Tuesday, October 30, 2007

radical love

this is radical. it cuts to the heart of the matter. it is the medicine this world needs. thank you for your courage and your offering. please send all of my love to yourself, your daughter, laura and edie.

i love you.


Tatum, Hello Love and a big turnipHELLO LOVE Boulder

Cheers Heidi,

Thanks for the email. I have told so many people about meeting the hello love ladies on Saturday. Boulder is a town with a great mind set for an experiment like yours.

I didn't realize just how much your experiment hit home until I got on your website. About 12 years ago, I read something in a book that changed my life and it is crazy how parallel it is with your experiment. It was in a sales book, of all places (Og Mandino, I think) and the idea was that when you meet someone, you silently think I LOVE YOU as you shake hands or introduce yourself, or whatever (this is sales, mind you). I was just starting my own business at the time, so I was looking for anything to help me get going and I embraced this practice with gusto! Well, after so much time, I can tell you that it works. I have shared the idea with friends and they have had success as well. As a matter of fact, my great friend, Terry, calls the practice "love eyes" since we didn't have a name for it. He still practices it all the time, and so do I and I see a huge reaction when I use it. Once I even had a man blurt out that he loved me when he was shaking my hand (I know that sounds weird, but he did). I called Terry on Saturday to tell him about you guys and he was delighted and he lives in LA and is going to check you out.

Anyway, I thought you would be interested in that little story. I think what you are doing is wonderful and so needed in our crazy, crazy world. You go girl!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. A little slice of fall in the foothills on a Saturday afternoon for you!

Red LeafPumpkins

Right after I ran into the hello love ladies, I ran into the Free Hugs folks and the Puppy Love people.

Free Hugs

Puppy Love

It was a good day! LOL!

BEST to you Heidi!
Goodbye Love.
Kimba Hackett

Whidbey Island

Whidbey Chapter

Hello love-

the whidbey chapter of the hello love experiment sends our love. We are doing our little part. We love you much and tell everyone hello from us.

I hope that this message finds you well. I will send a copy of our pic to the hello love email so that you all have it. Give us a call if you get a chance. We are logging in often to get updates on the tour, keep up on your blogs we are both really enjoying it.

much love
casey and rhonda

Our HELLO LOVE Friends

Wonderful notes, photos and blogs are coming in as the Hello Love tour has made its way home.

Sharing w/ all as they come in!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who are you?

This is what the Rabbi Michael Weisser answered when I asked what love is. Now you can look at this one of two ways, but I think it's both: first that I am love/you are love and second that you can truly know what love is by knowing yourself. There is something so key about knowing yourself in the discussion of love. It is an ongoing process obviously but something that is so important to consistently reckon with.

I am reminded in this moment of the religious philosophy that we should lose ourselves to God. I do not think this means literally sit all day by your bed doing nothing other than studying the Bible. I believe that the self we are asked to lose is the self that is other than. The self that is other than our true form. It's no simple task. Sorting through all this extra buildup we've acquired over the years but I can think of nothing so powerful as to step out into the world without it. Why isn't it simple? I find myself asking again. I think it's because our minds really believe we are this person with all this extra buildup. So much so in fact that often times we don't even know what is buildup and what is natural.

One of the functions of tree bark is to rid the tree of its wastes by absorbing and locking them into its dead cells and resins. A tree is actually completely covered in its own shit. It could let this define it or consume it. It could invest in the latest debarking technologies. It could stand all day wondering about its waste and feeling guilty about being called a tree when, really perhaps, it should have been called a bark.

Yet as far as we know, a tree does none of this. Instead it stands in all its beauty and fragility reaching ever upward to the heavens, while at the same time rooting down, firmly, into the earth. It uses the force of the wind to carry its song and seed. It gives its entire self to the service of others. And, as if this were not enough the tree uses its bark. A part of its bark transports great quantities of nutrients all the way from its leaves to its roots.

I think the tree's got the right idea. I think we have to find a way to use our own shit to transport nutrients to our souls. The trick is, it is necessary to know what you've got there if you are going to put it to good use. So take a good look at your own bark and then use it. You see, the other function of bark I did not mention is that it also protects the tree. But only so much as that little shell can. If the tree used the bark only as protection, it would be in big trouble. Psychologists say that often these things we do have served or protected us at one time or another.

