Something happened this morning that shook me to my foundation. I've been following the journey of a fellow photographer and her battle with ovarian cancer over this past year. It was heart wrenching, powerful and surreal fight which ended in the early hours of this morning. I was expecting it, but wasn't expecting to feel so shaken by it. I know we all die. I know we all have a numbered amount of days on earth, but I got wrapped up in the power of her story and had nothing but high hopes that it wouldn't happen.
And of course it makes you think of your own mortality. To be honest the scariest part of being alive is dying. Of losing someone I love.
It makes me wonder if I'm living the life I want to be remembered for. This woman had such brilliance and light and love surrounding her at all times. Even through the pain. Even in the image of her embracing her young sons as she prepared to leave the sanctuary of her home for the last time and trek to the place where she would spend out the rest of her days seeking alternative treatments in order to live for them. Though the image is hard to see, it's important. The love and pain that is part of life is so clearly there. The fullness and weight of of it all.
It's hard to have perspective about the person you are and what you are doing with your life, until you open yourself up to others. It's a vulnerable place to be, and so often we shelter ourselves from others out of fear of rejection or abandonment, but as we open up and give trust to others to see us as we are, we have so much love to gain.
I have been on an intense journey to allow myself to be seen lately. Putting myself in places where my fears live and letting go of everything. Letting my fears teach me about what is important to me. Love and acceptance. Trusting myself to open up with authenticity, trusting others to see my beauty and brilliance and embrace everything I have to offer. And when that beauty and brilliance isn't embraced, I find others who are able to see me for everything I am and aren't afraid of it.
There is a soft awakening inside as I've unfurled into my new world. I feel more loved than I ever have before. I spent so much of my life on the defensive, never feeling good enough, worthy enough of the love I desired. It's amazing that at this point in my life, just by being me and loving who I am, I am attracting so much love into my world that at times it feels overwhelming.
It makes me think of a word that I learned of recently. Pronoia. Antonym of paranoia. Instead of the fear that everyone is out to get you, Pronoia is the belief that everyone is out to love you. Quite a shift in energy, isn't it? I think one of the most powerful acts of being human is allowing ourselves to be loved. We live so closed off, sheltered in our boxes and small worlds, huddled over our machines and devices that connect us to the love we desire.
Giving others access to our hearts in the physical world though, trusting them with our tenderness, fears and dreams...that's a challenge. The reward is being filled with that which makes us feel alive. Passion, creativity, energy, connectedness, love, acceptance, authenticity. That's what I want my life to feel like, every day of the rest of my days.
I think that Jen had that in her life. I think her boys will live on, understanding what love means, that it's the foundation for forgiveness, acceptance, joy and truth. I think love is her legacy. That's such a beautiful thing. I only hope that when I'm gone, I'll have done such a wonderful job of loving myself and everyone around me, that their souls will be bursting with that contagious energetic love that infects people with bold laughter and deep joy. I don't care about a spotless house or labels on jeans or expensive toys.
I want breathtaking love. I'll spend the rest of my life learning how to give it to as many people as I can. <3