Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lemonade and Hello Love

My daughter Kate woke up yesterday and wanted to set up a lemonade stand. I was reluctant. I was tired and too pregnant and didn’t relish going to the store for supplies. I had a quieter Saturday morning in mind.

But Kate LONGED to set up a lemonade stand. She asked me how else a kid is supposed to make money. I told her I’d be happy to pay her a dollar to help me move books into the garage. She didn’t like that idea.

Finally, I relented. We went and bought ice, lemonade and paper cups at Vons. I bought one carton of lemonade. (No, we didn’t make it from scratch). It was a grey day and I was fairly certain she would get next to no one stopping by.

I was wrong. Kate set up her table. She made a sign that said “Lemonade 10 cents” and placed it in front of the table. I brought her lemonade and ice and some change. She sat down and BEAMED at cars passing by. She waved. She smiled. She was delighted.

Within 15 minutes, we had 20 people come by. People stopped their cars. Families walking by stopped and bought five or six cups. We met about 10 new neighbors. We had to close the stand for seven minutes while we ran to the store for more supplies. (By this point I was delighted and fully on board).

Kate was the embodiment of HELLO LOVE. Everyone she saw she welcomed in and wanted to share her delight. She was fearless and radiant.

I realized part of my reluctance in the beginning was about feeling hermit like. I didn’t really want to interact. I didn’t want to open up. She was wide open and curious and willing and wanting to interact with all.

We all have a lot to learn from a joyous 5 year old. All our grumpy resistance to meeting the world crumbles in the face of such eager, open joy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Humbling Moments

Too many blogless days have passed. I finally have a moment alone and I’m seizing it. I talked a lot about Hello Love at a wedding I attended last night. It was good to be sharing the experiment and good to have people respond so favorably.

Something happened yesterday that I’ve been wanting to address. I found a long lost friend on Facebook. He was a dear friend in the summers of 1983 and 1984. We did Shakespeare together at Interlochen Arts Camp. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in at least 15 years. I am so happy to reconnect!

I was catching him up on other Interlochen alumni and much to my embarrassment found myself writing the most simplistic, judgmental stuff. “She’s moved to Idaho and has become hugely religious. She seems happy.” “He’s a Jehovah’s Witness and his wife doesn’t like me and ever since I mentioned astrology, he hasn’t written me back.”

After I hit send, something just felt off. I was communicating what I knew. But it was nothing but reductionist gossip. It was separating and quietly judging. And I thought, “here I am doing the Hello Love Experiment. What is wrong with me?”

The wedding I attended last night was a mixed faith wedding. The bride is Jewish and is from Israel and the groom is originally from Virginia and his family is Christian. This is not unusual. But what did seem unusual was the complete lack of tension. It was a beautiful blending and honoring of family traditions. It was a beautiful honoring of the members of each family. There were no reservations. There were open hearts and minds. It was lovely to be there.

I know I am an open-hearted, open-minded, compassionate human being. But I also catch myself reducing or minimizing another person’s choice of faith when I don't completely understand the choice or when I feel the choice is somehow limiting.

When my friend wrote me back he said,”I guess matters of marriage and faith can’t be argued with too much.” He focused on all the positive info I had given and kindly ignored my oversimplifications and sensationalizing. I was grateful and humbled.

I guess it’s just a good reminder for Hello Love. Part of Hello Love is greeting a person with love. And part of it is LISTENING to how that love is received. And when we genuinely offer love, it opens something in another human being and what is shared from that offering must be handled with respect and care and an attempt to understand even the most outrageously different points of view. So, ANY conversation where another person is sharing something meaningful in their lives is a conversation that must be honored and held with sensitivity and understanding.

A good wake up call for me. It’s too easy to categorize people. It’s too easy to be dismissive. I want to listen and communicate in ever more compassionate ways.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Perfect, Stone-hard Beauty of Everything

I love poetry. Many of you that read this blog may know that. One of my favorite poets of all time is Mary Oliver. My husband put this poem in a card for me on my birthday three years ago. I love it.

The Poet with his Face in his Hands

You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need any more of that sound.

So if you’re going to do it and can’t
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just slightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.

