Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One of Us

When you are attempting to make progress, any kind of progress, and no progress is being made, but in fact, change is spiraling downward, the slightest upturn becomes a TRIUMPH!
It’s like a baby’s first step.
It is cause for celebration.
Healing can feel like a full-time job.  No question about it.  
For some, it takes a village.  
I understand this now.  
But that is not my karma.
I watch my puppy looking up at me and I know he wants things back the way they once were.  But he is happy nestling up next to me and waiting out this long long pause right by my side.  He’s had a lot of adjusting to do.  Yes, he’s developed some new quirks and anxieties, but he’s also handled each new change with great resilience.  Admittedly, he’s also handled some of the changes with a sadness that will tear your heart out.
Oy vey.  Deep sigh.
I’m experiencing a very long setback after my third hip surgery and I’m doing my very best to “hold the pose.”
At first, I decided it wasn’t a setback, but a RESET.  A new theory I came up with and one I decided I was going to stick with.
Amazing to discover how deeply ingrained it has become to be living in a “NOW” society and how subsequently, things cannot change quickly enough.  But ask someone to sit with you in a NOW which is unchanging, unknown, “can’t figure out why it is this way-pain,” and few of us are able to “hold the pose.”  I know I’m becoming less and less “in love” with how long this “RESET” is taking.
But how arrogant is it for me to decide how long this reset is meant to take?  Resets take as long as they take.  We’re not talking about brewing a pot of coffee here.  We are talking about healing several systems in the body which have gone haywire.  
The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone.  And the Orthopod is connected to the Cardiologist.  And so on and so on.  My mind flashes to the Joan Osbourne lyric, “What if god was one of us?  Just a stranger on the bus.  Trying to make his way home.”  
“God, Jill.  Sometimes, I wonder how your mind works.”  a friend often tells me.
Well, I’ll tell you.
The guru is everywhere.  The guru.  God.  Everywhere.  I’m convinced he is the gas attendant about two miles up the road, but that may have to be for another blog.  One time I found “him” in a homeless man and as starving as I was, I handed him the entire lunch I had just purchased for myself.  Not because he was homeless.  But because I knew he was the guru.  And he taught me everything I needed to learn that day.  
I wish I could recall the experience more clearly, but I remember living into that experience very fully and sharing it with someone I refer to as my “big married sister.”  We’re not related, but she’s very dear to me, and that’s her nickname.  When I can no longer remember certain details of my life, I am grateful that I live into my experiences as deeply as I do.  And even more grateful that I have a “BMS” and other loved ones to share them with.
Sometimes meeting your guru is not about searching but about listening and paying mindful attention.  That’s why I feel I have no right to judge how long this RESET is taking because my body knows more than my brain; it knows what it needs.  It IS my guru right now.  And it is my job to surrender.  
But Dear Guru, can we RESET with a little less pain?  I don’t even need any Chanukah gelt.  Just a little less pain.
But you see, I know that even asking this, is fighting against the truth of what is happening.  It’s hard not to though.  It really is.  
Dear Guru.  Thank you for teaching me what this pain feels like.  I bow to you.  I bow to it.  I understand we are on an expedition here.  And it will take the time it takes.  Thank you for teaching me about patience.  Perseverance.  Tolerance.  Compassion.  Persistence.  Resilience.  Unwavering Love.  Gratitude.  Devotion.  Receptivity.  
May these lessons never be lost on me.  May I always “REMEMBER.”  Reverently.  Humbly.  And with a strong inner compass.  And may I find ways to jolt myself into remembering anytime I begin to forget.  
May I always have the eyes to recognize and the ears to listen for ways to find you in any crowd.  Knowing.  Always knowing that you are one of us.
In gratitude for all of these blessings.
Jill Bacharach