Learn your bark, love your bark, use your bark. Let it be part of you but not define you.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I'd like to explore this idea of separateness for a moment, if I may. For me, there are entire days that I am overtaken by a great sadness for the little boy I have never met nor heard of somewhere in Africa, in a town where I have never been who I imagine is staring into the eyes of a boy not much older than himself telling him to kill his own mother. I'm sure the psychologists would have something to say about this but I share this with you now because I think the important thing about this sadness is to turn it into a catalyst. To use it as a tool or teacher to drive you forward in the world. To drive you to action. If this boy does not concern you, perhaps there is a boy in your town, or your family, or perhaps this boy is you. We can talk all day about the thought and intention of things and I think this aspect is important but I believe we were given these bodies for more reasons than we could possibly know. They are magic. And magic must have a purpose even if that purpose is only to exist. And existing is such an amazing gift, isn't it?

Connecting and feeling connected to this boy in Africa or, as we drive across farm country in Ohio, to the land and the farmer in his plow, this often is not my difficulty. But to the people in this RV, this is my trick. This is where my challenge lies. How, in the quiet moments when I am all alone in the back do I trust that I am still a third to the twosome that sits up front laughing about something I may never know. Or when, yesterday, as I traversed off to light a candle for Asa Coon, the boy who killed himself in Ohio after injuring 4 others, I found we were lighting three. I liked to imagine one was for Asa and all those who have been labeled evil in our collective history, another for the children who would return, eventually to the school as well as those injured, and the third for all those who have not yet been recognized as Love. For all the boys and girls who harbor the pain and, with no clue how to direct it may one day find an outlet that hurts those around them, that they might see this little light, or even feel it on some level as an acknowledgment of hope. I think it was Stephen Post who wrote that after the atrocities of 9/11 someone asked Mr. Fred Rogers what we should tell the children and he replied, "Tell them to keep their eyes on the helpers." I do not believe lighting a candle, or names etched into a monument or prayer is focusing on the terrible acts of war, or the terrible acts of evil doers, or even death. I believe these little acknowledgments are of the beauty, the hope. And that act is no more or less natural than say a tree which could be said to also be an acknowledgment of the beauty and magic that exists in our world, or a child, or a smile. David Spangler spoke a bit about this in our interview with him. Why this need to transcend this lovely and painful business of the earthly world? How can we question God? And it was the Gospel of Thomas that said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth."

I am fond of describing the experience of Hello Love using the metaphor of clothing. As we walk through our daily lives we put on all these layers that cover our "bodies" and it is in the moment of hello love that we find all the rest falls off and we stand there naked and connected to the entire world. I practice, in part, so that I might learn to walk through the world always in this way. I find that at a certain emotional closeness my own "clothes" come flying back on. The clothes of doubt and insecurities. Perhaps it has something to do with a belief that I don't have something to offer... Something about self-worth? Something about self-soothing, and being all right inside no matter what is going on outside.

Photos from the Road

Aedan and Kate on the planeAedan and Kate on the plane

Rockefeller CenterRockefeller Center

The Today ShowThe Today Show

The HELLO LOVE LadiesThe HELLO LOVE Ladies in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Day 6... WHEW!

Dear friends,

Well we're definitely ON THE ROAD. None of us have had time to sleep, let alone blog. But tonight I'll try to catch up a bit. We are having a crazy, magical, hilarious time. We cannot believe how much time it takes to handle the logistics. We cannot believe that we packed for cold fall weather and it's like spring. We can't believe how much we rely on Starbucks for happiness. And we can't believe how loud two four-year-olds in a small space can get.

Here's a quick recap to date:

Thursday, October 4th - We left for Seattle via Burbank. Laura and I had Aedan and Kate running wild in the airport while we tried to check eight bags – two of which were incredibly cheap and too heavy so the handles ripped off and we had to pay overweight charges. We were the nightmare travelers everyone shakes their head at. The flight was fine and we arrived in Seattle, drove to Olympia and saw my husband, Andrew, as MacBeth in MacBeth on opening night. He was great...