-Mary Oliver

One of the reasons I love it so is that there is always the thrush, puffing out its spotted breast who will be singing of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything. We can be in our deepest despair, our most self-pitying moments, our most self-absorbed state and if we only look out and beyond ourselves for a moment, we will see the ‘thrush.’

This is part of the beauty of Hello Love. Hello Love reaches out beyond our despair, names someone love and releases us a bit from our constriction. It reminds us of the beauty of interconnection. It reminds us – if we look closely – that others are carrying their burdens as well. But one look can light a path for both to welcome the song of the thrush.

Hello Love sings out the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Backing up into Hello Love

I almost ran into someone in the Trader Joe’s parking lot yesterday. It wasn’t fun. I had pulled into the narrow entryway when someone started to back up without seeing me. I quickly started to reverse but then saw a man standing by the store entrance with a rather horrified look on his face signaling me to stop. I turned around and there was a woman pushing a cart almost directly behind my car. She look startled to say the least.

Thank goodness I didn’t hit her. I took a moment and said a small thank you that I avoided that.

I apologized profusely and she kindly accepted the apology. She ended the conversation by telling me to just be careful when I’m backing up. It’s a kind of interesting philosophical life question. What might you hit if you start going in reverse?

In any case, the man by the storefront was glaring at me like I’d done it on purpose. And even though the woman had been gracious, I began to feel very small. I pulled into the parking space, turned off the car and just sat there for a few minutes beating myself up.

I found myself saying things like, “And here I am with a Hello Love sign on the back of my car. What kind of Hello Love is that? I’m just a flaky, spaced out pregnant woman who is not being present. I should just go hide.”

I found it interesting that I had immediately thought about Hello Love. And my inclination was to apologize for having such a sign on my car when I’m driving like such an idiot. My immediate desire was to disappear.

I think we tend to do this to ourselves in other situations. I’ll be honest, I’ve even been reluctant to go out and hold up the Hello Love signs since I’ve been pregnant. I immediately leap to the feeling that people will think I’m just a crazy pregnant woman standing on the corner.

This gets to the root of – at least MY PROBLEM. And I suspect others might feel something of the same. Somehow, unless I’m in the best, most radiant, most amazing state, I don’t think I’m worthy to be talking about love. I guess I feel like I need to be inhabiting a kind of transcendent place to spread the love or to not feel silly daring to be that vulnerable.

I wonder if it’s why many people don’t dare to extend. I wonder if the monologue goes something like, “Well, I’m screwed up in so many ways, no one would possibly love me so why should I dare extending love to anyone else.” It’s a kind of protective stance so we won’t have to suffer rejection.

But that’s what we’re all learning about in this experiment. It’s certainly what I’m learning. No matter what state we’re in, no matter what blunders occur, no matter how many mistakes we make, we have an opportunity to stand in love. Others may not be wanting or ready to accept that love if we’ve really botched something, but we never have to apologize for continuing to stand in the stream of love.

Every moment, there’s an opportunity for us to forgive ourselves and continue to stand in that rare place of being daring enough to extend love and vulnerable enough to receive it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pregnancy Pillows and Hello Love

It’s 3 am. I guess one glass of green tea at 7 pm isn’t a good idea. Or maybe this is just the way it’s going to be for the next 17 pregnant weeks. We shall see.

Anyway, have you ever seen a pillow like this? It’s saving my life. It actually makes it possible to sleep comfortably no matter how big my belly.

As I was all nestled into it tonight in the two hours before I woke up and could no longer sleep, I started thinking about the glorious metaphor of this pillow.

You may just have to experience it yourself to believe me, but when nestled right at the center if feels as if I’m buoyed on all sides, protected or enveloped in a great white nest. It’s as if the womb I’m providing to wrap around my new little boy has a big soft replica outside my own body.

I must say, pregnant or not, I wish this pillow experience for everyone. Maybe I’m just 3 a.m. delirious, but there’s something so comforting in the feeling of being supported and held in this way.

My husband jokes that he’s been replaced by a large white pillow and I must admit I feel a bit like I’m on a raft on our bed, but the ability to fully rest my body and relax comfortably far outweighs the disadvantages.

And how in the world does this relate to Hello Love?

