Have you ever wrapped a blanket around the shoulders of a homeless man? Have you ever stopped at a fast food place and bought a bag of food and placed it in the hands of a hungry person? Have you ever given a down-and-out person anything besides your money? Have you ever given a homeless person anything?
Now that the Winter Solstice is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to return to the light and allow it to be amplified. It’s time to open ourselves to the vulnerability of recognizing suffering in another human being and asking “what I can do about that?”
If you’ve never cried tears for someone else’s suffering, or been touched by the plight of another, or really felt in your deepest core the truth of the statement, “There but for the grace of God go I ….or my son or my daughter or my brother or my sister..” then you must ask yourself, where is your heart hiding?
We understand the desire of a hurting heart to hide. But that’s not what we’re here for with all the rest of everybody on the planet.
Look, they don’t call us bleeding heart liberals for nothing. I know that’s kind of a wise-ass thing to say …and it’s the truth. I would rather be sitting in my car crying real tears for the homeless man on the corner, sitting in a wheelchair trying to wrap himself in a too-small, raggedy blanket, than not have my heart broken by that.
What you do about it when your heart is broken open and your face is wet with tears, is totally and completely up to you. That’s something that your heart and soul will direct you to with laser clarity. You don’t have to ponder, you know exactly what to do. Then of course the question becomes will you go out of your way and take the time to actually do it?
And then again, what if it’s not a homeless person, a stranger? What if it’s someone you know? Maybe someone that you had a falling out with who is in trouble, suffering lost? Will you have something to offer out of the kindness of your heart?
A heart broken open is a human being’s highest treasure in my opinion. But the feeling, the tears, they’re just a message. The real question is how will you take that message into action? How will you manifest your empathy, your compassion into actual behavior in the real world? How will you take the risk even, that you might get rebuffed for your kindness and generosity? That’s always a possibility.
In the end it all boils down to vulnerability and risk-taking, no matter which way you look at it.
Defenses are just that, humans trying to defend themselves against inevitable loss, pain and suffering. Fact of the matter is, there is no defense against loss, pain and suffering. That’s life. The excruciating feelings won’t kill you, although plenty of us act like we believe it will, to the extent that we run like hell from the feelings. On the other hand, not acknowledging the feelings ? Now, that has the potential to kill you in very real ways because everything you feel or refuse to feel reverberates in every cell of your body causing either radiant health or deadly dis-ease… And everything in between.
New solstice, new energy, time to release everything that doesn’t serve and embrace everything that enhances your life. Whatcha going to do with it? The worst that can happen is you get rejected and and have more loss, pain and suffering….. On the other hand you might accidentally run into some happy moments.
A very wise line from a book I read decades ago says it best: “Take a chance on getting slapped, you might get kissed.” And anyway the world is in desperate need of your loving kindness, and so am I, and so is your own heart.
Some beautiful friends and I are exploring our Shadows as a way of healing the world’s collective Shadow and as always, recognizing our fears, our vulnerabilities, and being kind anyway, is the path to healing. Not denial of the shadow feelings, but acknowledging, expressing when necessary to allow energy to be released, and then returning to the best version of ourselves.
It’s a Loving Kindness Movement we’re after….to do nothing less than change the world, one of us at a time.
As always, I hope you SPARKLE!
Janice Masters, The Shaman Mama
*Image: Ambi-Doodle art by Janice Masters