I know I’ve dropped off the blog grid for a bit; I’ve missed writing to you. At the same time, it’s been good self-care for me to allow myself a break now and then. I will show up this summer, but at irregular intervals. Thank you for staying engaged with me and our ever-growing community of seekers and generous humanists.
My book, MY MUSINGS, will be released in July, and I am working on LOVING THE UNLOVABLE: Relationships, Shadow and the Enneagram, which will hopefully be released by the end of this year. I am also building the structure for a novel using the Enneagram in a rather magical way, with my beloved niece. We meet each Wednesday and have so much fun imagining and brainstorming the characters and the story. So, I am writing.
And seeing lots of clients which continues to be such a blessing. Zoom has allowed me to see folks all over the map. One morning I may begin my day in Tennessee, then go to Utah, then Boston, then Pennsylvania, then California. With zoom I can travel the world and never get out of my chair. I pause to take stock of my journey with gratitude, for its surprising unfolding, and to appreciate this precious life, right now.
On Father’s Day I posted a short piece about my dad, Bernie Landis, on social media. Though my father transitioned several years ago, (and I miss him dearly) it always amazes me how many people write back to me to tell me what an influence he was in their lives. So many will say, “I love that man!” Yes. They say it in the present tense. Warmth like he showered on others does not dissolve over time. It holds a permanent place in our hearts.
My father was indeed lovable; he was full of curiosity, enthusiasm, playfulness and depth. He gave a hug with his full Winnie the Pooh bear self. And he was wise and a life-long student. He didn’t live to see himself on the cover of two of my books, but I know he is delighted, wherever he is, oozing his love energy and still being inspired.
So how does someone earn these kind of accolades, even after their death? People who knew my dad ages ago smile when they think of him even now. What lasts? What genuinely sustains a memory of a person’s goodness?
In my father’s case, he did not come from a loving family and endured an extremely abusive childhood, and severe neglect. He did not share that fact with many people. He often said that my mother saved his life because she loved him. They eloped when my mom was seventeen and my dad had just turned twenty. They were married for sixty-plus years. No one thought it would last. My mom would laugh as she told me that people took bets about how long they would stay together.
My father often drove my mom nuts with his idiosyncratic and eccentric ways. These qualities were endearing for friends and family, but not always so easy to live with. Yet every day he told her she was the most beautiful woman in the world. And he meant it. There was a soul pact between them. Though my father was far from a natural born caretaker, when my mom got dementia, he learned how to step up and love her as she had loved and cared for him. Yes, she LOVED THAT MAN.
Bernie Landis came to each moment of his life as an opportunity to grow, to connect with others in a way he had not known as a child, and to elevate his time on this earth to a high vibration of zest and tenderness. This kind of life stance was contagious. I think others wanted some of that for themselves, wanted to live in his kind of energy. Those of us who were closest to him, knew his pain and struggles, his dark places, and also witnessed his commitment to work through them. I don’t think that he missed a class or workshop I gave if he was in town. He just wanted to keep understanding and evolving, as he surely did. Even with all of his shadows, it was true, without hesitation, easily to say, “I LOVE THAT MAN.”
He reached toward love, reciprocally. He loved being alive. He had no regrets. He loved being an actor on stage and in life. On his headstone he asked us to put- “This is the best life I’ve ever had!”
“The end of the run of a play is bittersweet. The actor and the character will not be spending intimate time together anymore, though the actor has been forever changed from the relationship. The world of the play has ended this incarnation. This alchemy of players, whether in foreground or background, must say farewell. If each has played their roles and scenes well, consciously, kindly and carefully, there will be a sense of completion and wholeness, and there will be a readiness to move on.
In real life my dad felt his sense of completion because for him his personal task was to learn how to love and feel loved, and he achieved that. For me, it will be completing the task of knowing that my worth is not something I need to earn, or prove, but that it rests in the mere fact that I was given this precious gift of life.
For you, my dear reader, only you can decide what will ultimately bring you a sense of fulfillment with no regrets. I hope you can gather into yourself some of the resources this book offers: merging the art form of the actor, the insights of the Enneagram, other psycho-spiritual wisdom, the help of your own life-long cast of characters (both dark and light teachers) and your unique audience.
And when you complete your Hero’s Journey may you distinctly hear the ovation of this audience, whether it be from a spiritual space, your own observer-witness self, or otherwise.
And may you feel that you can take an honest, unapologetic bow for a well-lived life.”
Excerpt from ACTING LESSONS FOR LIVING, by me