Rather like this pillow, Hello Love allows us to soften into a quieter, more true part of ourselves. Words have such power. And whether we speak them or receive them, when we speak of love -- when we name someone or are named love, for a glimmering instant we feel the truth of who we are.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dare to Love Daily

I am a student of the Tibetan Master Djwal Khul. In the 1930’s and 40’s, with the aid of Alice Bailey, he wrote over 30 books on education, astrology, a new world religion, and a new soul-centered psychology. He is a teacher of the Wisdom of the Ages and offers clear, potent, life-changing words about the necessity of intelligent love disseminated with power and potency through group work. As an astrologer, I have read his book "Esoteric Astrology" many times. He is an unceasing source of inspiration.

I mention him today because he also writes extensively about love. His definitions of love are unlike any I have read. He suggests (as I wrote in an earlier blog) that we do not even begin to love until that love is applied impersonally to groups, nations and the planet at large. Love has little to do with our sentiments or feelings towards family and friends. It has little to do with where we feel an affinity. It has everything to do with the selfless certainty that all whom we encounter are worthy of our upliftment and attention and intelligently applied compassion. It has everything to do with an unceasing stream of the will-to-good for all.

One very simple statement he shares is:

“There is love in all of you but it needs expression, and for that the group exists.” – Discipleship in the New Age, Volume II, p.15

This quote caught my attention today and inspired a suggestion for all of us.

Let us think about the concentric circles of care in our life. Let us think about the people we love and then too, the people we care about and like but don’t –in our personality lives – love. Let us think about the people we see everyday that are simply the cast of characters in our living.

Now, imagine if we were to take time each day to express love unreservedly to the members of each of these circles. These circles are our groups. The only way we begin to truly love it to take the welfare of the groups of which we are a part, into our heart, into our circle of compassion and care.

We are entering an age in which we must progress together or not at all. Until we learn how to love even those with whom we feel the least affinity, we are stuck in our own prison of jealousy, judgment or pride. Again, this is not a matter of being nice or liking everyone in the world. It is a matter of including all, sharing our light and intelligence for the betterment of the world.

Hello Love is one way to practice the expression of love within the group. We can practice it in the group that is our family with members with whom we feel friction. We can practice in the group that is our work community with those we easily write off or make fun of or generally ostracize. We can practice it in our community as we study our tendency to make certain groups “the other.”

Whether we are willing to admit it, we are on a long march together. And the moment we consciously choose, through our lack of care or indifference or meanness, to leave anyone behind even in our thoughts, we are slowing our own journey as well.

We are all walking though life with so much love that remains unexpressed and yet with so many opportunities to extend this very love.

Let’s begin a ‘dare to love’ campaign now.
Who are you next to this moment?
Whoever they are, they are worthy of your love.

Hello Love. Open your arms of care.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Auto Love

There’s much to be learned about Hello Love in your very own car. I’ve had to laugh at myself several times in the last week as I observed my inner monologue. On the street, we all have to be civil or polite or at least indifferent. In a car, it seems, all judgment, rude behavior and indignation are back on full throttle.

Admit it. How often do you look over to a fellow driver and actually think something even remotely nice about them? Do you ever even dare smile? But even more to the point, how often do you find yourself swearing in ways you never would outside your car just because someone nudges in ahead of you or speeds up at a time you wish they wouldn’t?

And the car horn. The horn was invented to be used in an emergency—to alert another driver to possible danger. I don’t believe it was intended to stand in for a call to the immediate environs about how impatient or indignant or powerful we are. I also don’t believe it was invented as a universal release for all our pent up unexpressed daily frustration.

My suggestion. Start practicing Hello Love in the car. In fact, every time you want to honk your horn, think Hello Love instead. You’ll crack yourself up. Really. You’ll find yourself on autopilot ready to cuss out a fellow commuter and you’ll end up naming them love. And then you’ll think, “Wow – what if they really are love? What if LOVE looks like that.” And it does. It does look like THAT.

Once many years ago, I accidentally cut a woman off in traffic and we ended up next to each other at a stoplight. She turned to glare at me and I looked back and said (through the closed window), “I’m so sorry.” She could hardly believe it. It’s as if years melted off her face and she turned into a sweet, soft, welcoming thing. “Oh, it’s okay!”, she mouthed back. And we smiled. That happened 15 years ago and I haven’t forgotten it.