Friday, October 5thBen had Laura, Edie and I talk about Hello Love on camera and then we drove out to Issaquah for our first big interview with David Spangler. We left the kids with Andrew and Laura's mom, Susan. Susan was amazing and had about 300 art projects planned for the kids. They went to the children's museum as well. We met David Spangler who was gracious and wonderful. We were all a little nervous for our first interview, but he was kind and clear and had a great sense of humor. One thing he spoke about that really moved me was that being in a body IS a spiritual experience. We somehow often think that we have to ignore or belittle or deny the importance of the physical. But the physical is a spiritual celebration as well.

That night we had an amazing Hello Love Gathering thanks to our friend, Annie Fitzgerald. She graciously opened her home to us and invited a bunch of amazing people. We got to talk about Hello Love and share stories. We sold t-shirts which is always fun. I love to imagine people wearing the shirts all across the world. :) The group was also so deeply generous and showered us with donations for our travels. Deep thanks to everyone that joined us that night...

Saturday, October 6th - We practiced in the morning in the wonderful Olympia drizzle. We stood near the capital. Not many cars on a Saturday morning. But we had one guy open his car door and practically get out to offer a huge thank you. We left for the airport after much luggage CHAOS. And I think one of the happiest airport moments I can remember was driving up to Alaska Airlines and finding four skycaps waiting to take our twelve pieces of heavy, crazy luggage. I was near euphoric with relief. (There weren't skycaps in Burbank.)

The flight was fine. The kids slept a lot. And I read a wonderful book called Here If You Need Me. I found myself sobbing several times... very moving...

We didn't get in until 11:00 and then had to juggle the crazy luggage up and down escalators and into trains and into shuttles and finally by 1:00 am into the hotel. My sweet mother-in-law, Nancy, was there to greet Kate and me. She played with Kate all the next day while we were in New York...

Sunday, October 7thCheryl Cortese, Edie's mom, met us in New York and we started by interviewing her. She spoke about gratitude in a beautiful way and about the goodness in people. And how she has always moved through life acknowledging and greeting that goodness. She has been tremendously successful in her life through building networks of goodwill and love and support, really. A joy to be with her. We all headed down to Battery Park and handed out cards to the people in line to go see the Statue of Liberty. Ben got some good shots before a very nice park ranger gently kicked us out for filming. :) Then, we headed to Ground Zero. I hadn’t been there. So moving to stand quietly with our signs and greet people.

Then, we headed up to Rockefeller Center and met several of my dearest friends who were willing to practice with us. It was wonderful to have tea with them afterwards and interview them about their experience. I was so touched that they were willing to give it a go... so whole-heartedly...

Times Square was great. We stood on the island and had many sweet interactions... And then, finally back to Edie’s mom’s hotel by Central Park.

My high school friends had encouraged us to try the Today Show the next morning. We thought about it and decided to rearrange our plans... Yes, we WOULD wake up at 4:30 to head on in to NY to get in line...

Monday, October 8th – We were all a little silly with no sleep. Turns out Matchbox Twenty was playing for the Today Show so there was a huge crowd. We were all crunched in and spent a lot of time holding up our signs high above the crowd even when no one was holding theirs. Lots of our neighbors asked us about the experiment and really loved it... I do believe there was a flash of us on the show. :) We left after about two hours though as it was getting a little claustrophobic.

We had a great hour or so walking in NY just holding our signs as we went. People responded beautifully. We found a huge LOVE sculpture at 56th and 5th and took some pictures...

Then, well, the rest of that day was RV day. We all headed out to Tappan, NY to pick up the RV and had to wait there for HOURS. They were very nice but we were a bit stranded. We all practiced driving in the parking lot. Finally, we had to zip back to the hotel to check out and get on the road to D.C. We were a half-hour late for our already LATE check out. But they gave us a break.

Again, CHAOS and SWEAT as we packed. But we did manage to get a nice shot of the RV pulling out as the sun was setting...

Laura is a rock star behind the RV wheel. She just boldly jumped in and drives the 32-foot wobbly home with great finesse. Ben, too, has no problem rocking and rolling down the highway. Edie is less happy behind the wheel and would probably be delighted if she didn't have to drive again. I... haven't taken a turn yet... Hmmm. I'll report soon.

We didn't get in until around 11:00 or 12:00. And dragged ourselves to bed.

