While reading a recent issue of Tennis magazine about the “Heroes” who have dramatically affected many lives, I started thinking about the heroes in my life.
As a young child I used to love reading mystery novels and my favorite was a character named Kay Tracy. She was young, adventurous, clever and was able to garner support and follow clues to solve every mystery. Then I began collecting comic books. Yes, I liked “Superman” and “Batman” but I also loved “Wonder Woman” and the “Archie” comics with romantic battles between Veronica and Betty to win Archie’s love and attention.
From an early age I loved watching the Miss America contest and dreamed of someday being as “cool” and “popular” as these ladies. And then I started watching sports, my favorites being ice skating, gymnastics and tennis. I watched Dorothy Hamill dance on ice, Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton perform “perfect 10” gymnastics routines, and Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratalova display their unique championship tennis styles. Becoming a professor of health and physical education I wanted to emulate their excellence and instill that passion into the hearts and minds of my students.
My relationship heroes were women who knew how to win the hearts of men. I loved reading all the stories about
the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, the sensual Sophia Loren, and the very sexy Brigitte Bardot. I wanted to emulate them and have the men swarming around me. And then I read Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and Marilyn French’s The Woman’s Room. Although I did not desire to emulate these authors, I was strongly affected by their perspective on how to become more than just a sex object.
My perspective on love and romance was greatly influenced by the originators of Sex Therapy, Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, when I took their powerful training workshops, the psychologist Dr. Margaret Mahler whose work laid the foundation for my dissertation about the long term relationship effects of mother-infant bonding, and one of my professors, Dr. Mary Calderone, who taught us (in the midst of the Free Love era) that “Love and Sex Go Together.”
The final piece of my hero journey is the spiritual component. This has been influenced by 3 major people in my life.
My first real spiritual guide was the powerful quadriplegic workshop leader Ken Keyes, Jr., author of The Handbook to Higher Consciousness, whose “Living Love” workshops literally changed my life. Years later, one of my yoga students introduced me to Swami Muktananda’s disciple Guru Mayi. Although her main asram was in India, she began teaching her intensives in New York City and then at a beautiful ashram in upstate New York.
I learned from Guru Mayi, first hand, that changing my partner would not change my loving relationship and that the only solution was to change myself and learn to love unconditionally. And finally, I discovered Joel Goldsmith’s Infinite Way. His powerful talks in easy to understand, everyday language and the silent meditations in the groups I attended, brought me to the same depth of meditation without the need to music, chanting, drumming, etc.
All of my heroes, along with many other teachers and mentors and personal life experiences, have brought me to the place of understanding in which I now live.
Who are the heroes that have shaped YOUR life, your capacity for love, your understanding or romance and relationships, and your passionate pursuit of your dreams and goals? Please share with me in the comment box below.
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