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finding Your Strong

What do you do when you need to dig in and find some strength for yourself
but you feel have nothing left inside?  Not even a morsel.  No prana left in the tank.
No reserve.
This is where I found myself today.  I was finally, at last, at my breaking point, and I just needed to fall apart a little bit.
The amount of pain I have been in has been escalating and as I sat alone in the little white room waiting to see my surgeon, ten days after my last visit with him, I realized I’d been waiting ten days with no improvement and now, three and one half hours just to tell him so.  Three and one half hours in a stimulus deprivation environment alone in the little white room.
I had books with me, I had pen and paper, I even had a phone.  But I was in so much physical pain that nothing could possibly help me.  I was worn to the bone.  And I didn’t like feeling this way.
I am a Yogin.  I tried everything I knew to do.  I surrendered.  I breathed.  I meditated.  And I was becoming untethered.
What I needed was to do was to cry.  And I did.  I cried for the pain I was in.  I cried for how long I was enduring this pain.  I cried for the lack of nurturing I was giving my body.  I cried for the ways I still don’t feel nurtured.  The ways I don’t know how to lean on people, even just a little.  Even just allow myself to rest my aching head.  My head which explodes from migraines.  
After my surgeon finally came in and spoke with me, he sent me for an x-ray down the hall.  The technician was deeply kind to me, but what he said to me was that he could never have done two surgeries back to back so closely timed together.  As I tried to lay still on the table, I heard his words over and over.  A strong strapping man’s words.  And I realized all that I have done, over and over, is try to be strong.  Try to be strong for myself.  Strong for others.  And the truth is, I am worn to the bone.  I am.  I am utterly and completely worn out.
I have been very skilled at holding my “strong.”  There’s a Boston College football player named Mark Herzlich, who has survived a rare form of bone cancer and has now coined the beautiful phrase, “find your strong.”  I love it.  Especially because he’s out there playing with a titanium rod in his leg.  It really packs a punch and I find it deeply inspiring.
When Desiree and I first met, well, the moment we met makes me fall over with laughter, but won’t make most do the same, so I’ll get to the point... Not long after we met, she walked over to my mat and immediately asked me to “demo” pinca mayurasana.  I whispered into her ear and said, “okay, but I’m not in my heart in this pose.”  She was straightforward with me and said, “I know.”  In that moment, I knew she was the “real deal” and in my book, “trustworthy.”
What followed was the longest “demo” of my life.  She had me upside down for a very long time because I had no problem muscling my way through the pose and holding it with my “strength.”  What she wanted to do was to help me find a NEW way in.  A softer way.  She kneaded my back like dough for what felt like an eternity.  
I listened to every instruction she gave me and surrendered to it with true adhikara.  And  Des and I were communicating back and forth in the deepest way I knew how, through the vehicle of my body.  Everything she asked of me, I delivered.  And because I knew how to “find my strong,” I didn’t tire.  
When the “demo” was over, she knelt down next to me and we spoke private words to one another which forged a relationship I knew we would both grown into.  Subsequently, every day, I honor all that we have cultivated and all that is yet to flourish.  
I mention all of this because Des recognized what I was willing to admit.  “I rely far too easily and heavily on my strength.”  And she supported me in finding another way.  It was about a 12 minute “demo” and I wish I could have seen it, but I know it was transformative.  Because I know myself.  And I don’t like to waste time.  I like progress.  
Today, I am aware that I am far too tired of being so strong.  I think Des must have wondered if this was true about me back when we met as well.  I’m just weary.  I’m worn out.  But if Des needed me to carry her out of a building for some reason, today OF ALL DAYS, even though I still cannot walk, because for some reason we were the only two left inside (and god forbid, “poo poo poo,” circumstances were such that she needed me to pull her out), would I find the strength to do so?  Even today?  In my condition? AFFSULUCHUSS!  (That’s Yiddish for “Abso_)(*&^%$%^&*()_lutely!!!”)  Even with no reserve?  Yes.  YES!  NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.  EVEN WITH NO RESERVE.  I’D FIND A RESERVE.
How is that so?
Because love TRUMPS any form of strength no matter the circumstances.  No matter the story.  No matter the reason.  
Anchor yourself in LOVE.
My Beloved is away right now.  And I am still deeply ANCHORED IN LOVE.  
When you do that.  You find yourself again.  You find your center.  You FIND YOUR STRONG.  You find it easily.  Without effort.  It’s just right there. 

