Tag Archive | Leo Buscaglia

Touch <3

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“But when your love light shines upon my face
I’m in a different world
A world so warm and sweet
I’m in a different world
Now that you’ve been loving me
I’m in a different world” ~ the four tops

Dr. Leo Buscaglia (1924 – 1998 ) professor, author, and extremely loving man is one of my greatest inspirations! He is very compassionate and very humble. Unfortunately he died in 1998 at age 75 years old of a heart attack. But his love and light live on. I lost my good friend/coworker that way, another beautiful, loving person, and now whenever I hear of someone dying that way, someone I know or not, it’s like a punch in the gut. 

In the book “Living, Loving, & Learning,” a collection of lectures by Dr. Buscaglia, he writes of an experience he had with a young college student of his.

I am going to share it here. 

Caution: This may be a trigger for people who have some experience with depression/suicidal urges or thoughts. I have severe depression and frequent suicidal thoughts and sometimes urges and not always but often, reading/hearing about a suicide attempt or anything about suicide, whether it’s real or fiction, can be a serious trigger for me even when I’m not currently depressed or suicidal. 

So this is a warning that what I’m sharing here may be a trigger in case you want to click it off.  

Dr. Buscaglia writes:

“In my first year at USC I was teaching a class. It’s an amazing thing- I imagine you feel the same thing I do- but you pick up vibrations from your audience. Things happen between you and your audience if you are talking to them and not at them. It would be marvelous if we could ever have a small group to sit down and really talk and relate instead of always these massive things. But nevertheless, you know that there are certain faces in an audience that come out, certain bodies that vibrate. They reach you and you reach them.
Every once in a while, when you need support, you focus on them and receive a smile that says ‘Go on man, you’re doing fine.’ Then you can do all kinds of things. Well, I had such a person in this class, a beautiful young girl. She was always about the sixth row back and she’d sit there nodding. When I’d say something, she’d say, ‘Oh, yes!’ You could hear her say ‘Wow,’ and then she’d write things down, and I’d think, ‘Oh, I’m really communicating with her – something beautiful is happening between us; it’s going to be good; she’s learning,’ etc. Then one day she stopped coming. I couldn’t imagine what had happened and I kept looking for her but she wasn’t there. Finally, I checked with the Dean of Women and she said, ‘Haven’t you heard?’…this young lady whose papers were absolutely brilliant, whose mind was exciting, who had a creativity like you never dreamed…had gone to Pacific Palisades, an area where sheer cliffs fall into the sea. She parked her car, walked out, jumped off that cliff and splattered herself on the rocks below. It bothers me still and I thought to myself – what are we doing stuffing facts at people and forgetting that they are people, that they are human beings?” (pp. 5-6) 

As heartbreaking as this story is, it’s a great reminder that we can be lovingly touching the life of someone we hardly know or do not even realize exists or don’t realize how we positively impact that person. This beautiful young girl was inspiring her professor and had no idea! He looked to her for inspiration, support, beauty….without her ever knowing. He was touched by her life and presence even years later. Even after she stopped coming to class, he remembered her and actually went to look for her. She probably had no clue her smile brightened his day and her positive gestures  kept him going strong, feeling as if he was really reaching people. Even though he was a very educated and confident man with an amazing career and great success, once in a while he still appreciated feedback that what he was doing was reaching someone and touching others for the better. And this girl was clearly touched by him as evidenced by her reactions in class. And she confirmed for him that he was touching lives for the better. Even though she killed herself intentionally, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t touched by her professor and others. We can love and appreciate others and what they do for us but still be suicidal. 

Both the professor and his student brightened each other’s days and loved each other without communicating directly, verbally, for the most part. They felt a connection to one another, connected through smiles, eye contact, positive reinforcement. 

Unfortunately the young girl felt that she just couldn’t go on living. I have so much love and anguish for her and all those affected by that tragic loss. This was decades ago but I am certain there are people still affected by her death. Whether friends and family still alive, others who knew her, or just readers of Dr. Buscaglia and others who just heard of her suicide. How traumatic.

