My little princess Teesa has become my greatest teacher in her short 3 years. Teesa is named after a bird that flies high over the Himalayas with a full view of how gorgeous the world is. That view of life is what she has been teaching me to believe.
When I was Teesa’s age, my own belief about life was painfully taking shape. The poverty, cruelty, and violence surrounding me in our cramped ghetto dwelling were constant reminders that life was to be feared and tolerated. A photograph from that age shows me with a bowed head and stooped shoulders, in deep mourning, peering through large sad eyes that wondered what I was doing in this world and how much longer I could bear it. I found protection in a cocoon of depression and isolation.
My belief in life’s beauty was partially restored through a leadership coaching career that involved inspiring and restoring other people’s joy and creative power. What also helped was finding the love of my life to marry. But it was Teesa who helped me to re-member who I really was–that is, who I was before that sad picture was ever taken.
For Teesa, everything, I mean absolutely everything, is a thinly disguised opportunity for love, joy, and discovery. She believes the sour-faced stranger is merely putting on an act, so that when she breaks through with her charm, his smile will be that much more rewarding. For Teesa, anything painful, like a bruising fall, or a bruising admonishment, is a chance for a cleansing short-lived cry, beyond which both the sinuses and the air are clear for brighter laughter. For Teesa, the burning fever of her small body is a chance to cuddle with mom and dad way past bedtime with a good cartoon, soaking in the increased intensity of their love. For Teesa a rainy day is finally the permission to put on the red boots and open the yellow umbrella she has so cherished since the sunny day she got them. For Teesa, dad’s concerned expression watching her hair-raising acrobatics just adds to the thrill of her perfect backflip. And mom’s numerous boundaries and rules are all joyful opportunities to test and retest the extent of her abundant creativity and power.
As a boy I escaped to worlds of fantasy in which a lost little boy like me was eventually saved by a benevolent adult who cherished and loved him. It never occurred to me that the savior would be my own self as an adult, all inspired by a little powerhouse of a girl, helping me to re-member how gorgeous life really is.
This I now believe.
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