Yesterday was a difficult day. I felt trapped by my circumstances and unable to see the bigger picture. I felt like I needed to cry but the tears were stuck somewhere deep inside. I asked God to open my eyes and my heart, but only after I had taken matters into my own hands.
I’m one of those people who often needs a catalyst for tears, crying is not easy for me because I am not always able to connect with my emotions. If I need to cry, sometimes I have to set the stage for it with things like wine and a sad movie. And even that isn’t always easy because there are not very many movies that have the power to bring on the real tears for me. I have a few that I can always count on like The Color Purple. Specifically the end of The Color Purple. Every time I see the scene where Celie is reunited with her children, it brings on shaking sobs.
Last night I drank a fair amount of shiraz and decided to watch the final episode of Lost, which I have on dvd. There is something about that show that reminds me that everything that happens to us in life is both important and not important at the same time. And ultimately, the message I get from the final episode is that when it’s all said and done, the events are just details, what really matters is the people we connect with and the love we share while we’re on this earth.
As I was having realizations about the people who are and have been a part of my life and all the gifts they have brought, the tears started coming. I knew this was the shift in perspective I needed to get out of the pit of despair I had crawled into. As my heart began to open I asked God to help me see and feel the truth.
That’s how it is for me, I have to feel the truth because I am an empath. But when I get bogged down and stuck in life’s minutiae, I can’t feel my own feelings, let alone those of anyone else. At those times the only thing I can usually feel is a self-centered anxiety.
I feel a huge sense of gratitude for the people I have shared love with. Even though I am currently without my soul mate, there is and always has been a lot of love in my life. I truly believe anyone who wants to have more love in their life needs to find more opportunities to give it with no strings attached, no conditions.
There is a risk involved in having an open heart, but the alternative is so bleak that to me it’s not even worthy of consideration. I know this from experience because I lived most of my life closed off from love out of fear of being hurt and general mistrust of people. Then I took a risk and really let someone in and guess what? I was badly hurt. Badly enough to make me consider never opening my heart to anyone again. But I chose to remain open. And not for the reasons one might think.
The reason I have chosen to have an open and therefore vulnerable heart is that to do so is to offer the most valuable asset I have to the entire world, unconditionally. Keeping it to myself diminishes it; the only way to really experience it myself is to give it away. I am not going to attempt to hoard love waiting for a romantic partner upon whom to bestow it. Everybody needs love and everybody deserves love and I am going to do my best to share what I have with anyone who needs it. If and when my soul mate arrives, I will have plenty of love in my heart for him. The supply is endless.
Last night while I was contemplating this, I asked God to help me put it all in perspective. Moments later I read on Facebook that a friend had to put his beloved cat to sleep. I felt real pain at learning this and had so much compassion for my friend that I cried for his loss. Earlier in the day one of the few friends I have known most of my life told me that his dad was not doing well and that he was going to say his goodbyes. As I was crying about the cat I wondered about my friend’s visit with his dad. Within minutes I received a text message from my friend telling me his dad had passed away. This was big for me because when I was a teenager I spent as much time at this friend’s house as I did my own and his parents were like second parents to me. I called my friend and cried with him over the phone. I want these people to know that what they are going through matters to me because I care about them.
What I realized is that it’s all a big deal, everything that happens, and yet, in the end, none of it will matter. The cat is important, my personal struggles are important, my friend’s dad is important, but it’s the feelings that are important, not the events themselves. I never want to stop being the person who will cry over a cat that I never even met. I want to feel compassion, it’s what makes me human.
The most interesting part of last night is that I feel like in having compassion for my friends, I healed what was bothering me. I felt like nobody cared and nobody understood what I am going through. Now I know that is not true, but more importantly, I know it doesn’t even matter. What matters is my ability to understand and have compassion for others because that is where my own healing will come from.
Here’s what I think. Love is a risk, but when you really think about it, nobody can steal from you what you give freely and willingly, so having an open heart means nobody can ever really take advantage. With it also comes the freedom to love unconditionally and show compassion to everyone. And that is the greatest gift we humans can give or receive.