Open heart

There are those moments when we are facing particularly critical or difficult times that something shifts inside us, something gives way and we become at some level united with the world around us. Our hearts wide open, fully receptive in our complete vulnerability. Some might call it an altered state of consciousness, others may call it brief glimpses of enlightenment. Whatever it is, it feels blissful, sweet and tender. It warms our heart and makes us feel fully connected with all that is.

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One day before going in hospital for a critical  operation, scared out of my wits, we went to the restaurant with my late husband to have something to eat. We sat on the outdoor patio close to the pavement. As we were waiting to be served, this little Gypsy girl – not more than 8 or 9 years old- approached us. Her eyes had locked into mine from the moment I first saw her walking on the street. She walked straight to me, stopped for a brief moment - all the while looking at me straight in the eyes - saying nothing, then bend over and gave me a kiss and a little flower she was holding.

A cynic might have thought “Nice touch!”  for her begging technique. Certainly that was what the restaurant owner must have thought as he quickly chased her away. Yet for me at that very moment whether that kiss was real or fake, spontaneous or calculated didn’t matter in the least. The eye communication without uttering a word, our little intimate conversation between souls,  is what I chose to perceive it as. I didn’t care if she did it to gain some money. What counted for me at that moment was what I felt and that had been a brief, beautiful moment of openness and bliss.

A brief moment that filled my heart with warmth and peace, that stopped my mind in its tracks from all the gruesome thoughts, the fear, the sadness, the desperation. It felt like time stopped for a little while and the sun shone brighter and warmer. The gentle breeze felt like a tender caress on my body, the scents of Spring all around me emanated strong and sweet. I felt a blissful, warm buzz all over and inside the depths of my core.

Am not saying it is OK to fool ourselves, to live in illusion and delusion. All am saying is that there are certain moments and circumstances in life where we can take things either way. It is not the actual event that matters so much but the way we choose to perceive it. In times of extreme hardship or difficulty we are indeed exceptionally vulnerable. We are in so much need for comfort and relief that we may easily fall prey to predators out there.

Having said that we may still be able to enjoy the beauty of life and love and turn it to our advantage, to feed our souls and then gently let go. No expectations, no hopes, no judgment. Simply experience and enjoy, be fully in the moment. When engaged in the present moment and in experiencing yet observant mode, there is little space for lies and falsity. 

I knew the little girl was out for money, I knew her mother was probably lurking somewhere around. I also knew that our gaze did lock for a few brief moments in a soulful communication. That the innocent child inside her did feel it too. I did feel her brief hesitation before she kissed me,  one part of her which knew she was doing something wrong and her other part that was still innocent and pure, spontaneous and playful. Yet I chose to allow my heart to remain fully  open, to feel everything as deeply as could be, to bask in the comfort and relief of that blessed, heart warming moment. 

Such moments do not come by very often. We need the contrast of life and the threat of death to be at work for them to happen. It is then that time stops and the doors of the soul open. When we can experience the beauty of our world ever so intensely and feel soothingly enveloped in it while at the same time being in a blissful state of awe. It is a most delightful and sacred ‘high’. One that helps us feel connected, part of everything that exists. Feeling as being one with the world.

I came out of surgery having survived the risk of hemorrhage. The pain came a few hours later and it was excruciating. I felt drowsy and confused, bewildered and exhausted. The epidural pain relief didn’t work, the needle would slip out, the night shift anesthetist got fed up, they knocked me out with oral pain medications. The next week in hospital was a daze of pain, exhaustion and the will to heal and get out. I just wanted to get out and feel the sun on my skin, the fragrant Spring breeze in my hair. The reassurance of home, the familiar, the known, my family.

I remembered the little Gypsy girl, felt grateful and thrilled to be alive. The rehabilitation was tough, the pain lasted a long while, no pain killers. It was hard to walk, took it step by step a day at a time. At first indoors, then outside enjoying the sunshine and the flowers, the coolness of the shade of the trees, the freshness of the grass. My heart was wide open to the beauty all around me, to a soft spoken word, a gentle touch, a smile, a laughter, an arm to rest on, my dog’s wet nose. Life is good and what we make it to be.