Anchor yourself in LOVE.
I’m telling you.  I was completely untethered.  Exhausted.  I had no reserve.  
And now?  My friend Madge better watch out.  Because I’m back, baby, I’m back!!!
Full JIG AND ALL!!! 
I know Madge believes me because she hears me laughing.
Only Love.
And Blessings.
Jill Bacharach

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"The Plant Lady"

The day my mother told me she was getting her second divorce was one of my happiest childhood memories.  I was a few weeks shy of turning nine years old, and I was delirious with joy!  
“Girls,” she began, “I have something to tell you.”  I burst into the biggest and most prescient smile I had ever known.  As she continued with “Andy and I are getting a divorce,”  I fell over into the back seat tickled silly while my sister began her typical and uncontrollable sobs.
I remember the timing well because my step-father moved out abruptly.  I remember no longer smelling scotch in the house, and I remember my mother putting me on the phone with him on my birthday.
“What’d he say?” she asked me.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said.  “I’ll never see him again.”
I was no fool.
What followed were attempts on my mother’s part to make up for this change in countless ways.  Within a week, we had a puppy.  And something which I will never forget: she brought me to deliver meals to Jewish elderly people who were shut-ins.
Thus began a ritual for us and I learned their names, but they also had nicknames.  Sylvia, was the “plant lady.”  She was a Holocaust survivor and the only surviving member of her family who had survived the Holocaust.  Her apartment was FILLED with beautiful tall plants, each one named for every member of her family who had been killed during the war.  
As a young child I was never frightened by her, I simply loved her.  And I was amazed by the life she had poured into every plant of hers.  But even then, I knew that “the plant lady” didn’t just live with plants.  Something was different in her home.  As an adult, I understand Sylvia better.  She was pouring the love she lost AND the life she lost into those plants and those plants were her lifelines.  She spoke to them.  She gave to them.  And they gave to her.  They FILLED her life which had been filled with the loss of life.
I will never forget the year we went to deliver her meal and learned that Sylvia had died.
I didn’t do very well with that news.  My mother was very unskilled in that moment and didn’t know how to honor the moment and I I knew I needed to do something to honor her.  My heart was broken for Sylvia and for her whole family.  Every year, Sylvia shared more and more about each of them (through her plants).  She told me their names.  She  told me stories of their short-lived lives.  I knew it was an honor and a privilege every time she offered a morsel of each of their souls.  And as my mother would wait in the car for me, Sylvia always managed to break my heart open by opening her own.  
Flash forward thirty-five years later to “today.”  Today I am reminded of Sylvia as I begin to pack up my photos.  I have to move out of my condo for two weeks due to some flooding which occurred in my condo as the result of Hurricane Irene.  Many people object when I take pictures, but as I began packing up my photo frames today, I realized, I’ve become much like the “plant lady” in my own way.  I really have.  These photos sustain me.  Inspire me.  Encourage me.  They offer me love.
They say “no [one] is an island.”  But often I feel that I am.  Just as Sylvia must have felt.  
I am a child of Survivors.  The subject was simply “off limits” no matter how much I pushed.  No matter how gently or lovingly I pushed.  My photos, her plants, have filled my home with stories and with love.
In taking them down I know my teachers are still with me.  My friends still love me.  And that I am not an island.  My heart still beats.  My heart still loves as fully as ever.  I don’t need photos to tell me so (even though I always bring some with me whenever I travel just to make wherever I go feel more like “home”)!  I wasn’t a fool at eight, I’m no fool now!  
But one thing’s for sure: it’s good to know what’s alive in my heart.  And ever since I was that little girl who visited Sylvia, what was alive then is just as alive now.  
LOVE and DEVOTION.  And a whole lot of perseverance.
I guess I’ve always been a Yogin, huh?
Dear Sylvia, May your memory always be for BLESSING!
Jill Bacharach

