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The Freedom to Teach

The night of my fiftieth birthday party in late October was unseasonably warm. I wanted to be sure and remember the night, so the festivities included magic and fire dancers. My four kids had been planning something special, and I hoped that it wouldn’t be a crazy rap verse about my quirks. Instead they started by silencing the room. Then, when it was quiet, each of them shared their most personal of stories about how my love for them had taught them what love was. My eldest son concluded, “If you never believed a loveologist could be real — you haven’t met my mom.”

Something broke open in me that night, and it wasn’t just the gratitude and tears of feeling so deeply witnessed by the four people I had most treasured in my life. It was an amazing feeling of freedom that swept through me, a liberty to be myself without holding back anymore.

Embodying this freedom transformed my writing work too. Suddenly the eggshells that I always felt like I was wading through or stepping on were replaced with solid ground underfoot. The fear that had often accompanied speaking my own truth and sharing real stories was gone, replaced with a creative urge to teach what I knew for sure about love. The truth is that when I send out my newsletter and post to a blog, it is a solitary experience. I never know who might hear me, or if any real transmission is taking place. And yet, every now and again, I am blessed to learn just how deeply this freedom to be myself and teach about love transforms lives.

This past weekend at Cosmoprof, the largest national beauty show, a woman approached me with tears in her eyes. The first thing she did was apologize for being so emotional. I told her it was an honor to witness true emotion. She went on through her tears to tell me about what she thought of as a miracle: one Friday afternoon she read my newsletter and it gave her the courage to realize that she needed to learn how to stay in her relationship. She went on to say that reading my newsletter regularly is the one thing she is sure to do every week, no matter what else is going on. Committing to the work of loving someone changes everything, as she described it: “Before, my marriage was like driving an old Chevy — yes, maybe it would get you there, but so what? Now it’s like we are driving in a Ferrari. The journey is so much richer.”

I struggle with how to go on communicating and teaching about this when we as a culture don’t take the time to read. My new social media consultant tells me that newsletters are a thing of the past, and certainly I can’t disagree based on numbers. But then I have to ask myself, how many people have to find a new way to love for it to be worth it? Is one enough? We can’t possibly know how a single light spreads; we never have any idea about what kind of impact we are making by giving our truth to the world. And honestly, the work of thinking and writing down my heart is as much for me to feel the freedom of my own expression as it is for those who receive the transmission. I don’t know the future of newsletters, including mine, but I do know that I will keep finding a way to teach.