I think if we turned our heads to the car next to us and sent a little Hello Love to the anonymous driver on our left, we’d all have some similarly unforgettable connections.

Let me know if you try it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Loving on a Larger Scale

I don’t know how to do this yet. But I know it’s the goal. Until we bust beyond where it is comfortable to love, we’re not working the depth of what love has to offer.

So many of us think, well, it’s impossible to love on a larger scale because there are so many criminals, jerks or mean people out there. If I open my heart to all, that would be indiscriminate and foolish. How do I know if I say “hello love” to someone that they are worthy of that greeting?

No one wants to be Pollyanna. There IS evil in the world. I think learning to love on a larger scale requires sounding a higher note, so that even the darkest or most lost figures get swept up into an unstoppable current leading to something lighter and more clear.

Brass tacks. Should I walk down the street and greet each person I meet, silently or not, with Hello Love? How could I name someone who just did something atrocious – LOVE? Am I not feeding what is already dark? Am I not being insensitive to those hurt by that person? Am I not giving that darkness energy?

I don’t think so. A few things are important here:

1. Our actions are not being named love. Our purest essence –which is truly who we are – is being named love. The greeting is a reminder of who we are. And it’s a reminder that every moment we can choose for our actions to reflect that. It’s a call to ORDER.

2. Hello Love is not PERSONAL. It is naming something essential in each of us that’s all the same fabric. In that sense, it has nothing to do with each of us as individuals, only what we are ALL together. We are ALL woven of the fabric of love. Naming someone love invites them to remember that fabric—that circle of love. And that remembrance can be startling and purificatory.

3. Hello Love is not an isolated greeting. Each time it is spoken, it’s as if it cleans something up in the energetic field. It begins to build a thought form that has signficance and power. I believe “Energy follows thought.” Imagine energy streaming into the building thought form that we are --in our purest essence-- love.

Here’s the deal. Right now, most of us are only capable or for that matter only desiring to love our nearest and dearest. We use love in the context of family and friends. But I think we can begin to take these circles of love and extend them. And until we do so, we are not living love fully.

When we’re willing to begin EXPERIMENTING with this, we discover a dance of love and discrimination. Because love isn’t always pretty. Love can be fierce. Love can be protective. Love can be the law. The only way, for example, for us to extend concentric circles of love to our nation or our planet---love on a LARGE scale—is to be willing to see and name the purest essence of each person we meet but also be willing to deal effectively and powerfully with inappropriate action by that person or nation or community.

It’s a delicate balance. But it involves first and foremost a willingness to open to the possibility of love in each encounter. This will not be the reality globally for a long time. But if we practice remaining open where we usually let fear, judgment, embarrassment or laziness win the day, we can begin the preliminary steps towards loving on a larger scale.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wearing the Tee

I spent the morning folding Hello Love t-shirts. We have 5 big boxes full of beautiful t-shirts and in the last 6 months, they’ve gotten all mixed up. Today was the day to get it in order.

We’ve sold a lot over the year. That makes me happy. It made me even happier to think of getting all the remaining t-shirts out into the world. My husband’s cousins started the T-shirt company Life is Good. I see those t-shirts everywhere everyday. And it’s a GREAT message. I would love to see Hello Love t-shirts greeting the world in the same way.

It’s not that I’m so interested in having a t-shirt business. I just love the idea of getting the message out. I love the conversations that begin when people wear this shirt.

I’m sending a bunch of t-shirts out to my dear friend Jolie today. She ordered one for her little boy and one for her. I’m going to send one for her husband too. It makes me happy to think of people I love getting a chance to wear these shirts.

I love that my husband wears the Hello Love shirts to the gym practically everyday. He’s amazing. He is a force of relentless positivity and enthusiasm. I love that is a great trainer in a sea of ‘cool’ L.A. trainers and he happily wears what could be construed as a polly-anna message.

Infact, I love anyone that dares to take this message on and say “This isn’t just NICE. This is the real stuff. This is daring. Embracing the truth of this message could radically change our world.”

There I go again. I just get excited about this message whenever I start writing....