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I am a HUGE tennis fan.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to watch the Grand Slams.  Wimbledon is my Opus.  This past year, I was scheduled to teach during The French Open and Wimbledon Finals.  Because I felt out of alignment with where I wanted to be, I used that energy and that message to teach what turned out to be powerful and I know my friend Madge won’t be shocked to hear this, “joyfully expressive” classes.
But this is not what I want to speak about.  
I want to talk about what happens for me when Wimbledon is over.  The very next day.  What happens is I always find myself feeling a little bit dim. 
Yes, I know at that point I still have one more championship to look forward to in the U.S. Open, but it’s real.
It’s a little bit like what the “after the holidays blues” are for some.  
I’m not a big fan of the holidays.  I put my attention towards expressing my love all year long to those who are in my life and to those who are far away, and even to those who have departed.  Always.  I guess I don’t like the inherent cultural pressure you are expected to plan on each holiday if in fact, you are in the category of “orphan” to which I noticed I was named this year at the Thanksgiving table.  
I’ve been wondering why my dog has such intense separation anxiety and I have been thinking it is because since my second surgery, he and I have been continually together and he has entrained with me so deeply, he just can no longer tolerate it when I leave.  But I am fooling myself if this is what I think to be so.  My dog Alfie is an intuitive.  And he reads my heart like no other.  He knows that I love to be alone.  But he also knows that I am much better at hello than goodbye.
My parents divorced when I was two years-old and I was an extremely independent child.  But when I loved someone, I loved them fiercely and I think I mustn’t kid myself.  I think what was ingrained in my psyche at that tender age of two, was the deep belief that everyone leaves.  
I began to trust that.  
I notice that I like to know when “my people” will be leaving for vacations.  I always ask this of them.  I like to know when the people I love will be “off the grid” so that I can do the work I need to do, to adjust my heart and prepare.  Internally say goodbye.
For the first few years of my relationship with Desiree, I would well up with tears on the first night that I’d see her because I would have to prepare myself for when I would have to say goodbye to her.  I now see how far I’ve come because she still does exactly what she does and the last time she was in town, I was just two days out of surgery and couldn’t even get to her.  And I was simply grateful to know she was close by.  And then she managed to pierce my heart in an even deeper way because she is someone who knows how to love me well and with the greatest clarity.
This is what I am learning.
So clearly, that kid became independent because she was hurt.  Clearly, my dog has separation anxiety because he learned it from me.
Love doesn’t have to hurt.  It doesn’t have to ache.  It doesn’t have to be filled with longing and missing.
If it does, someone is still wanting the tournament to be playing.
If it doesn’t, it’s because there is TRUST.
Trust in the thread of the relationship.  
Twenty-five years ago, when “Phantom of The Opera” hit Broadway, I thought that maybe I wanted the song “Think of Me” to be played after I died.  The first few lines say, “Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said goodbye.  Remember me once in a while or promise me you’ll try.”
I must have needed the reassurance back then.
I don’t any longer.
Because I trust in the love I feel.  I trust in the thread of my relationships.
Trust in the thread of your relationship.
Even if it is with someone who has passed on.  Know the tie is unbreakable.  Know it is ever-present.  Trust it.  
I pour my heart into the Championship at the All England Tennis Club that is Wimbledon every year and I am a bit crushed every year when it ends.  But only temporarily.  Because I am excited about the life that is lived through the game and I know deep down, that it will come around again a year later (if "god willing" I am around to watch it- give me a break, I was a Jewish grandmother in another life)!  
It’s quite exciting to watch a life being lived before you.  The life of a champion, the life of a heart, the life of a relationship.
Trust in the thread.
Whether you go to relationship that is “living” or not, something beautiful will always be revealed to you with no need for anxiety.  

