CoBe: (STILL) Opening Hearts and Changing Lives

This colorful, charismatic character is Cody, one of the most important people to influence my world and being in this lifetime. We met through the mail in late 1998. He was on the tail end of his fifth (and final) sentence in the CA Department of Corrections. I had been living in Japan for 15 years already, having moved there right after my college graduation. Somehow I knew almost immediately that destiny was calling me and on April 1st, 1999, only four months into the correspondence, I got on a plane at Tokyo’s Narita international airport with only a backpack, $200, NO experience living in the US as an adult, and an absolute unshakable faith in my path and the power of Grace guiding me, and left Japan behind to allow the next chapter of my story to unfold and be written.

I coined the acronym CoBe even before I left Japan. I wanted a name that represented what I hoped we would be and accomplish together, as two separate individuals with a shared life purpose. I in no way was putting him first in the relationship but let’s face it, “BeCo” sounded more like an unappetizing Mexican dish than a transformationally powerful couple, so CoBe it was.

For 39 months I went as often as four times a week to the prison visiting room, where we learned a tremendous amount about each other. I also grew to know and love a lot of the other inmates; welcoming them into my heart with an openness that few of them had ever experienced before.

When Cody was paroled and we left the prison walls behind in 2002, we also left a legacy of hope and light that I’m sure still shines brightly to this day.

Cody’s first parole officer was a hardened marine named Monsanto who had been further detached from his humanity by too many years of the vicious cycle of cat and mouse within the system. We met him the day after I picked Cody up and had I not been present at this meeting, Monsanto unquestionably would have used Cody’s jacket (criminal history on paper) to wipe his ass and flushed it and Cody down the proverbial toilet. But my naive, unconditionally loving presence stopped him in his tracks and he allowed himself to be touched in a way that he never had before. Three months in we were transferred to a new parole officer because Monsanto was not in the jurisdiction of Santa Clara county where we had settled. But he came to see us where we were living before the change of hands, marveled at the sheer creativity of the way we were beginning to make a living for ourselves, shook Cody’s hand in parting, and looked him in the eye man to man.  And I knew absolutely that he would never again allow himself to form a judgement about a parolee from what was written on paper.

The new PO was a hardened female officer named Lerma. We won her over at the first home visit when she showed up at 7:00 AM unannounced and we answered the door to our little old motor home (purchased for $1500 on borrowed money in order to get out from under the cost of living in a motel) wearing the matching flannel moose pajamas we’d gotten at KMart the day prior. Lerma was our champion throughout the remainder of the required three years and a few months before Cody was officially let off parole, she removed herself from his case without a word to us. I understood that the professional in her could not permit her to travel with us to the end and get emotional.

We saved $100,000 and moved to Arizona in 2006 and the magic and Grace that had brought us together continued for another 5 years when again, destiny came knocking and I won the 2011 American Batik Design Competition. As one of the first-place winners, I was awarded a three-week tour of some of Indonesia’s most prominent batik and fashion centers and for the first time in ten years since he’d been paroled, Cody and I were separated. All of the unacknowledged, unexamined pain from his past, began to surface in the form of his original wound terror (and pattern) of being abandoned, and he went into full self-preservation/destructive mode that resulted in a major and permanent change in our relationship. He needed to stop running away from himSelf and I needed to stop trying to rescue him, and thus he moved out and a new dance began.

Fast forward ten years now and I’m happy and proud to report that – although I’m sure that everyone who knew our story hoped that we’d ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, Cody and I are beginning to enjoy a level of genuinely and mutually respectful communication and sharing that we never really achieved in all the years we lived together. He came up to see me yesterday and is pictured here proudly wearing his new URABE Spirit Art T-shirt, the fruit of too many seeds to count that he and I planted over the years together. He remains my biggest fan and champion as I move forward into the next chapter of my life and story, with the launch of the URABE brand officially underway and out there on the global stage. And I am moved beyond tears with each story he shares with me about what, and more importantly, HOW, he is doing in his own life now that he has finally truly begun to embrace and honor the totality of his life experience and being.

I am very happy and comfortable living alone so for the romantics out there who would still hope for a full circle ending to our story, I really don’t think that’s in our future. But who knows and I don’t even try to wager a guess anymore.  What I DO know is that a lot of miracles and magic lie ahead for CoBe now that both of us are stepping into our full power and taking responsibility for our respective lives and choices therein.

How to make sense of it all? Perhaps Rainer Maria Rilke said it best. Although I am usually loath to quote other people, these words from Rilke have supported me for decades and so I will leave you with them for now, until the next chapter of CoBe is ready to be written.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.


Elizabeth Urabe
Elizabeth Urabe
As an artist, Elizabeth R. Urabe has always only had one goal: to translate the invisible energies of Absolute Truth into tangible form using abstract design, color, and poetic imagery, so that an ever-increasing number of people might have more direct access to the inner realms of human existence. In early 1995, with no art training whatsoever, she began spontaneously to draw the pictures now known as Urabe Spirit Art and to date has channeled more than 750 designs, each one perfect, whole, and complete, exactly as it is. No thought is ever involved in the birthing process and Elizabeth has always referred to her role as that of a "spiritual midwife" rather than the creator of this extraordinary body of work. And remarkably, despite incredible complexity of design and detail, no single picture has ever taken longer than one week to complete. In 2011, intuitively entering a picture birthed in 1995 titled Divine Unity, Elizabeth was one of three first-place winners of the unprecedented American Batik Design Competition, organized by (then) the Ambassador to the US from the Indonesian embassy in Washington DC, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal. As a result, she was awarded a three-week tour of some of the most prominent batik and fashion companies in Indonesia and now has contacts in Jakarta who have created breathtakingly beautiful silk shawls for ladies and one of a kind original shirts for men; each piece endowed with the living 4000-year-old history of Indonesia's perfected batik techniques and the essence of Urabe Spirit Art as both the energetic and design inspiration. Early in 2016, in answer to the global craze for coloring books, Elizabeth rose to the challenge and in a matter of months, self-published four books; three coloring books for adults, each with original art and contemplative poetry, and a highly interactive book for adults and children to engage in together. The first adult book, Color Me Freedom, was immediately rendered fully into German, and there are French, Spanish, and Russian versions available with the translations of the Artist Introduction and dedication pages. A full Arabic language translation is also soon to be released. With these books, Elizabeth has taken the very essence of her art and offered it in a compact, affordable and interactive format that is especially attractive at this time, when global challenges are both accelerating and intensifying and the need for awakening, healing, and transformational reintegration is more imperative than ever. In Elizabeth's words: " Urabe Spirit Art, in whatever myriad forms it may take, is one of the most powerful reflections of Source energies available to us at this point in the evolution of Consciousness. We are at a crossroads where the fate of our planet and life as we know it may very well depend on the willingness of each individual to embrace the entire spectrum of human emotion and commit to the kind of transformation that only real spiritual growth can offer. There is no longer any middle ground and as long as we (still) believe that Love has an opposite, we are (still) living in fear." It is time for us to say an unequivocal yes to destiny and to take our rightful places as warriors of the Spirit. Let us join in this pure and noble vision, knowing that - together - there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

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