During our October 2010 trip we toured Doris Duke’s estate on the other side of Diamond Head which she called Shangri-La. It is a fantastic place filled with beauty! It has the feeling of being a coherent whole which comes from Doris’ intent to have it be a reflection of her love for all things Moorish. But I came away from that visit wondering about the woman who had created the place. From everything that I have read it seems that she was profoundly unhappy despite her massive wealth! She went through several marriages to men who married not herself but her money. Everyone it seems wanted something from her. She must have wondered at times without the money if Doris Duke really had any worth!
In what do we find our worth? In relationships? In drugs? In sports? In hobbies? Too often we look outside ourselves for confirmation that the world finds it good that we exist and that we are worth something! In order to know our own worth we must stop running away from ourselves. We have to learn to sit and be present to the self without music, without distractions or jumping up to attend to the tasks which suddenly come to mind. All of these are temptations to pull us away from knowing ourselves! When we can finally be at home with our own heart and no longer look for validation outside of that heart then we know our worth! Then we can feel safe enough to be happy.
There is a wonderful movie about Doris Duke’s life entitled “Bernard and Doris”. The movie shows the various ways in which Doris tried to find happiness, tried to figure out what happiness actually is. Bernard first comes to work for her as her butler but eventually becomes the keeper of her heart’s happiness and is the one who seems to have loved her just for herself. At one point in the movie Doris even asks Bernard, “What do you want from me?” Poor Doris! So rich and yet her heart was so impoverished! Everyone wanted something from her but no one wanted her. Except for Bernard. We all yearn for our Bernard, the one who will let us know that it is all okay, that we are okay, that we truly are worth something. If we turn inward we will discover that he is there within and waiting to serve us! (click any photo for larger)