I have this image of a big bright ball of gorgeous, pulsating light. It’s swirling and bubbling and boiling and percolating, then it’s whirring faster faster faster getting brighter brighter brighter, and then – pow! It pops like a giant pinata and this giant cascade of love bursts out. That’s how I feel when I think of Sam. My senses are overwhelmed by the enormity of who she is, the gifts she brings, and the light she sheds on so many corners of my world.
This last year has been a big one for Sam. She’s made huge strides with her business: embarking upon a redesign, revamp, and even embarking upon the ominous project of hiring employees. She’s moved houses and neighborhoods and shifted her social circles. She’s gone through a separation from her partner and best friend. She’s entered a new partnership, and created a platform of respect that’s maintained amidst the inevitable trials and tribulations that have arisen. While it hasn’t always been smooth-sailing, I see Sam holding a different level of integrity than I’ve ever witnessed in her before. She’s not dulling herself down or concealing her truth. She’s not holding all of her worry, confusion, doubt, and fear inside of her. She’s not pretending that everything’s okay when it’s not. And, as a result, as she’s embarked upon this process of owning ALL parts of herself, many things have actually seemed to become — somewhat miraculously — more and more okay. Put a more flowery way, I’d call this “alignment.” Her body, mind, spirit, soul all seem to be spending more and more time lined up and celebrating their togetherness, rather than one or more of them veering out forlornly on its own, or waiting for the others to play catch-up.
Sam is a Really Good business woman. Like, she’s started a business from the ground up, essentially teaching herself all the ins & outs, all the nuances & intricacies, of not only creating a corporation that’s functional, but also ever-expanding and growing into greater success! Long-winded way of saying: she’s really smart. She learns real good, and executes real good, and works (both on the job and behind the scenes) real hard and real, real good. I’d be so bold as to say she doesn’t give herself credit for at least 90% of what I see as undeniable: intuitive, expansive, astonishing intelligence.
Along those lines: Sam is stunningly humble. Her humility can sometimes play against her, when she follows it down the path of the “comparison game,” but most often it allows her to see the true beauty and talents in others. She’s quick to find the best in the people around her; to hone in on their skills and admire and recognize them accordingly. She’s quick to respect, quick to care (and care for!), quick to love. She’s fiercely attuned to her surroundings, and seems to understand people not only on a rational level, but also really understand the depth of who they are. This understanding comes from listening, sure, but also from being open and aware with all of her senses. That same all-encompassing sensation that I feel in my body when thinking about how much I love Sam? I imagine she feels some version of that when she experiences others. When she spends time with people, she truly receives them. She listens to their words, but also gives a sense of feeling and seeing and smelling and tasting the spaces between the words; the cavities and metaphorical birthmarks that make up Who They Are, Who You Are, Who I Am. I’d call this a wild and guttural type of empathy, at the deepest degree one could go. Sam goes there.
Sam’s empathy is channeled into many different avenues. She feels deeply, mourns hugely, and then does something about it. She helps the collective aching hearts or sore bellies in every way that’s accessible to her; by doing so, she not only makes a difference, but inspires me (and others!) to do the same. She is a fierce advocate for the environment, and owns a cleaning company that sources only the highest quality environmentally-friendly supplies. She is passionate about animal’s rights, and chooses to eat vegan, as well as donates her time to educate herself and others about what they can do to to stop the global epidemic of brutal slaughtering and mistreatment of animals. She believes in equal rights for all people of all orientations, and is herself a strong pillar of being out, proud, and an irresistibly empowered queer woman. She holds hope for a nation of States truly United (with liberty and justice for all — and yes, that means ALL), and has protested and marched and swung flags and held banners that announced to the world that she is not willing to compromise her truth or the rights of people in this country. Sam leads by example, that’s for darn sure. Her care, enthusiasm, dedication, and power is admirable and deeply infectious.
Sam, I don’t think you realize how much of an influence you have on those around you, just by being you. You inspire by owning your own business – started in your mid-20s, no less! – and demonstrating your strong ethics and morals by your leadership and operational choices. You inspire by standing up for what you believe in; not shying away or making “safer” choices about the things you share and the causes you’re involved with. You inspire by embracing your Whole Self, no matter how deplorable or shameful you think some of your parts may be. You inspire by your willingness to go to the dark places, to the painful places, to the scary places, because you know what beautiful lessons those places have to teach you. You inspire by every day being some version of “in alignment:” on the days it’s more, I love to feel the brightness in your spirit as she hop-skip-jumps her way to celebration; on the days it’s less, I am honored to listen to whatever message comes up, whatever truth is asking to be heard. You inspire by your awareness, your gigantic ability to have a full-sensory experience of others and also a full-sensory experience of yourself. You inspire by experiencing your experiences, learning from them, assimilating the knowledge you’ve gleaned, and then incorporating that into the toolkit that helps you navigate through life.
When I look over my writings, I see several overarching themes. Perceptive — if there was a poster child for this, it would be you, dear Sam. Empathic — able to sense someone so powerfully that you are able to understand, and feel, and learn. Humility — from a place of sweetness, from a space of respect, from a space of wanting to cherish and celebrate the good in others. Courageous — in that way that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the willingness to proceed despite it (quoting a friend here). Can’t help but throw this one in, too: bee-yoo-ti-full. Full of beauty. You radiate it, Sam. It practically seeps from your pores. Inner and outer; stereotypical and abstract. You’ve got it all, in droves. Thanks for keeping me laughing when I need to, or helping me cry when I need that too. Thanks for caring so deeply, for feeling so fully, for smiling like a beacon. Thanks for brightening my life and the lives of so many other humans, animals, beings on this earth. Please choose a cause you would like me to support, and I am honored to make a donation on your behalf.