I’m going to see how long my threads are!
Jill Bacharach

Friday, November 25, 2011

Slowing Down

Being in a wheelchair challenges me a great deal.  I find myself thinking about getting up to do something and I picture myself doing that “thing” as I would fully able-bodied.  And then I remember.  I’m limited right now.
I think my leg is trying to teach me one of my hardest lessons.  That I must go against my natural timing which is fast and furious. 
I’ve been pulled over for speeding countless times in the 27 years which have passed since obtaining my learner’s permit.  One of the last times, was on my way to a yoga retreat in upstate New York.  Clearly, I couldn’t get there fast enough to decompress!  
When I was six years-old, I had one of the worst accidents of my life, I was racing a friend on my bicycle, and I flew head first into the concrete as I cut the corner too close down a very steep hill.  Fearless at the top of the hill, I enjoyed the freedom and the speed the whole way down.  The consequence was a child who was unconscious for several days in a hospital bed (since in 1974, we did not wear bicycle helmets) with a mother in Italy, and a grandmother who never left her side worried to death.
Flash forward two years later, two families atop a hill about to ski down it.  Everyone was afraid.  I had never skied before.  I was eight years old.  No one would move.  I looked at everyone not moving and then shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’ll go!”  And I flew down the hill.  Not knowing how to stop, I just let my body crash into the fence when I arrived at the bottom at full speed.  When I finally stood up, I was ready to go again.
Thus began a pattern of how I lived in my body at a very early age.  
In the swimming pool, I was the first one in, and last one out.  I had to be called into the house because the sun was going down or because it was dinner time.  In the ocean, I was pulled under so many times, I needed oxygen at the beach, but I loved the water, so nothing could keep me out.
When I started yoga, a similar thing happened.  A teacher would ask me to do something and I would do whatever she asked, step by step.  There was just never any fear.
The discipline for me was going to be to say, “I’m injured.  Please ask someone else.”  
It was not only a discipline, but an act of self-love.  And it took me a long time to get there.
I think my leg is acting out for the same reason.  I think it wants me to slow down.  First go around, I was back on my feet.  Second go around, eight weeks on crutches.  Now, third, go around, a wheelchair, with some suspicious things happening causing great pain inside the leg.  
“Slow down.”
I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get the message now do I?
“Slow down.”
What I have noticed is that my hip and my leg have been instructing me, in the most nuanced fashion.  As a yoga teacher, I know how to listen to these nuances.  As a student of yoga, it is my imperative to listen because I wish to heal.  And I know that if I don’t listen, I will just get in the way of my own healing process.  
Why would I choose to do the latter?
I see that choice being made all of the time.  An opportunity for ten steps forward lies right in the grasp of one’s hands, but something stops a person from taking it.  
There are so many reasons.  We can talk ourselves out of moving into the unknown places for every reason under the sun.  
Watch.  Bear witness.  See what you do.  And how you do it.
My leg has asked me to try something new.  
I’ve been very good at moving through things quickly.  
Sitting in this pause is my challenge.  It is unsettling.  Not just for me.  Clearly, for others as well.  It’s like the pithy things said to you when you lose a loved one.  Those things are not helpful.  They pull you out of yourself at a time when you need to find your way back to who you are.
My body is teaching me everything it needs right now and asana has been put on hold.  For 4 1/2 months now.  This has been a big lesson for me.  To learn how to place something so beloved, aside.  
It’s not the same as when you are with a child and the child wants a cupcake and you have to negotiate with her when you will agree to the cupcake.  Or maybe it is, because for the child, an instant is a lifetime. 
For me, a lifetime is an instant.  And I am holding each instant very close right now.  Because my body is asking me to to do something else and to trust in this process.  Dark or light.  Wherever it leads.  
I’ve never had this kind of trust before.  But I know something real now: even without being able to walk, I am building the most solid and reliable foundation I have ever known.  
Feel free to climb on.
Blessings for this adhikara.
Jill Bacharach

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time to Stop Pushing (Thanksgiving 2011)

