i had the pleasure, honor and privilege of listening to arianna huffington speak yesterday at ucla. a dear friend invited me to attend the university of santa monica’s graduation. it was a relatively small gathering of perhaps 400; i’m sure people as famous as arianna only agree to speak to much larger crowds, yet here she was standing before us as a friend would, because she believes in her message, hopeful that these graduates are going to be spreading her message as best they can, whether in their work, or through example in their everyday interactions – paying it forward if you will.
wow! not only is she brilliant, talented, and beautiful, but she’s real. she actually connects with people at the human, heartfelt level. this is what i loved most about her…her ability to connect to the individual through the heart. even as she entered the auditorium, she made an effort to connect with her eyes, and as she gave me a smile and a nod, i felt she and i knew each other from the past.
sometimes when i listen to someone famous speak, i get the sense that there’s a script, or that the speaker is going through the motions, or that someone else has written the speech. this wasn’t the case, what so ever. in fact, it wasn’t a speech i was listening to; on the contrary, it felt as if she and i were sitting across the table having an intimate conversation.
i could relate to everything that she said.
she shared with us truths about her past, that were indeed difficult and scary, and how she could now see them as blessings. how important it was to disconnect from our technical devices in order to fully connect with ourselves and each other as humans. how important it was to focus on the soul line, instead of the goal line. that in our efforts to move upward and onward, we need to look inward too – in looking inward we get to know our authentic selves, reconnect with who we are, and to love ourselves for our wholeness – the good and the bad.
she is concerned that the direction in which our society is headed is not sustainable. humans are not wired to live as driven creatures who only work and don’t sleep. she talked about the scientific evidence that supports the benefits of meditation and the importance of sleep, and down time.
her most recent book is on sleep. and her most recent addition to the huffington post is a section devoted to “what’s working” where she plans to post all the beautiful acts that individuals around the world are performing, that rarely get recognized, in an effort to redirect our attention to the positive instead of the negative (copy cat crimes).
when we lead with our hearts, we allow forgiveness into our lives, we begin to trust and have faith in the mystery life offers. she quoted nelson madela,
“as i walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, i knew if i didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, i’d still be in prison.”
so as we travel through life’s many mysteries, we encounter things that happen that were “not according to our plan”. what we learn is that when we focus on looking within, and stop blaming things that are happening on the outside, we connect with our true selves. truly we are spiritual creatures – divine beings in having a human experience.
finding that connection, and loving myself for who i am, imperfections and all, life has meaning and i find my purpose. when i take the time to enjoy the process, the unfolding, and stop seeking merely a goal, i find my heart really does know the way.