We Are Love Stories

The other day I saw a post by my friend Andrea about the death of her friend, John Perry Barlow. Andrea and Rancher/Grateful Dead lyricist/ Electronic Frontier Foundation founder John Perry Barlow created a friendship years ago when young gorgeous Andrea was living in Jackson Hole. I thought I knew all of Andrea’s strange stories. We’d traded the good ones…like the one where she has two pet cows that she rode around on for a few years. Or darker ones, like the loss of her twin sister. But I didn’t know about this unusual friendship. So I said so, and told her I had a story to share with her. We got together Sunday to swap the stories, and to infuse each other with happiness, which we both needed. And that led to a miracle. 

We talked with purpose about happiness, about the importance of practicing it. It percolates, but only if you cultivate it, we agreed. She told me about John Perry Barlow; how he’d shown up at a party at her house with her friend Ted, then they discovered a unique kinship. What a soul he had, what capacity. How did he die, I asked? From a series of illnesses after a heart attack, she said. She offered that his lifestyle likely had contributed. 

Andrea told me of a few losses that John Perry had suffered. He was good friends with JFK, Jr and his wife Carolyn. He found out well into his life that he too had been a twin, and that his twin had been born stillborn. He’d fallen in love with a young brilliant psychiatrist who passed away unexpectedly. He’d also had a life full of love, thousands of friendships and many adventures; it was interesting to even think about him. Like, how could someone be comprised of such disparate parts? I think a broken heart contributed to his death, I said to Andrea. She agreed...yes. Broken heart made sense. 

He honored ALL of what called him and therefore was all of what he was. No shrinking, no categorization, no this but not that. All of it. Poet, lyricist, rancher, internet pioneer. 

Over the past year, I’ve been drawn to the use of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for a broken heart. Intuitively I’ve understood that acupuncture helps a broken heart, but why? Recently I talked about this with my own acupuncturist geek, Eric Mallory. Eric is an acupuncturist, a medical doctor, and a naturopath. His primary evaluation method is pulse diagnostics; he mentored under a master pulse diagnostician for many years. When he takes your pulses it lasts so long and goes so deep that you kind of think he’s reading your mind. And maybe he is. 

The 4th chakra is the fulcrum, says Eric. It’s the landing place for the energy of the first three dense chakra energies. We store so much in the big 3. When you pull that energy up and through the 4th it switches gears and you expand into and through the 5th, 6th and 7th…into your heart, voice, guidance and universal expansion. If the heart is blocked, it’s difficult to get the energy to move. Dis-ease is the result. 

Andrea and I drifted into a more scientific and personal talk about exactly HOW to create more happiness in our own lives. Explored a few options we were each considering. I’m finally taking ukulele lessons. I know 4 chords and can play half a song. I’m booking gigs this summer; message me if you have a wedding coming up or whatever. Andrea is refining who gets her time when she’s depleted. Separately we’d each been playing with structured dinner party ideas, and we played around with those for a while. We both felt percolated. 

Still remembering her newly departed friend, Andrea later sent me the link to his appearance on This American Life. “You’re in for a treat,” she said. The story was titled “When Worlds Collide”. At a computer convention where he was slated to roast Steve Jobs, John Perry saw a woman in the central hallway. He thought she was with his group. She thought he was with hers—a convention of psychiatrists. They stared at one another for 45 long seconds. “Wow. You’re something,” he said. “So are you,” she said.

“I didn’t believe in love at first sight,” John Perry told a giggling Ira Glass in the story. "Then it happened to me. I met the other half of my soul." They moved in together a week later. They are glowing in this picture from their first date. 

I didn’t know, when Andrea sent me link, what the TAL story was about. It was on an episode about conventions. The arc of the story was so unexpected that my breath caught in my throat as I listened while folding laundry. I could feel all the emotions bubbling up in me, those old new familiar feelings of being alive, available to experiences, inspired, effervescent, vulnerable. I already knew how it ended, and that didn’t dim the light of it one bit. I stared at the speaker drinking in every wonderful word. Wow, I thought. 


We are here to live our hearts’ desires. We are here to remember and remember to do the work to balance and rebalance ourselves so that we are alive and available to what can be born in us at any given moment. At any moment we give ourselves

Living so fully alive calls for bravery, but the bravery is not what we think. It is not about opening up to another person and asking them to be the rest of us, or understand our wounds. It is about doing the strength training to pull that energy up through the lower 3 chakras through that fulcrum so that we can be alive, balanced, whole and connected with the field of stars that is our Source and contains our true purpose. We are enough. We heal ourselves. 

Early this morning I listened to a meditation titled “I would like to give you permission.” 

"I would like to give you permission to come out from hiding, to be here, taking care of your own self, your own heart,” says the teacher.

Let this Valentines week be a time of reunion with the you that you sometimes forget you are. "The tender heart inside of you. The you that came into the world completely unembarrassed, ferociously wild and unencumbered, sensitive as skin, wise and wide-eyed. The YOU you comfortingly return home to when everyone has left." Be fiercely aware of this you this week. You are allowed to be loyal to this you. You find freedom in being this you. Being in this intrinsic freedom you remain your wholeness. 

We are all love stories. We are all love, and stories. Love the one you’re with.