My good friend and colleague, Alan Klein, became a grandfather on January 3, 2014. Being a grandfather is a mission in life that Alan was meant to inhabit. The look on his face as he is holding his grandson is evidence of that fact.
This picture of Alan is reminiscent of a story he told me. The story takes place after the birth of his younger daughter Kelly. He was lying in bed, with her lying against his bare chest while she took what he thought would be a brief nap. The nap went on and on. Family members would tiptoe up to the bed and ask him if he needed a break, wanted one of them to hold her so that Alan could go about his day. His response to each was, “No, no. We’re fine. It’s ok.” I forget how long the nap lasted, but I’m thinking at least four hours. In watching and listening to Alan tell this story, it is clear that it is a memory that he relishes. An experience of pure love, of being in the moment, of knowing that there was nowhere else he would rather be.
In this picture, Alan is in a recliner in the hospital room, holding his grandson, son of daughter Becca, against his chest. Beaming. It is clear that in that moment, there is nowhere else he would rather be.
I have had the good fortune to observe Alan as a parent over the past nine years. It is one of the aspects of him that has held me to him, in a combination of respect, love and appreciation. Both of his daughters are young adults and I watch him allowing them to have their life experiences, without interfering, yet being available when asked or needed. He has them being fully who they are. And in that role, in that letting go but remaining present, he also inhabits the fullness of who he is. This time, with the additional perspective of Grandpa.
What do I really want?
What feeds me?
What are my dreams?
What keeps me from moving forward?
These questions arrived in an email from Karen Ely, owner of “A Woman’s Way” at http://www.awomansway.com.
As I read her questions, I began to think about the questions I am asking myself and questions that have come up in conversations with members of my various women’s groups, coaching circles, and with my clients. These questions include:
What am I longing for?
What feeds and sustains me?
What are my dreams?
Who do I need to BE to begin moving in the direction of my dreams?
Most of us are recognizing that in order to even begin to consider the answers to these questions, we need to spend more time just BEING. In particular, we are longing for time to be with ourselves, to contemplate, to do absolutely nothing, other than revel in uncovering and rediscovering the joys of our own company.
For each of us, moving forward in the direction of our dreams necessitates that we actually spend time dreaming. I am taking the month of July to do just that.
What are you doing to move forward in your own process of BEING?
Have you ever received an invitation to be completely and fully who you are? If so, how did you respond? If not, imagine how you would respond.
Did you/would you respond with gratitude and delight, basking in the pleasure of being asked to bring your authentic self forward? Or would you/did you shrink away, terrified at the thought of being naked, exposed, fully seen?
In my own life, I find myself actively seeking out and spending time with people who invite my fullness and authenticity and who respond positively when I invite theirs. What a thrill to be seen by another! What a thrill to be allowed to see and experience another…without hiding, without pretense, without judgment.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” –– Iyanla Vanzant
The next time the authentic you is invited to be present, pay attention to your response and then make a decision: Authenticity? Pretense? Or somewhere along the continuum?
“If you want to build a ship, don’t gather people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Antoine De Sainte-Exupery
Working on creating and setting up this website has been a growth experience, both internal and external. Bringing this project to life meant bringing forward into visibility who I am, what I believe, and who I want to be out in the world. It was a scary experience and an exhilarating one.
Creating a web presence included the process of “collecting wood,” of completing various tasks, some fun, some more work than fun. What kept me going was maintaining awareness of my own longing “for the endless immensity of the sea.”
What are you longing for? And what is the first step you can take to be the person whose longings are fulfilled?