Love to all – heidi rose

Friday, July 25, 2008

Naming it ALL love

I’m sitting in the living room of our home. It’s a little past noon. Kate (my daughter) is at school and Andrew is in the next room writing some emails. He just received some very disappointing news and we’re all reeling a bit. Without going into great detail, we believed he was going to begin a whole new line of work in one week’s time, but at the eleventh hour—most unexpectedly-- was not accepted into the department.

I’m writing about this because I can feel the difference in me from just 9 months ago. We are moving with and through the feeling of this-- but without panic or the desire to fix it. I am holding him with a lot of love and I am holding the whole situation with a lot of trust.

There was a kind of insistence in my HELLO LOVE in the first couple of years. I almost don’t know how to describe it. There was somehow an implied MUST. We MUST greet one another this way if we want to affect a change, if we want to make a difference. There was a kind of force instead of a ‘feeling into’. Feeling into this, I see love working in even the most difficult and challenging situations. I begin to feel my worst moods as love seeking expression. I feel my worst disappointments as love attempting to articulate itself.

In this very moment of Andrew’s great disappointment, I’m feeling into the texture of Hello Love. Hello grace. Hello beauty disguised as obstacle.

I guess I’m feeling the textures of things so much more deeply these days. What is the texture of THIS love? And feeling the texture is an action in itself. There is no ‘doing’ necessary. There is no fixing. There is only wonder, awe, perspective, presence.

I am present with Andrew in this unexpected unfolding story of love that LOOKS like rejection or LOOKS like he is being thwarted. And we don’t have to name it anything. I just like the experiment of naming it ALL unfolding LOVE.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We're Back!

Hello Love!

Well, it’s been MONTHS. We’ve all been silent for a while now. The Hello Love tour was quite an adventure and I think we’ve all been reeling and digesting and re-integrating after being blasted open in such a profound way. I look at us now and I think, “Wow. We’re different. Much has changed. We’re all starting to live Hello Love in new ways. And even though we haven’t gone out to practice as a group for awhile, I can see how we are all looking at the world and living in it differently as a result of our Hello Love adventure thus far.

I was profoundly affected by our journey. And now, almost 9 months later, feel deeply the changes it brought about within my entire SELF. It’s my intention to write about this on a more daily basis and try to reflect how Hello Love manifests in small, daily ways.

I want to thank those of you that have been such amazing support during this time. Our friend, Philip Hellmich from Search for Common Ground, who we interviewed on our tour for the Hello Love Documentary, has been buying t-shirts and distributing them worldwide. He sends us pictures of his friends all over the world wearing the shirts. He’s a one-man movement. It’s wonderful.

And just a few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from a man in New Zealand who drives an ice cream truck and has for the past 20 years. He said he’d heard about Hello Love recently and loved it. He said he felt like he’d been practicing it for years already without calling it ‘Hello Love.’ He wants to be a part of spreading this greeting worldwide.

My own personal ‘Hello Love’ journey at the moment is one of turning inward. The trip was very much about extending a circle of love and living in it daily. My impulse now is to examine the circles that move concentrically inward to the very center of who we are. That is, to return in a way, to the beat of the heart and recognize the miracle of that pulse that runs through us all. It’s only when we are quietly centered in that heartbeat that we can extend fully. I think that’s in some way what we’re all listening for – the simplicity, the pulse of love.

I should also mention that I am 5 months pregnant with a new little love and find that Hello Love these days means embracing all the quirky, pregnant worries and aches and adventures with as much grace and ease as I can. Opening to it all. Opening to love in all forms. As Rumi (loosely) says, inviting in whatever and whoever shows up at the door as the most beloved houseguest. It’s all part of the one universal heartbeat.

We’ve had a Hello Love sign hanging on our front door for two years now. It’s quite amazing to see the response. Salesmen, mailmen, friends, neighbors have all commented on how simply good it makes them feel to be welcomed in this way. I guess that sign on our door is how I’m feeling about my life right now. I say to the new baby growing within me, “Yes, welcome. Welcome.” I say to my grumpy creakiness, “yes, come in. Sit down. I’ll take care of you.” I say to my friends who come knocking, “how lucky I am to have you in my life.” I say to the UPS guy, “Yes, you are part of the heartbeat that I too am part of. Welcome. Come in. Come in.”

It’s good to be writing about Hello Love again.
Tell me your Hello Love stories.....
~heidi rose