The Greatest Love

It is so deeply sad to watch the shocking irony of people as gifted as Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston make decisions that result in an endless battle that ultimately ends their lives.  Tragedies that seems from the outside as if it they could have been avoided.  Yet from the inside they are daunting battles against demons and vices we cannot even begin to fathom.

Since I found out about Whitney’s death yesterday, I’ve been reflecting on how her struggle, although shocking on the surface, is deeply familiar.  It is so frustrating to watch others choose destructive habits over life.  It’s easy to judge and use words like “senseless” and “needless” to describe their destructive decisions and question “Why would someone choose to destroy their lives when they have so much to live for?”  Yet, maybe not as overt and dramatic, most of us have destructive habits we choose over life, dysfunction over peace and sickness over health.  The public watches in endless fascination as Amy, Whitney, and other public figures’ lives unravel in destructive patterns.  Perhaps the fact that we all share this struggle on some level is the root of our fascination with watching celebrities grapple publicly with their own struggles.

It may not be drugs or alcoholism but almost every life has its paradoxical demons and destructive habits to overcome.  These are the struggles that prevent us from truly living and appreciating all the gifts, talents and beauty in our lives.  These struggles in ourselves might seem easy to overcome from the outside, but are deeply complicated and confusing on the inside.  And so, repeatedly, we choose to submit to their power over us rather than to confront and dissolve them and then judge those similar struggles when we witness them in others.

It all comes down to this elusive and enigmatic but perhaps the simplest challenge in life…. In Whitney’s words “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”  It seems so simple and obvious but can be so difficult.

So, to honor of all the lives, celebrity or not, that have ended too soon due to these struggles with destructive habits, I think we should all try to look deep within ourselves, at the subtle or overt demons that are preventing us from truly living and expressing our talents and gifts.  With a deep breath of awareness, acceptance, forgiveness and self love, let’s all work to expel these demons and promise ourselves to choose life over death, health over sickness, peace over dysfunction, love for one’s self over the habits that prevent us from truly living…. and to have empathy towards others as they work towards this state of peace within themselves.