One of the things I love most about watching babies and the childhood development process, is not just the innocence of it, but the sheer honesty of it.  When a child puts its hands out as a barrier, in protest, you know that s/he is saying “No.”  And the metta messages are “it’s too much, I don’t want that, I’m not ready, go away.” etc. etc.  It’s why I love kids.  When they are young enough, nothing gets in the way of this clarity.  No fear, no trickery.  Nothing at all.  It’s just raw truth.
I tried to live ONLY this way after doing a Meisner training and learned that not everyone in my life was open to hearing the “flat truth” as eager as I was to continually share it.  As adults, we still need to practice our impulse control and dare I say it, a little bit of delicate restraint.  Although I’ve maintained the truth telling, a friend told me that I speak so honestly, she believes it scares people and makes it very hard to be my friend.  Hmmmm.  Personally and conversely, I only want to cultivate and rely upon friends who will tell me the flat truth.  It’s all that I want.
But if something feels too hard for me, I think I want to be able to behave like a kid sometimes (and put my hands up).  Not like a victim.  Not ever.  You see, I’m far too good at pushing myself.  I know it’s a skill that is good to have in one’s back pocket.  There are benefits to having this behavior pattern and skill-set, but it is also critical and challenging to learn when and how to stop pushing.
I have thrown myself into the deep-end so many times just to grow myself a little bit more, just to cross another threshold, or figure out something that needed to be revealed to me in the most difficult way imaginable.  I get to a moment where I feel uncomfortable, and so I push myself through that precise door and I turn the key because I want to discover what is on the other side.  I want to know what work there is for me to do so that I can get to it and get through it.  
But I also know that sometimes I push myself when I need to stop pushing.  When I just need a respite so that I can integrate a little and do a little repair work to a heart that is truly hurting.  Not blast past the hurt.
The kid needs to put her hands up, not get on the bus because she needs to face the bully again.
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I’m in a wheelchair.  Okay, Svaha.  It’s not what I would’ve imagined for myself.  What I want to do is rest in bed and snuggle with my pup.  But my dearest and oldest friend won’t hear of it.  Maybe it is hard for her to sit in this pause with me.  Maybe it is harder for her to imagine me alone on Thanksgiving than it is for me to actually be alone.  
But I will tell you:  Thanksgiving is about gratitude.  And this friendship has been the most enduring relationship in my life.  I always called her my “sister of choice.”  There are times I went so far away from this relationship because I trusted it would be there, but recklessly so.  I didn’t tend to its garden.  And when I think about that, I am aware that there are months of my life, here and there, that I can and will never get back.  
She has always been my tribe.  And she wants me at her table.  So as vulnerable as it is for me, as much as I want to throw my hands up in the air and say “no,” today, it is my job to say “yes.”
When we met twenty-five years ago, I dreamed she would become my family.  The truth is, I am vulnerable.  I am not going to pretend that I am who I have known myself to be.  Of course, it is hard to not be able to use my legs, to not be able to get a glass of water in the middle of the night when I really want one.  It is hard to not be strong for my own self.  It’s even harder to not be strong for my friend.  To know I can’t lift each of her twins , one in each arm and run them up and down the stairs of her house like “Aunt Jill” used to.  But Aunt Jill has to put her arms up.  She has some healing to do.
So after all of these years, my friend has become a great teacher to me.  She has taught me that I don’t have to push so hard when it has always been my habit to push.  Someone is coming to get me today to bring me to her table.  At first, I put my hands up in protest and I started to cry.  And then I told her I couldn’t do any of it.  I couldn’t allow  this offering.  I couldn’t receive her generosity.  I couldn’t “let” the twins “see” me cry.  And I realized in all of this, I was making everything harder for myself (and for her) by not allowing her to love me in the way she knows how.  And that the tears were coming because something in me was still trying to heal.  Still.  
So why not allow it to heal?
How much more vulnerable do I wish to get?  I’m in a wheelchair.  What else do I want to manifest?  
Why not allow the healing?
So it’s Thanksgiving.
On this day, what I know for sure is it’s about ALLOWING Gratitude.  ALLOWING Love.  That’s what is getting to the underbelly of this Yogin today.  It’s about letting go of pushing past the familiar pattern of the difficult, the challenging, the far too difficult and the far too challenging.  Listening to when it’s enough already.  And if you’re lucky, releasing the grip of pain tied to the past.  Bit by bit.    
And giving yourself a whole new message.
The message my friend and “sister of choice” gave me today:
“You did good.”
And the one I gave her (of course, in the style of Ethel Merman!):  

“You’ll be Swell!  You’ll be great!”  (Well, isn’t that just like me, Madge?)

