The Secret Sauce of The Collaborative Way©
We often say Acknowledgement and Appreciation is the secret sauce of The Collaborative Way©, and it is amazing how powerful appreciation is. My wife Lynne and I practiced The Collaborative Way©, and I really did appreciate her and do appreciate her, and one day I noticed though that I had this little negative conversation going on about her, about how come she doesn’t look like this, or why doesn’t she do a little bit that way, or whatever. Just this little complaining, judgmental, not-happy conversation, and I noticed it, and I recognized it and said, “Whoa, Lloyd, help me understand. Is that a useful conversation to be engaged in?” And I had to say to myself, “No, I don’t think that’s actually helpful or forwarding.” And then I asked myself, “Well, then what would be?”
The Art of Appreciating Someone Exactly as They Are
And wow, in that moment, I had a real breakthrough regarding appreciation. What I saw was this possibility, and it’s the possibility of mastering the art of appreciating Lynne exactly as she is. What if I were to take on mastering the art of appreciating one other human being exactly as they are, and specifically Lynne? And I committed to that possibility. I committed to mastering the art of appreciating her. And what a journey, so powerful, so thankful I did. And it’s not that I never had those kind of thoughts come up again, but when they would arise, I would now recognize them for what they were: these thoughts. And they actually, in a strange way, became my ally in that they called me back to center in what I was up to–returned me to this commitment to appreciate Lynne exactly as she is.
And as it turned out, Lynne ended up having ovarian cancer, and it was definitely rough on her. You know, after initial surgery, in short order, she had this sack that developed where the fluid would come from her belly out into her skin, and it would protrude, and she lost a lot of weight and eventually, was extremely skinny. She would say, “I’m a starving refugee.” And she lost most of her hair at different times. And yet, when I looked at her, what I saw and how she occurred for me, is just this beautiful radiant being. The way energy came out of her, the way she carried herself, the grace with which she met what she was dealing with–she was unbelievably beautiful. And I’ll never forget the day–she was towards the end of her life, and she was confined to her hospital bed that we had in our bedroom. And I came over to her, and we were talking, and I leaned down and was just looking into her eyes and her forehead, and I was just taken away with her beauty. And I said, “Lynne, you are so beautiful.” And I saw these tears come down from her eyes, and she said to me, “Lloyd, that means so much to me. That means so much. Thank you.” Being able to appreciate her exactly as she is, as she was, what a journey we shared together, and how it contributed to me, and how it contributed to her.
Appreciation Provides an Opening for Love
And here I am, four and a half years, roughly, since Lynne passed, and I’m in a relationship with this wonderful woman, Debbie Wilson. Once again, extremely powerful, self-confident, self-reliant, strong woman, who I really appreciate. And at the same time, wow, it’s been a challenging journey of opening my heart again. Opening my heart to another woman has been very challenging for me, and an interesting thing happened–I noticed myself one day having a little of these kind of same kind of negative, complaining kind of conversations to myself about Debbie, and recognizing what immediately showed up for me was this possibility again, “Hey, Lloyd, why don’t you just take on this commitment to master the art of appreciating her?” And when I heard that–first, it just rattled me. It was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, boy. That’s a little much.” And then it came up again, and as I looked at it and started to stand in this–just even standing in this possibility of truly mastering the art of appreciating Debbie. And in doing so, more appreciation beginning to flow out of me towards Debbie. An amazing thing has happened–I find my heart also opening and love coming forward. Truly beautiful. And I realize that I don’t think I’ve adequately appreciated the power of appreciation, and that appreciation provides an opening for love.