Barbara Azzara (Glabman Cohen)

When I was young, about 10, I realized I care about the world, how people treat each other, the planet, and I wanted to change it for the better.  I loved people and still do.  Eventually I realized I cannot change the world and I cannot love people, unless I changed myself – until I loved myself – first.  While that statement sounds good and is often taught, fathoming that lesson into my deep self took many years. 

Raised in a culture that is poised and willing to label anyone with self care and confidence “conceited”, “selfish” and “self centered”, the idea of self-love had seriously negative social consequences growing up.  While my intellect proved the point that caring for oneself must come first, culture installed in me the instinct that any self-love was poison. I was so “tuned” to this channel set by society, it took a long time to catch onto the feeling that would need to form inside me.

Barbara has worked with me for many years to help me change that “radio channel”.  This work has been as simple as turning the knob and as difficult as taking a crowbar to a rusted nut that had fused to its bolt.  After years, the tuning knob would not budge, no matter how hard I tried and harsh I was on myself for my failure.  Eventually, I finally conceded it, that part of me as that stubborn old tuner, encrusted with lessons that still didn’t serve me. I have anxiety. I have meltdowns. I sometimes disappoint myself when I fall out of integrity. Generally, I am also very happy.

Then one day, Barbara and I noticed a change had occurred – the knob had turned.  Quietly, somehow I learned to love that part of me that I was angry at, ashamed of, that failed me and failed my purpose to help the world.  As if overnight, that quiet part of me that needed to make its own choice tuned into a new frequency.   I see the world differently.  I hear people differently.  I feel others and myself differently.  I still care about the world, but from a different place in it.  I see how there is no way I could have contributed positively while I was coming from a place that was so negative towards myself.  Through Barbara’s patience, humble humor, and steadfast willingness to challenge me like a mama bear challenges her cubs, she has raised me again in the spiritual message with which I came here. 

I still wish to contribute healing change for the world, but now, only through loving eyes and only if the world receives it.  And if the world doesn’t want to turn that knob, I love it even so.

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