No, seriously, the message I gave her:
“Thank you.  For giving me just the right kind of ‘PUSH.’” 

Blessings, Love, and deep deep gratitude for this allowing.
Jill Bacharach

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Somewhere between fifteen and twenty years ago, when I was living in San Francisco, I used to follow one of my favorite living writers Pat Conroy, around whenever he would give speaking engagements.  Pat was a giant in my life, literally and figuratively.  And he was funny.  Not funny in the way I knew from my tribal upbringing, but truly quick-witted and inspiring to me on every level.  The man didn’t even know how to type.  He wrote every novel by hand!
He constantly amazed me, yes, and his words moved me.  Always.
On one particular night, he spoke outdoors amongst the stars.  It was spectacular!  He told a story about when his mother was dying and all of the siblings gathered at the hospital to go see her.  At the time, his twin sister was not speaking to him.  In spite of his pain and grief around that, and the pain he was experiencing around losing his mother, he gathered his brothers together and instructed them regarding their sister:
“When she comes, our job is to love her.”
It’s been somewhere been 15-20 years since I heard Pat speak those words, but I will never forget them.  Ever.  In his book, The Prince of Tides, there is a line that reads, “in families, there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”  That story, for me, was evidence that  he practiced what he preached.  That he knew the transformative power of love.  That he knew the life-altering process of forgiveness.
“When she comes, our job is to love her.”
I remember wishing I could be “her.”  
I remember wanting to live my life in that sentence.
I remember wanting, more than anything, to truly live up to that sentence.
I met a woman a year ago who challenged me tremendously.  But I loved her.  I knew I was meant to.  God sent her to me for that “simple” reason.  She was difficult.  She didn’t listen.  She didn’t want to listen.  I even found myself doubting if she was remotely interested in learning anything new.  She didn’t want my love, but I loved her anyway.  When she wasn’t kind, I told her so.  And I asked her to try again.  I never settled with her.  And it drove her crazy.  She acted out, and protested constantly.  But when I practiced yoga, I noticed that over time, she slowly inched her way closer and closer towards me.  
Eventually, she had to move and currently, we no longer live near one another.  But I would hear from her from time to time and she would make references to the things she had learned from me.  Kindness.  Honesty.  Softness.  Compassion.  Courage.  Transformation.  And finally, more than a year later, something quite powerful: Love.  
More than a year later, she told me that she loved me.
I never asked for anything from her, except I insisted that she begin to speak again every time I heard unkindness or unfairness in her voice.  I was relentless about that.  She was confused every single time.  I didn’t care.  “Start over.”  I would say, “Tell her something that she did that was worthwhile.”  My friend would get very upset with me, she would feel lost and not know what to say, but I didn’t care.  I stuck my ground with her (and the following day she always had a little extra homemade food for me to try).  
She was easy for me to love.  And she protested that too.  Something about that made her so angry.  Because what was hard for her was just easy for me.  But I wasn’t in a competition.  
Here’s the thing I find so fascinating:  you are just out there trying to do the best you can, living your own life, being yourself, and minding your own business, and some people just cannot help themselves but be angry with who you are.  They really can’t.
Love them anyway.  
You don’t have to be best friends with them.  You don’t have to have dinner with them every night.  You don’t have to marry them.  
Do yourself a favor and send them some love.  
Because if all you are doing is living your own life, minding your own business, and you bump up against people who are expending so much energy finding ways to actually dislike you, maybe even finding ridiculous reasons to “hate” you, these people need the love you have to give.
Give a little bit of your love.
See what happens.  
It may change someone’s life.
Or maybe she’ll just cook for you!
Give a little bit of your love.  
And Be Blessed. 
Jill Bacharach