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Born in San Francisco in 1952 to the son of Irish Catholic immigrants and the daughter of silent movie actors, Jackie Madden Haugh was the only girl surrounded by three brothers. With a life filled with loud noises and testosterone, she found herself often hiding in her room, complete with a journal in hand. Years later, those journals would lead to her first memoir, My Life in a Tutu. As the mother of four, she often reflects on their life together in her monthly column for the local newspaper, The Los Altos Town Crier. Jackie loves writing in memoir. It is her opinion, "why make up stuff when your own life is fascinating."
As I motioned to my class to gather around me in our room at the El Camino YMCA, fifteen tiny dancers in fluffy pink tutus huddled into a tight circle. “Okay, girls,” I said happily. “I have a secret to tell you!” Gluing their little four- and five-year-old shoulders side by side, faces brightly smiling, they waited in anticipation for my top-secret announcement. Usually my proclamations come with a sucker or some other treat for a job well done. But today's surprise, in my opinion, was extra special. “What's the secret?” I heard in unison, their precious faces close to mine. But just as I was about to unveil my news, one little munchkin by the name of Bebe, with her all-knowing eyes, jumped up and down and shouted, “I know what it is!” “You do?” I giggled. I was sure she had no clue, for secrets are always my forte. “Yep!” she beamed, her nose now against mine. “The secret is you love us!” For a moment, the room stood still, and my heart began to swell. The innocence of her insight was not only precious, but she was spot on with what I was about to say. “You're right!” I shouted, patting her cheek. “That's the secret! I love all of you! And don't you ever forget it.” As the joy only children find in the simplest of moments grew, they gathered even closer for a group hug before running off to their mommies waiting to take them home. And I was left with a precious memory to warm my soul. Long ago, I read the book The Secret, which is based on the idea that abundance arrives from the law of attraction—what we think, we attract. Our minds are magnets for all that is good and all that's bad. Looking for ways to appreciate the gifts that come with each day, I've read everything on this subject to keep me on the path to my life's riches. But in that moment of pure childish innocence, I realized I just discovered the foundation for the true law of attraction. While it's nice to think we can control the outcome of our lives with just our minds, the reality is our poor little brains get sidetracked with fear, expectation, and disappointment. Staying positive is a beautiful concept, but it can also be exhausting when the return appears to take forever. There will always be pain, sorrow, and dark days. It's just how life goes. When we fall down that rabbit hole of woe-is-me, remaining optimistic feels like a losing battle, and negativity creeps back in discoloring everything, even the possible good. Gathering angel Bebe into my arms to congratulate her on knowing my secret, I saw that the abundance in my life might not come from my brain working overtime to stay positive, but from the life source beating within—my heart. When I become brave enough to give my love openly, without expectations, the return is always overwhelming because I've allowed myself to communicate on the most intimate of levels. Just after releasing the babies to their families, another whimsical cherub named Nora ran back with her four-year-old enthusiasm and whispered, “Can I tell Mommy the secret?” Cupping her sweet face into my hands, I kissed her cheek and answered, “Yes, you can tell anyone you want. In fact, you can tell the world.” For love, in my opinion, is the key to true happiness, fulfillment, and ultimately abundance. When you love openly, your life can't help but flow positively, and that should never be kept a secret.