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Reflections on a Trip Around the Sun

As I take a few moments to reflect on turning 54 this year I can’t help but express how grateful I am not only to be alive, but to be alive and thriving as a multidimensional human being who has chosen to live a life through the lens of love. This conscious choice has transformed my world and has allowed the space for great freedom and so much more joy. I have immense gratitude for the journey to be in a place of making a conscious choice of love to be my guiding light and true north.

I have recently accepted a new role in my life and have made a very clear and deliberate choice to lead with love and laughter and to truly be of service to every student in the department as well as to highlight the faculty and create a space of healing for us all. This is my only wish and my only agenda so as to lead with the kind of light I know is needed right now. It may sound as if this is something impossible, but in fact it is necessary and requires for all involved over and for all of the challenges we face both professionally and personally. I truly believe that if we make decisions from the heart, we will be making the decisions from love and therefore for radical change.

Even in this short six weeks of running at a pace not unlike the speed of sound, I have learned a great deal of what I am capable of and what is possible. Despite the speed of work and the immense learning cliff, I am finding my heart growing even in the face off the challenges I am inevitably facing day in and day out. I don’t recoil but rather lean in and press my heart forward as I know that love is the most powerful sword and shield I have to do the needed work of remarkable transformation.

I have realized that I possess many traits and had no idea I had. I am seeing myself make choices that I had no idea I was capable of making. I am reflecting in real-time decision making that comes from the art of listening with the heart, seeing with compassion and remembering that everyone is doing their best. This is the space of mindful leadership and empathic teaching. It has become very clear that listening is far more important than speaking and turning inward is far greater than projecting.

As I have paused in reflection the insights of where I am is actually a remembrance of where I have come from. In all these years I have wondered why I have been able to have such joyous and love full friendships and relationships. Even as a boy I realize I was making the choices of love and connection without even knowing it. I realize now that at my deepest spirit I have always loved first and with no question. It has become clear that reflected my mothers unconditional love even though I had no idea that there was any other way of being. And for that, and my mom, I am grateful.

As I observe my childhood and my teen years I am filled with immense love and joy for all of the friends I was so fortunate to have loved and laughed with along the way. My goodness how lucky I was to be able to connect with so many wonderful beings of light. Would t change a single thing since it would shift the people and the events I hold so dear. There isn’t a large enough book to tell the tales of joy and ecstasy that filled those times in my life. I was fortunate to be touched by so many people. The lives with a big heart and my heart held big love.

It want until after high school as a young man navigating his sexuality and a world hell bent on demonizing and second classing who I was that my heart started to shrink. As my heart began to shrink so did I. I didn’t realize it at the time but the hiding one does to diminish themselves and to move to a place of being unseen changed me. It was a strangling of love and and a revealing of fear and shame. Shame, guilt, fear and self loathing began to become larger than love. It overshadowed the ability to live myself and therefore hindered the ability to truly connect and exist in intimacy and grace. Although I wanted these things in the center of my being, not having access to my own heart due to hiding it away, didn’t allow for the kind of relationships I truly wanted as I was incapable of a healthy and positive, productive and meaningful relationship.

Although I continues to build life long friendships and connect with folks, there were still many challenges. In addition, and oddly so, I built a healthy and successful career as best I could full of passion and determination but not from a place of love being the center piece of my goals. And despite the amazing success, I often wonder how much hurt and pain I caused because I was not leading with love.

I don’t regret the many years of darkness or the immense pain of a shrunken heart. Not so I feel sorry that I numbed myself for so long to escape the heartbreak and disappointment. I realize that all of this has been necessary to have landed on route 54 as a path to freedom love and immense intimacy, joy and grace. As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t change a thing. And yet, in this moment, I realize I can change everything. Even the world. Certainly my world and the worlds of everyone I come into contact with. Perhaps my healing, teaching, dance making, writing, coaching and leading will make a dent now that my heart has begun to realize it is safe again to love without holding back a thing. Perhaps the universe is giving me the gift of a lifetime this 54th rounding of the sun.

And for this, I am grateful. Perhaps I have no idea how truly big my heart can grow. Perhaps I have no idea that this was where I was meant to be all along. Thank you for allowing me to find a path back to loving myself unconditionally and letting all that fear, guilt, pain and shame go. Without it everything is possible. And in the end, love wins and is the most powerful and joyous of ways to live and lead.

In quiet appreciation with humble observations and insights,