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  • Writer's pictureMaya Kollman

Thank you, sweet woman, for the adventure of a lifetime.

Maya celebrated her 71st birthday last month. Barbara posted something she had written decades ago when Maya was President of the Association of Imago Relationship Therapists and presented Barbara with the PUP (Putting Up with the President) award.

Written by Barbara in 1996:

At the conference I was unexpectedly given the “Putting Up with the President” award (the PUP award), a loving a humorous acknowledgement of my supportive partnership of Maya Kollman during her two years as AIRT President. About all I managed to say was I thought the award should be renamed the LIL award, for Lucky in Love; I was so brain scrambled that I didn’t say why I feel so fortunate to have a life with Maya! I’d like to publicly acknowledge both Maya and some of those reasons here.

  • I am lucky because Maya makes me feel unconditionally loved all the time. She consistently affirms, compliments and appreciates both who I am, and what I do. I gratefully acknowledge the deep healing this has brought to me.

  • I am lucky because she delivers the messages I need to hear in a way I need to hear them.

  • I am lucky to be on the receiving end of her amazing gaze.

  • I am lucky she loves to drive and I don’t.

  • I am lucky because her silly sense of humor can shift my worst mood.

  • I am lucky because she totally embraces my children as her own.

  • I am lucky because Maya continually encourages me to join fully with her teaching of Imago. There is never a hint of competition, only delight in each forward step I am willing to take.

  • I am lucky because she is openly expressive and vulnerable. Her willingness to be human allows me to do the same.

  • I am lucky because she lives with an open nonjudgmental heart, a stance that makes everyday life free and full of possibility.

  • I am lucky because life with Maya includes her incredible family.

  • I am lucky because she has provided for all of us so well, for so long, without complaint.

  • I am lucky to have the benefit of her smart, agile, and perceptive mind. She has deep, clear wisdom that often reveals just what I need to know.

  • I am lucky because her genuine interest and curiosity about peopled draws wonderful individuals into my life.

Three years ago a Great Blue Heron threaded through the woods surrounding our backyard pond, landing at the edge I watched as the bird stood quietly, observing and waiting for food. After a day, I sensed a lack of movement meant a lack of heath, yet I did nothing. On the 3rd day the bird was dead. I felt responsible and sad.

In the guided imagery at one of our couples’ workshops shortly before Maya became President, the animal that came to me was a Great Blue Heron. The question I was asked was, “What do I need to know to be helpful to her?” The reply was “Just let her fly in her full magnificence.”

I almost always see the heron and hear the message when I see Maya; sometimes I experience her sitting in stillness, observing with astounding focus; sometimes I experience her crashing through the leaves and branches as she tries to get where she is going; sometimes I experience her as soaring, in a zone, seeing way beyond what I can see. Always I am, grateful for the enduring gift of having her to love and of having her love me.

Perhaps the greatest gift Maya gives me is a continual reminder that, as the Great Blue Heron, she, and I, and all of us, are by turn, gracefully awkward and awkwardly graceful. May all of us let our beloveds fly in their full magnificence.

Thank you, sweet woman, for the adventure of a lifetime.

Maya and Barbara have been together for 39 1/2 years. They credit the Imago principles too much of their success in sustaining this loving and collaborative relationship.

Discover the tools of Imago in a LBGT Getting the Love You Want Workshop

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