The Power of Living Fully

Perhaps it’s because the San Francisco public-school year has just started, and we’re nearing the beginning of autumn, that I found myself thinking about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo recently. Images of Frida Kahlo and her work are often in abundance in the fall, especially around the time of Day of the Dead celebrations.

Frida Kahlo lived in the first half of the 20th century, and is known both for her tumultuous relationship with her husband Diego Rivera, who was also a painter and whose fame eclipsed hers during her lifetime; and for her own paintings, which often testify to the incredible emotional and physical pain she suffered.

While Frida may not be the most positive role model we can find, she is worth learning about because of her intense will to live fully — and to express herself fully. Whatever Frida was — and she was a kaleidoscope of qualities — she was always, completely and authentically, Frida.

A movie depicting her life came out several years ago, and it illustrated the colorful and fanciful nature of her world. Watching that movie, or reading about Frida’s life, we can look at our own. Are our worlds as colorful as they could be? Are we bold enough to be completely and authentically who we are?

May we remember — this fall, and always — to let ourselves shine. May we delight in the exploration of all the colors in our palette. May we allow ourselves to be fully and authentically who we are — may we be the heroes of our own story.

—Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon

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