Tuesday, October 9th – Washington D.C. Slept until 8:00 which felt LATE. We all needed it. Had a film meeting this morning and then two glorious interviews today. Philip Hellmich and Susie Dillon from Search for Common Ground. They were both WONDERFUL. We were so moved and uplifted and grateful. We'd had a rough morning, again, juggling kids and time and logistics... but the interviews made it all worth while. We also had a little time to practice on the Mall by the Capitol.

Tomorrow morning - We're stopping by the White House for a little Hello Love outside the gate.

I know this is mostly a list of what we've been doing.
It's something else entirely to tell you of our inner journey.
Needless to say, it's been a roller coaster – and we've all fallen apart already several times. But we've also all had glorious humming moments...

Love and gratitude to you all.
Hello Love.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"How could you not?"

Ah, so exhausted tonight. David Spangler was such an amazing man to interview while remaining totally accessible. I find myself struggling with the idea that these moments of embodying love are still only those... moments. I remember coming home from a yoga retreat recently completely enveloped in bliss. I was love. I still believe I'm love but the radiance that emanated from me in this state I speak of was undeniable and something somewhere has been lost. There has been a closing on some level inside me and it disappoints me. See, we say this, we say things like "embody love" but I don't really like it. Because it implies being something, taking on some form we are not.

We are love.

So then, for a moment, I was able to live as I truly am. As my true self.

But what I wonder is, why in that soft space between wake and sleep do we rush to put on all these other things? Why do we hurriedly, unabashedly become worriers, rushers, late bill payers, complainers, dirty dish makers, butchers or bakers, or candlestick makers? Why do we hurry to take on pain, fear, anxiety, guilt?

I'm on the plane now to New York. We're over Iowa. The sun is setting gently so that the far away clouds are blushing the slightest pink. We are above the cloud line so that below, and as far as I can see there is a sea of softness, and above, limitless space. For a moment I marvel at the magic of this space and this blanket below me, a blanket of water suspended in the sky like cotton.

I think of Joseph Campbell's suggestion to have a place where you go every morning before you've heard the morning news or read the paper. A place where you go to do exactly what you love, read a magazine or listen to music no one else likes. For some reason I cannot remember what he called this but the idea of it ties into where I am right now above these clouds, writing to you, and to myself. It's soul food. It's beginning, or ending with gratitude, with peace, from a sacred place -- I mean the place we reach inside. This is where I am when I can really drop in and greet you as love. This is where I see you. I think the exterior is only a door, a tool.

So again I wonder, how did we get to this place where we cover ourselves with so many exhausting, needless layers? How did we get to a place where we feel more comfortable feeling fear or anger than love?

Our gathering last night was hosted by a woman named Anne. I had the most beautiful feeling I knew her. Not that she seemed familiar but that I was arriving at the house of an old friend. As she sat there across from me it was as though I had known her forever. I believe this is what the world would feel like if each of us saw love in the other (and ourselves). We talked about how it feels safer when we come from this place of love, when we meet people in this place. As I sat pondering this I began to feel the most incredible feeling of safety even within my own little "family" sphere. I felt so held. My childhood friend, Sarah, had come though we hadn't seen each other in eight years. Rhonda, my friend of 10 years, and my dear friend, Casey, who had planned to but ended up not being able to come. My mother sat at the hotel room with Kate and Aedan tirelessly playing whatever role they might decide she should play in their imaginary worlds. My father, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, in-laws and out-laws... suddenly I saw how much I was supported and loved. I thought about those that don't have this. But I believe it's possible for everyone to feel this way. I wish there was a way to tell every person who doesn't feel supported or seen, I will be this person for you. I am here for you. I believe in you.

I am quick to talk about the simplicity of Hello Love. I truly believe that its profundity lies in its simplicity. And yet I see that the process to get there within myself is as difficult as I let it be. What would fill all this space in my brain that right now is the chatter of fear and worry? If I let all that go what would be left? (This is the space of the unknown where we have to invite trust. A space we reach when acknowledging love whether within ourselves or another. A space that I will have to talk about at another time because it is so important.) What would come to take it's place? These are questions we could ask ourselves. But now I'm making it sound more complicated than it needs to be, more complicated than it is.

In the end one question returns to me again and again when myself or someone I meet hesitates to stand in love, or to greet another with love:

If you know this to be true.

And, if you knew there was even the slightest possibility that with this one little greeting, this moment FULL of potential as well as risk, could change the world -- how could you not seize it, how could you not extend it, how could you not?