a pot that I had ever witnessed!
Thank you all for taking the time to read what I have shared. You are all welcome to share this journey in any way you choose to engage. Please reach out, and share how you might be interested in going “Wheels up” with us. To those who witnessed me with my weight resting solely on the armrests of life, I am sorry. To those whom felt the brunt of my full weight upon introduction, I am also sorry. The middle way is where I wish to be from here on in. If you are interested, that is where you will find me, for that is where I found myself. Buckle up!