To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. –Alan Cohen
Alan Cohen’s famous quote was most definitely self evident in our January Meeting. All those present expressed how they felt (on various levels), how they came to terms with their sexuality, and how their current lifestyle has provided them the freedom they were searching for.
All were given the chance to have their voices shared and empowered throughout the evening. Major topics included “Where are you in your church membership?” and “What are your phases of coming out?” In addition, some time was spent discussing when and how each of us felt betrayed by church members or ideals.
Despite the variance of thoughts and opinions, we all shared comfort and support for one anothers’ experiences, and it was as if old friends gathered to “catch-up” on old times. This was quite a feat considering that for many of us, it was a first time experience.
Beth, our facilitator did an excellent job of starting and keeping the conversation going, making everyone feel at ease and very welcome. She challenged us to think of new ideas and ways to make future meetings more successful. The idea of perhaps having additional “sub-meetings” was discussed as there were some callers who felt that maybe this type of meeting was not for them.
The night ended for most (some of us stayed on to keep chatting 🙂 with a thought lead by Mars Booker who quoted both Alan Cohen (above) and Albert Einstein:
“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
As these meetings progress and we continue to unite, we will have the great privilege of widening our personal circle of compassion both within ourselves and in our communities. I for one am looking forward to this journey!