I remember my first personal interaction with Bernie in 1990 at a People Forever event here in Scottsdale. At that time there were over a thousand people that attended from all over the world and I had come with about 120 others from Germany to join. Bernie was one of the leaders then as she is now being co-owner of People Unlimited. In the midst of these 1,000 people I remember having an intimate moment with her. After one of the evening events, I remember standing with Bernie, looking into her eyes. I remember her touching my hand and talking to me intently. I don’t remember the words but I remember that they were full of encouragement. Encouragement that I could go for what I truly feel and that I can have what I want. But there was something else beyond encouragement that made that moment so touching. It was a magic moment where her look into my eyes and her touching my hand wiped all my pain away. Pain that I didn’t even remember having. Pain from separation from boyfriends I really loved. Pain from being German knowing what Germans had done to other human beings only 50 years earlier. I hadn’t done these things, in fact I hadn’t even been born, but just by being German I felt I was responsible somehow and I felt pain just for the fact that so horrible things had been done, some of them by my own family. Pain from always wanting to be close to my friends in a way that they didn’t feel. Pain from feeling estranged from my parents. All that pain was wiped away just by Bernie’s look into my eyes, touch of my hand and her words that I could feel all over my body. At that moment I felt an ease that I had never felt before. I felt I could have the closeness I always wanted with people. And if I could never have it with anyone I knew there was at least one person – Bernie – with whom I experience this intimacy right there and I knew it would last forever. I had never felt that before with anyone. I felt I could be close and intimate without separation. This was what I wanted but I had never been able to experience it. I had given up and shut down these longings.
Now – 24 years later – no longer living in Germany but living here in Scottsdale with my People Unlimited community – I had this moment again tonight….I was so privileged to listen to Bernie speak about the touch we can give to each other that makes us feel whole and helps wipe away all pains. How we can be this touch for each other. For me it’s no longer just a single moment happening once in a while, I am now privileged to experience these moments every day. I am privileged now to live among 120 people who – as part of People Unlimited – are dedicated to build each other and touch each other’s soul. Check us out at PeopleUnlimitedInc.com.