Friday, August 13, 2010

The Fame Dance or Is It name dropping if you don't know someone is famous?

I was born in Chicago and we moved to Las Vegas when I was six years old. In 1980 I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress.

Many people I knew growing up have had great success, sometimes temporary, sometimes lasting. My life experiences have put me in relationships with people whose names are easily recognized.

 I never really have had the kind of success that is celebrated with more than a cake you made in your own kitchen.

I have friends and clients who have won the Tony, Oscar, Emmy, Soap opera Award, for their talent. I also have amazingly talented friends and clients whose name you would not know who have never won 2 bucks in the Lotto.

 What makes me a good therapist has nothing to do with the bodies I work on and everything to do with my technique. Just because someone I work with is famous does not make me more of anything at all. Most of the time I don't know my client is famous. Someone else ends up telling me.

 I had a client for a couple years and knew her only by her first name. One of my co- workers got all excited when she saw her and whispered " Do you know who that is?" I said "'m clueless." The room broke out in laughter. It was Alicia Silverstone, the actress who first found fame in the movie "Clueless". Who knew? Not me .

 I just knew her as Alicia. To me she was a lovely young woman who cared much for animals, my soft old worn out sheets, and the smell of Jergens lotion. She said she always thought of her Grandma when she came to see me because I smelt like Jergens lotion.

I felt like a fool for not knowing she was famous, she how ever loved it. She said she felt comfortable with me because she could just be herself. We made an agreement, she would always just be Alicia to me. Alicia, the lady with the big heart and a champion of kindness to animals.

One of my dearest friends and clients is the wife of an epic film star. Marie ( not her real name. We picked that name yesterday. It is her middle name. She said I could use her real name but I believe public people deserve private lives.)

Marie and I have so much in common. We are both from the Midwest , both started out actresses, both love to take pictures, both wish we were thinner... the list goes on and on. Our ages are different, I'm 53 and she is 87. But the essence of our friendship comes from time and love shared.

Many of my stories will be about my exchanges with Marie. She has been one of the most powerful friendships I have ever been blessed by. My love for this woman is deep, like a family member.

We have experienced mystical happenings that most people would not believe. Life has proven to us that fame and celebrity do not protect you or keep you from the painful lessons of the evolution of human existence. It doesn't make love better, it doesn't make life more precious, rich or poor, famous or obscure, when cut we all bleed.

 We brought each other through the one of the hardest times in our lives. Her husband and my Mother were doing the end of life dance at the same time. They both had been very seriously ill for a long time.

I was grateful to be massaging her several times a week, it gave me a reason to keep moving forward and she was grateful for the loving touch. The healing conversations during those massages, the truth we shared ,the tears we shed, go beyond what I can explain with words on this page. It is called friendship.

One time during a massage Marie had fallen asleep as often happens. Her husband who was ill was also sleeping in the bed next to where we were. I was quietly massaging her when, her husband began to speak, "Are you enjoying your massage darling?"
"Oh yes, it feels so good."
" I'm so glad, I want you to feel good."
" Ohhh, I love you."
" I love you too."

I sat in silence, I was witnessing a miracle. My heart was pounding. Her husband, because of his illness, was hardly able to speak at all when he was awake. But his voice was clear and strong . He was filled with the power of presence we would all know from his time on the silver screen. As I write this the same tears that wet my cheeks that day are present. The implications of this event changed my beliefs about life.

I learned a most valuable lesson that day. Illness effects our body but does not touch our essence,our soul, who we really are inside. The bond between two spirits, the iron solid love these two people shared will never be broken. These two souls are so connected that not sleep, illness, or death could get in the way of this man expressing his love and concern for his life partner.  Love knows only life.

When the massage was finished I woke her from her sleep. It took everything I had to collect the tiniest bit of professionalism.
" Marie, Do you remember your conversation with your husband? I think you two were talking in your sleep."
" No." she let out a cry, " What did he say?!"
I repeated the conversation to her.
" Oh , I wish I been awake!" she exclaimed.
" Oh , Marie you were, you were awake in the real world not this one filled with the illusion of illness and separation. See what this means, you will never be apart. Not illness or sleep could stop the dance of love between you two."

She got up and went to his bed. She took his hand and began to talk to him . I slipped out the door quietly giving these two public people a private moment.

A couple weeks later On February 20th in the morning hours my sweet dear Mother left her physical body and became pure spirit. That afternoon 2 dozen of the most beautiful white roses were delivered to my door. I did not have to open the card to know who they were from. Remembering that day gave me comfort.

A couple weeks went by and Marie's husband joined my Mother in the world of spirit. That great mystery of life after life. When I saw her a few days later and asked her how she was doing she said " I was in the car driving to an appointment. I felt an odd feeling. People were walking on the sidewalks. Streetlights were changing colors. I was surprised, the world was just going on. I feel like time has stood still but it hasn't. For me the world stopped the moment my husband died."

I can not imagine the loss you experience when your husband of 60 or more years passes away. Her words describe it perfectly. The world just stands still. Perhaps to get our attention or to help us isolate this moment of grief with reverence. What ever the point, it does keep on going.

The powerful presence ,her husband, will teach us much in the days to come. His communications from "the other side" are no more subtle than he was in life. He paints in broad strokes so we know for sure it is him and so she knows for sure she is not now and never will be with out him.

I am going to ask one favor, when jokes fly about Lindsay Lohan or you see a picture of a movie star without their makeup, remember that they are people just like you and me. It may not seem so but you can help with just one compassionate thought.  We can explain it away or justify by saying they ask for it or that it is the price of fame, I sure would not want to have all my mistakes on the evening news. I'm lucky I don't have to pay the fame price.

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