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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Wolff

The Secret Is In Her Eyes





I‘m a storyteller on a cellular level. Stories bring people together. They comfort. They inspire. They open hearts & resolve conflicts. They make us smarter. They make us proud.


I write stories that announce new beginnings, that commemorate a job well done, a life well lived—heirlooms that preserve the past & become footprints we can follow to help us live a more meaningful life.


I write / ghostwrite biographies, memoirs, & ”how-to’s;” newsletters, blogs, articles, web copy, & “About You / Us” pages.


I teach storytelling in college classrooms & corporate boardrooms, in transformational workshops & retreats at conferences, for non-profits & churches.


If you have a story to tell, email me at 1771MargaretWolff@gmail.com and mention this blog and get a 20% discount on all writing and editing services for June through August.


This month’s blog demonstrates how another’s story, another’s courage, can lead us to create victories in our own lives. I hope it touches you.


 

The Secret Is In Her Eyes

 

Near the end of my undergraduate studies at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, the school announced that the legendary artist Corita Kent would give an informal talk to the student body. The promise of hearing her talk about her work fired up the collective imaginations of everyone on campus and the entire LA art scene.

Corita began her career as an artist in 1936 at age eighteen when she entered the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She lived and taught art at the college for thirty-two years and rose to national prominence during the Vietnam War when one of her graphics ignited the conscience of an entire generation proclaiming, "War is not healthy for children and other living things.”

She marched with Dr. King, memorialized the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy with her art, and created the infamous LOVE postage stamp that made a hero out of the U.S. Postal Service. She returned to secular life in 1968 then lived and worked in Boston for the rest of her days. At the time of her death in 1986, she was the largest selling graphic artist in the world.

I was finishing up my degree in Art Therapy then and was an ardent fan of her work. The dazzling primary colors that characterized her serigraphs and the messages she incorporated in her designs to document the virtue of social responsibility, were apostles that energized her activism and her creative process. I’d heard through the grapevine she had cancer. I was intrigued by the relationship between creativity and illness having had personal experience at its nexus and wondered what she might say about her own experience with this, about everything.

The night of her presentation was the grand finale of a week of torrential rain. The forty-minute drive from my house to campus took two hours. I entered the auditorium rattled from the drive, distracted, preoccupied, picking wet leaves off my coat sleeves that had fallen from the rain-burdened branches above me as I walked to the lecture hall from my parking space. I glanced at the stage to get a sense of direction, to see her standing there behind the lectern, and stopped walking, stopped picking. As I remember it, I even stopped breathing.

She was tinier than I expected, older and physically drawn. Her outer appearance did not match the springtime in her voice. I expected her to be larger than life, fiery, more outwardly resolute. Instead, she was an Eternal Flame. A bright, steady, continual stream of appreciation poured from her eyes.

I sat down in the nearest empty seat, listened and watched her talk for two hours about the simplest things: about Boston, about bike rides, about flowers, about the people in her neighborhood, speaking with such warmth, such emotional generosity, my heart began to ache. Everything was charmed. Everything was beautiful. Everything was art. Always, always, light poured from her eyes. She never mentioned her illness. Despite the obvious fragility of her body, she was one of the healthiest people I‘d ever seen.

When the lecture ended, I approached the stage. I wanted to ask her something, something I did not yet have words for. She was engrossed in a conversation with some young students. I stood on their periphery not wanting to intrude, trying to formulate whatever this question was I needed to ask her.

Quite unexpectedly, she turned towards me and smiled, and for a moment I saw her pain. Then the light returned to her eyes and answered every question I did not know how to ask. I walked back to my car and wrote the following words in my journal:

Child of the Cosmic Mother

You are blessed.

You are so loved

Pain comes to purify you,

To bring you close enough to hear Her whisper

"I am in everything, darling girl. In everything.”


 


Margaret Wolff is a nationally recognized author of 21 books, writing coach, trainer, and retreat leader. She holds degrees in Art Therapy, Psychosynthesis, and Leadership and Human Behavior. She has presented 250 keynotes, workshops, and retreats on the bounty of our collective wisdom and the power of creativity to reveal the truth and beauty of our inner lives.


COMING HOME: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda (White Pearl Press, May 2021), is a curated collection of 14 modern-day stories of spiritual awakening that reflect “the most creative and transformative experience life can offer—developing an intimate partnership with the invisible God of one’s heart.”


Available wherever fine books are sold.

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