While I was in my relationships with Jack and Marla over a seventeen-year period (and also on separate occasions), I had a soul ache, for I was longing for more than what I was getting. Yet it wasn’t their fault or shortcomings; I was wanting more than I was bringing. However, I was getting back just what I was bringing. That’s when I had an “aha” moment, the realization that I wasn’t putting my whole self in. I realized that what I believed spiritually and how I practiced as a learned shaman were not being reflected in the current flow of my life. I was still bringing my past beliefs from my family system to the relationships. I was still toting my old rags to the banquet of my new life.
I was somewhere between the lower class and the middle class while wanting to fully express in the upper class. Yet how could I do it? I was so programmed to believe old worn-out ideas about love.
I started looking into the mirror and singing to myself the song from Firefall: “You are the woman that I always dreamed of / I knew it from the start / I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart.”
At that time I was employed at First Unity in St. Petersburg, Florida. I noticed several times how the minister, Alan Rowbotham, looked at his wife, Kathryn, and those moments changed my life. It was a look that Hollywood has mastered on camera but that very few people I have known in real life have had. It was the look that said, “I honor you, I adore you, I respect you, and I admire you.”
Watching them in those moments, I remembered a scene when I was fifteen and sitting in the den of my grandparents’ home. My grandmother Rubye was in the kitchen, and she yelled to my grandfather, “Howard, what are you doing?” He said, “I am sitting here looking at Temple Ann.” He was looking at me intensely, as if to say, “I honor you, I adore you, I respect you, and I admire you.”
That memory had been lying dormant in me, and seeing Alan and Kathryn look at each other woke me up. When I was able to put the look into words, I was immensely sad and definitively glad at the same time.
I was happy that such a look existed but sad that I had had it only one time in life, with my grandfather. I knew that as long as I continued to hold myself a certain way and live in a certain manner that I would be loved. I would have a good life, but I would never truly be honored with such grace.
I finally got it. I got real with myself and connected with the deeper belief that everyone ought to have the look like those two had. Everyone ought to be honored, adored, respected, and admired, and it could easily be reciprocated.