I was lucky enough to listen to author/lecturer Marianne Williamson on Monday in Los Angeles. Having never attended one of her lectures, I didn’t know exactly what to expect.

My reason for going was that I had recently read a couple of her books and wanted to hear her firsthand. Also, I have  been going through my own personal challenges and needed some inspiration.

Marianne entered the building from the lobby, not a posh greenroom that is removed from those who came to hear her speak. I was instantly impressed by this, as she revealed her willingness to connect with others and not hold herself as superior. Being that the evening was a day before the 2012 election, she spoke on the history of the United States and why it has long been a place of opportunity. Marianne also shared the importance of standing up for what is right and taking action when needed. And if for any reason that there is an injustice committed by the government, we should get out in the streets and make our voices heard.

Following her inspiring speech, she allowed for members of the audience to ask questions. During this period, she stepped down from the stage and stood near whomever was asking the question at a given moment. Seeking to connect with those she took questions from, she looked them in the eye and listened so very carefully. For me, the exercise was a demonstration as to how I should listen to others and offer support.

I am wired to feel everything around me…and everything within me. While many people can divorce themselves from their feelings, I have been given a heart that bleeds. For years I have tried to learn to toughen it, but I was told by a very wise woman named Elli the other day that my heart is what makes me who I am. “You don’t need to be tough Jen,” she said. “You need to be strong. There is a big difference between being tough and being strong.”

And so it goes…after being in the presence of Marianne Williamson and listening to her speak, I realize that it is OK to allow for my heart to lead me. She teaches there are two main elements in this world: love and fear. In the end, love is truth…and fear is an illusion. Fear encompasses all of the lies that we tell ourselves about the world in which we live. This is why children are so very amazing. They have the ability to live love…to see the world in all its glory and pour themselves into the moment.

I feared loss recently and that’s what I received on so many levels. But, I have learned over the past couple of months that boldness for me is standing firm and offering the best of me that I can give…regardless of whether or not I get the same in return. And out of my willingness to give, there will arise a beautiful future.

Marianne suggested that we ask ourselves the following questions:

(1) Who am I?

(2) Where should I go?

(3) What should I do?

When I apply these questions to myself, my initial (lazy) response is, “I have no clue.” But in all reality, my answers are…I am Jennifer Engevik…I have a bleeding heart…and my heart allows for me to write and to connect with others in a special way. I should go where ever my path leads me…where ever it unfolds so that I can do what I’m meant to do…see the things I’m meant to see.  I’m thinking I am meant to share all sorts of thoughts and not try to bury my bleeding heart. Rather, I need to be true to love…the ultimate truth. And through that love, I will become strong and help others to do the same.

Toward the end of the evening, I asked Marianne a question about soul mates. I had long craved a soul mate and thought I had finally met mine…and so I asked her how I let go of this being I have loved so deeply. She looked at me and said, “you need a miracle Jen.”

Last evening, I went to bed a wreck after learning that one of my USC classmates had died unexpectedly of a seizure. I had seen him just a few months ago and he gleamed when he spoke of his wife.

On his Facebook page, yesterday his wife of less than a year wrote the following words:”Joel and I had the absolute fun time together and it was simple and easy. I had never met anyone just like me. I had never believed in soul mates until Joel and I met. From the day we met, we were never apart. I am completely and utterly lost without him. Thank you to my best friends for feeding me when I could not and refused to eat and trying to hydrate me. There are only a few times in one’s life when you find a true best friend and someone you want to share your life with. Love your friends and significant others. Life is precious and short.”

For nearly four hours last night I wept for her, for me, for anyone who has ever lost someone they adore.

In my rawness and pain, I am seeking boldness to carry me forward. Marianne suggested that I need a miracle…and after learning of Joel, I realize that the miracle for now is that I am alive writing at this very moment. This miracle will then turn into another…which will turn into another.

May I and everyone else that I know…and don’t know…dare not to bury our pains  and our hearts. Facing pain hurts like hell…but when we dare to stare it in the eyes…our tearful sobs make us ready for what is to come and who we are meant become.

– Jen Engevik