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UP #84: Changing Perceptions, Changing Lives: Love At Second Sight With David Roche And Marlena Blavin

UP #84: Changing Perceptions, Changing Lives: Love at Second Sight with David Roche and Marlena Blavin

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” —Kahlil Gibran

Many of us know the expression, love at first sight. Whether we experience it with a partner, a friend, an animal, even a natural location, we feel it…we know it.

But what about love at second sight? How many of us discount someone, someplace, or something because we refuse to take a closer look?

It’s no secret that we live in an intolerant, judgmental culture. My belief is that most judgment and intolerance stems from a severed relationship with oneself. Underneath the hard shell of intolerance is a truckload of self loathing.

We all need to feel worthy: to be heard, to be seen, and to be loved. When these basic soul needs are unmet, we feel unsafe. When we feel unsafe, we often lash out. Self-sabotage, hurtful words, damaging behaviors, and mindless actions towards others are typical manifestations of unmet soul needs.

Our culture preys on this and seduces us with meaningless ways to fill the void. “Buy X and you will become Y”, we’re told. We consume. We conform. We give ourselves away. A quick hit of externally sourced self worth…only to feel more worthless in the end.

But what if we’ve always been Y, and X is just a distraction from our greatness?

You see, Y is very simple: be everything that you’re meant to be. Stop searching outside, claim yourself and shine. End of story.

Episode #84 is a powerful conversation with David Roach and Marlena Blavin, the co-creators of Love at Second Sight, an empowering story-based experiential school program that transforms attitudes about appearance, and encourages students to accept themselves and others. Love at Second Sight inspires tolerance, kindness, and compassion. It also empowers self-worth.

David Roche was born with a severe facial disfigurement. On the left side of his face is an extensive cavernous hemangioma, a benign tumor consisting of blood vessels. As a child, he underwent many facial surgeries and heavy radiation therapy which left radiation burns on his temple and eyelid. As David says, “Having a facial difference has taught me a valuable life lesson because I was forced to find my inner beauty. My passion is to share my experiences and inspire people, especially kids, to appreciate what is unique in themselves and others.”

David clearly shows us that beauty is an inside job.

Marlena Blavin is David’s wife. Marlena’s first reaction to David’s appearance was revulsion, but there was something much deeper that inspired their eventual relationship: something well beyond the physical appearance that culturally, we get so hung up on. Marlena’s story is one of following her heart by connecting to David’s inner light. It’s a story of a dramatic perceptual shift…a story of love at second sight.

Marlena and David, through the power of their stories, are radically changing perceptions for thousands of children and adults throughout Canada and the US. This dynamic and passionate duo empowers participants of all ages to love themselves…exactly as they are.

This week, we dive into a powerful discussion about:

  • How our differences are our gifts.
  • How true beauty runs so much deeper than our physical body.
  • Confidence: Know it, grow it, and show it.
  • The importance of safety for self-worth.
  • How all social justice movements are connected.
  • How the more we talk about important issues and bring them out of the shadows, the more they disappear.
  • How perceptual shifts go well beyond our five senses.
  • What is soul safety?
  • How we all have a place where fear and shame reside. Dealing with that place keeps the predators away.
  • The beauty of passion!

David and Marlena show us that every one of us is beautiful and that we all matter. They show us that true beauty has little to do with what we see in the mirror and everything to do with what we don’t see in the mirror.


• Love at Second Sight Kickstarter Campaign website.
• Love at Second Sight website.
• David Roche’s personal website.
• Marlena Blavin’s personal website.

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As always, thank you for listening and thank you for helping to co-create a better world!

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