This reminds me of my own experience. When I was in college, I was involuntarily hospitalized for depression when I planned to kill myself. I told a couple doctors I was going to kill myself very soon, I even knew the day and method, when I would be in my house alone with access to the thing I was going to use as a weapon against myself, but I tried to “take it back” after I said it because I had to be hospitalized. I only wanted to relieve my pain some until I got to kill myself. I did not want help. But it turns out after we confess we actually have a thorough plan to attempt to kill our self, we can’t take that back. I wasn’t cooperative and refused to sign myself in so the psychiatrist signed a 302 paper for me and I had to go to the court of mental health where they decided I had to be hospitalized even longer. 
And I couldn’t come to class for a few weeks at the end of the semester. My one professor, Dr. M, for one of my psychology classes who I also had class with another semester before that, noticed I wasn’t in class for a while. After I got out of the hospital, I saw an e-mail he sent me asking if everything is ok and said he was concerned because I never missed class and now missed weeks. 
I found so much love and consolation in his choice to reach out to me just to check and make sure everything was ok. I told him my situation and he was extremely caring about it and helped me tremendously. He even went out of his way to make it so I wouldn’t have to take our final exam or come back to class since it was about to end anyway and I was a wreck.
Lol I will never forget the love he showed to me. To this day I am still deeply touched. 

Through this story I am reminded and want to remind others how one life can touch many, many others for the better even without the person realizing. Your life can be impacting someone in ways you can never even imagine. It may be an employee at a store you visit, the homeless person on the corner, a person you see at a busstop, your coworker you rarely talk to, a neighbor, a receptionist or doctor or nurse at a doctor’s office, your teacher or professor, a person you just say a quick hello to and go about your day…..or maybe you are one of the people above, maybe you’re the person at the busstop inspiring someone, the receptionist, the homeless person, the doctor, the teacher or professor and you have no idea the impact you have on someone you may not even know. 

I think it’s worth staying alive even if just to keep on loving everyone around us in various ways even if it’s just a warm smile as we’re walking by. 

It’s good for all of us, suicidal/depressed or not, to be mindful of the impact we have on those around us and try to make it as loving as possible. Love isn’t just a warm affection for those we know(though it can be); it’s an action, a verb, an expression, wishing others the best, even if we don’t know them. Reaching out to help, inspire, uplift….is reaching out in love. ❤ ❤

😀

I strongly recommend Dr. Leo Buscaglia's work to everyone. He's one of the most loving people you can ever come across. He's no longer living on Earth with us but his lovelight lives on and on. His essence still lights the world and always will.

As the saying goes, love is how we stay alive even after we are long gone.

“You’re more than a love to me
You’re my way of life
I’ll forever cherish you
More each day and night” ❤

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http://www.buscaglia.com/biography

Love & light to you,

Xoxo Kim 

Love & Humanness {Oneness}

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” We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” ~ 
Tim McGraw

I’m currently reading a book by Leo Buscaglia called “Personhood.”. I had this book for quite a while but never got around to reading it until now. I still have much more to read but I love the whole concept of the book. It’s not a philosophy or political book or even really a psychology book. It’s a personal development book about living up to our full potential, loving and connecting with others. 

Dr. Buscaglia explains how no matter how different we are than each other or no matter how similar we are to one another we can connect with each other through our basic humanness. We don’t have to have very similar life experiences or relate or identify with each other in very significant ways to deeply connect with each other.

We are similar in very basic ways. We are alive. We all have a story and all experience pleasure and pain and have needs and desires.

I have always loved people and often feel deeply connected with others whether I know them well or not. I have so much gratitude & appreciation for the lives of others.

Recently I was with my mom, dad, and little sister in my dad’s mini van and we were driving in Center City, Philadelphia at night and there were lots of people walking, standing, sitting….around the city.

Some were homeless and dirty, dressed in rags, some were dressed warmly and smiling, talking on cell phones, waiting for busses, giggling with one another, some looked sad and distraught while others appeared to be happy and carefree. Some were alone, some in groups.  I noticed short people and tall people, young and old, men and women,Asian, African American, Latino, Caucasian…

Some spoke languages other than English. One pretty young lady with long blonde hair who was with a man was laughing wildly like she had no care in the world. They were smiling and genuinely joyous. I couldn’t help but stare, maybe to the point of rudeness. They looked perfect together standing beneath the city lights at night laughing with wild abandon. I had no choice but to smile myself.  They were speaking a language I couldn’t understand.

Then they started walking towards my sister and me as we stood on the street corner waiting for my dad and mom to come for us. We went to a bookstore and there were no parking spaces so my dad had to drive around the block til we came out.

