When I can’t find it in myself to say the right thing – be it something to console or motivate or scold lovingly – when I can’t find the words to exactly and concisely express my feelings at a given moment in time, I look to the words of others. One of the first such people whose words touched me was Leo Buscaglia. Remember him? Leo was “Dr. Love,” and he was one of the first people who brought words such as “acceptance,” “compassion” and “non-judgment” into my world. [If you’re just hearing of him for the first time, check out his publications here.]


I was so cool

          I knew what love was when I first saw Leo – at least I thought I did. I was 20, living in Berkeley and thought myself to be very cool. I mean, I had my nose pierced, and that alone made me cool! I knew that love was a feeling I had from time to time for members of the opposite sex. It was through this feisty Italian and very charismatic man, however, that I learned the value of love for all humankind, be they boyfriends or my women friends or people I didn’t even know.

Another huge contributor

          Another influential wordsmith I found early as I was beginning what I fondly refer to as my “inside journey” was Wayne Dyer. His method of speaking so simply, so directly to the issues in my life captured my rapt attention beginning with his first book Your Erroneous Zones.  Through his communications, I learned to identify and speak my truth – not in all situations but at least to open the door to the power of positive thinking. To this day, every time he appears on PBS, I garner some new insight into my well-being.

          These are just two of the early healers who presented themselves to me when I was just beginning to find my way through the emotional gauntlet of spiritual growth and development. Before them, my life was about holding the voices and attitudes and opinions of my father or my fiancé above my own. At that time in my life I didn’t know it was okay to own my own feelings.

          It hasn’t always been easy lo these 45+ years since my innocent and naive youth. I have made huge and devastating mistakes with myself and with others. But, today, I feel whole in my imperfection. I am honestly proud of the strength of who I am, even if I have hurt myself and others in the process. I am proud to say my senior voice has been crafted out of the words and the feelings behind the words of these two wonderful men, Leo and Wayne, as well as those of Depak, Earnest, Chris, Edward, Louise, Melody, Jeff, Mary Anne, Eckhart, and many, many more.

          Were there words of others that enhanced your life and helped make the journey easier or more fun, more complete or richer?

Contact Antonia at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com