"We don't own the earth. We simply belong to her and she will feed us as any parent would feed her children.... The [vegetables and fruits from my garden] teach me about the overwhelming, demanding, gorgeous love of [Spirit]. This is a love that places knowledge in our way, offering the chance -- which we must pluck for ourselves -- to grow up, with all the pain inherent in maturity. To be generous as earth herself is generous, and to share with one another. I believe [Spirit] was deeply proud of her rebellious daughter, Eve."
- Donna SinclairI have been contemplating the magic of VALIDATION the past couple of days and trying to get very clear on just what the word means to me. I want to say we all know the magical high we get from being validated, but the sad truth is that too few of us do...
I do. And I feel very blessed to be able to say that the feeling is very familiar to me. I believe that validation is one of our highest needs. And what it means to me is this: that someone who matters to me has taken the time to stop and quietly, purposefully, lovingly notice who I truly am at my deepest level. They've stepped out of their own world, stepped in to mine, they've taken a long look around the inside of my soul, and they've then given me the ultimate gift of reflecting the beauty they've seen there back to me. THAT is a beautiful gift. THAT is what makes our breathing come easier, our steps lighter, our laugh more joyful, our eyes more sparkly. It's so simple, yet so necessary. It's imperative to good mental health. It's crucial to healthy relationships. Children cannot grow up whole without it. Yet it's often the one thing that people regret NOT doing when they hear about the sudden death of someone they love. "Oh! If only I'd taken the time, the energy, the risk of telling them how beautiful their soul is..."
That was my regret on the morning of my brother's wedding in 1987 when I heard that one of my dear friends had been killed by a drunk driver early that morning. It was a very elaborate wedding. I was in the wedding party. I had just had my hair done for the first time in my life. My mum was a basket of nerves. My brother had already had too much to drink. I was wearing a bubblegum pink poofy dress and carrying a lace parasol in my white gloves. The scene was too incongruous with the news that I would never see my friend again. So incongruous, that my family had decided not to tell me until later. I was in a stall in the bathroom, and overheard the secret, tragic news. I cried off the mask of make-up that didn't feel right anyway, blew my nose as hard as I could into my pretty white hanky, took a deep breath, lifted my eyes and uttered this prayer:
Dear God[dess], help me never again miss an opportunity to validate the people in my life. Please tell Jodi, wherever she is, that I love her. And that I will never forget her."
And I haven't. Jodi had given me many gifts in our years of friendship, but the most precious one was that answered prayer. Starting that very day I began to tell the people around me what I loved about them, what I was grateful for because of them, and what I would miss about them if they were no longer there. And that love, extended, has come back to me one hundred fold. Validation is familiar to me. Thank you Goddess, I am truly blessed.
Which brings me to today.
I saw my dear friend sitting against the wall, a beautiful book in her lap, tied up with a white ribbon. Life has gotten in the way of my friend and I, and I was feeling the distance when I saw her sitting there, her new long! hair evidence of how much time had come between us. But then she reached out and handed me the gift of validation, tied up with a bow.
A lovely gift in my hand, but my heart feeling the deep hug.
Oh! WHAT a beautiful book! But even more so, what a beautiful gift it is to have a friend who's taken the time to step inside my soul, and in her own way tell me that she loves what she's seen... Just the solace my heart needed tonight after the exhausting (but wonderful!) past 2 weeks... I've been reading the book all evening (my children both fast asleep by 7pm tonight -- another gift!) and with each word, each photo, each quote, feeling the gift of a friend who really knows me and has reached out to hug my heart, giving me the gift of validation.
"I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth,
the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks."
- Celtic hymn
from "The Spirituality of Gardening" by Donna Sinclair