When the girl got close to me she smiled , looked directly at me and said “Bonjour soeur.”. And continued walking.  
I can only speak English and I wasn’t completely sure what she said to me but in high school I took an Italian class and some days conversations of other languages came up including conversations about the French language.

I got an idea the girl said “hello sister” in French to me. So I looked it up on Google translate on my phone and discovered that is in fact what she said.

It warmed my heart. I couldn’t understand her language but I certainly understood her smile, her laugh, her beauty, and the spark in her eyes, her need to reach me…

And she saw something in me that inspired her to reach out with a warm & friendly greeting.

So we had the language barrier but that doesn’t prevent human connection.

We all speak different languages, have different cultures, different experiences, different skin colors, and ethnicities, sexual orientations, nationalities, political views, religions, opinions, and many other differences but our smiles, laughs, love, beauty, and basic humanness connect the same.

As I was looking at each person I asked myself “Is it weird to love every person I look at, to feel a strong sense of gratitude for the lives of people I don’t know and will probably never know and never see again?”. 

It may be weird to some people but weird or not, it’s what I often feel. I don’t know those people but I know they are someone. They bring a light to this world. They all have a name, a face, a life, a breath, a story, a dream. They have a heart and they experience pleasure and pain, desires, and needs.

We may have sharp differences and experiences, opposing views, disagreements but we are not very different underneath.

Leo Buscaglia, in his book, describes some very brief experiences where he met someone who he could only connect with through their basic humanness. Because of language/culture barriers or because of dramatically different life experiences, these people he encountered were only able to connect with him through being living humans but still the connection is deep, satisfying, and rewarding.

He describes a woman he saw one hot afternoon while he was in southern India. She was in a faded sari and walking. He noticed she seemed strong and erect and determined. She had a large, heavy water pot balanced on her head. There was no sign of where she has been or where she was going.   
He writes this: “She paused for a moment and our eyes met. We knew each other.”

Not a word was spoken, yet these two people connected deeply. 

He writes of the “beautiful, toothless old farmer in Nepal” who allowed him to stay overnight in his house with all of his family and animals. Leo Buscaglia writes, 

“Conversation, beyond sign language, a smile, eye contact, a touch, was impossible.”

This farmer had no idea where the USA is, never spoke to a Western person, and never traveled in a car. He never heard of history, knew nothing of politics, and knew nothing at all beyond his village life. But Dr. Buscaglia writes, 

“Still, for an evening we were brought warmly together. When the time for parting came, feeling that we would probably never meet again, we walked arm and arm to the village’s end and wept. We are still together.”

He writes of the young anxious business man who helped him find his way in Tokyo when he was lost, the Brooklyn, NY teenager who told him that he helped him create his purpose, the Kindergarten child who he laughed with in a lunchroom.

Dr. Buscaglia writes this about his experiences, 

“For these few brief seconds of our encounters, I was and still am that Indian woman, that Nepalese farmer, that Japanese businessman, that New York student, that Kindergarten child. We were all one in the same thing, humanness. When our minds could not meet, our hearts were the common bond. When our speech was a mystery, it was solved by our eyes and arms.”

&

“Some moved in technological wonder, others in primitive magic ; some rested in material opulence, others in the greatest simplicity and even desperate poverty; some were equipped with strong formal educations, others simply used their natural mental endowments, enriched by experienced. But, whatever, they all had a strong common tie – their humanness, their deep need to survive, to realize their experience, to love and be loved, to overcome loneliness and isolation, to use their creative endeavors, to make things more comfortable and beautiful for themselves and their loved ones, to attempt to understand their world and their part in it.”

And this:

“Each of these people were the history of all people, but all were also a part of the unique history which only their lives would write….”

Isn’t this beautiful?!? We are all connected. I am you. You are me. In so many ways.

The homeless people you see, the financially struggling, the rich people, the ones you feel are way out of your league, the ones you feel that you are above in some ways, the “losers,” the “saints,” the lucky ones, the unfortunate ones, the people who seem to have it all, the ones who have next to nothing, we are all each other.

Some of the most deepest connections, conversations, experiences I have known, have been with random strangers or people I just met, on the busses, in hospitals, walking the streets..

I am very shy but very open to people.  

If ever you feel lonely and isolated, remember there’s a whole world full of people. Ones who will walk with you for a while, embrace you, make eye contact with you, listen to your story….

“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.” ~ Rumi

Xoxo Kim