Open : Heart :

Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you-

Throughout our live(s) we have been led to believe that giving outweighs receiving. During the Christmas/Holiday/Festivus season, the humble “art” of giving serves as a counterbalance to society(s) increasing narcissism and isolation. Witnessing what others need to be happy requires compassion and kindness, your head to be up, eyes forward, heart open As I walk along Regent Street, I asked myself – aloud– waiting to cross Lensfield road, a rather simple question walking to class yesterday afternoon:

Can we openly allow ourselves to be nourished by a strangers kindness? If so, how deeply do we let it in?

Weaving through the arriviste crowd onto Hills Road, I turn a corner. Life goes on.

I love going on lazy walks (especially when its 60°F in December), and as strange and awkward as it may seem (those of you who know my true shy nature) I really enjoy sharing a smile, or a “good afternoon” to those passing along in the opposite direction. In Cambridge, when I pass along a favor of stepping aside for another cyclist, the hammering of their affectionately adorned brass cycling bell, ringing in my ears When I smile and say “hello” to a group of walkers sauntering closer to me? I’m not sure if they feel awkward, shy, or are they simply not used to people sharing kindness?

Lost in the folds of these fleeting greetings, my awkwardness and whatever, the beauty of the gift slips out of their hands. This slight on their part, eats away at me, and my mind often travels to a dark area. Where each and every question I ask myself, diminishes my ability to share compassion and kindness. I feel guilty, I continue moving on with my head down. Life goes on.

Daily Meditation:

A salve for my loneliness, my increasing isolation walking to yoga class along Union Road? Is taking a moment to pause, to seek out more opportunities to share compassion and kindness when the odium comes flying in my general direction.

CultFit Frozen

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16 Comments on “Open : Heart :”

  1. mishedup says:

    I thought I’d pass this on…
    this has been a new practice for me and I love it…
    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/street-lovingkindness-video-series/

  2. katelon says:

    I usually say hello, good morning, etc. to people I pass during my walks and increasingly, it seems many people ignore me and don’t respond. I try to let it bother my heart, but it does.

    I follow a blog written by an autistic man and he and the other bloggers posts he re-blogs, talk of how shy people and autistic people don’t like interaction. So I understand. But I can’t believe all these people ignoring my greeting are autistic or shy.

    But I’m learning to just put out my greeting and let it go if there is no response. What saddens me most though is when I hold back my greetings more now as so many haven’t responded.

    • CultFit says:

      The last part of your kind comment is what has been happening to me of late, and needless to say it has been really bothering me, both of us actually 🙂
      Like you, I am continually trying to put forth kindness and compassion. Some days are better than others though, especially during this time of the festive, holiday season.

  3. So... says:

    Smile at people long enough and one day they have no choice but to accept it and respond in kind.
    I moved cities a few years ago and did not know anyone here. While dropping off my little one to her bus stop, I would pass the same people everyday. I’d feel a familiarity and start to smile and sometimes stop because they seemed to avoid it. It made me feel like a fool but then I decided that I would continue doing it because I felt alive. It’s taken a while but now I get a greeting and a smile in return.

  4. sittingpugs says:

    I used to keep my head down because I did not want to look at someone unless I did it on purpose (pretty hat, I like your hair, oooo nice jacket, is that a leaf in your hair). But since entering corporate America many years ago, I find that there are plenty of people who will be offended, deeply insulted if you do not return their greeting in the same manner. For instance, if Shelley smiled and said “hello” to me, he would be upset if I did not smile and say “hello” back. A smile and nod on my part would be woefully insufficient.

    And as a person who tends towards shyness, it wasn’t until I later got on this person’s good side (aka, they found me pretty funny) that I realized it doesn’t cost me anything to smile first…or say a “hello/hi/hey/how’s it going” if they say “hello/hi/hey/how’s it going” to me.

    I’m not afraid to nor feel self-conscious greeting strangers anymore.

    • CultFit says:

      It has taken me so long, highs – lows and all the messy bits in between, to pause and feel compassion towards myself first, before I can share this same compassion and kindness towards others.

      Your story has truly moved me this morning, and can you imagine what would happen if we were to cross paths on some busy street? These little acts have such an immense impact of our lives and our physical well being 🙂

  5. Maia says:

    There is something about your post that doesn’t quite sit well with me. Read it over and over and over… and perhaps you can offer light to an otherwise easily-flabbergasted-highstrung mind… …

    I can understand how it feels not being reciprocated. We’ve all felt that. But when you allow yourself to succumb to the odium because they did not greet you back?? Doesn’t that equate to YoU wanting something in return?? Kinda defeats the purpose of kindness and compassion for me when we expect reciprocation.

    So what when they fail to accept your graciousness? You move on to the next person and to the next. What matters is your intention of spreading kindness through your greetings, without as so much as a blink when they ignore you, us. Each person we come across with deals with life differently and that’s just the way it is. Your simple hello can spinball later on in their lives. They may remain oblivious towards your kindness now, but you are the trigger to something wonderful that can change in their lives later on.

    Am I wrong here?? You all seem to fall on the same page about feeling bad when un-greeted or whatever. Why do I see it differently?

  6. Confession: I speak often to living things/entities which cannot speak back – their vocal chords of some sort being absent to our limited human understanding. It refocuses me on the energy of the communication rather than the linguistics. I read earlier this Summer about how trees communicate with each other using fungus-based underground conduits. They form extensive communities. It reminds me that just because I cannot hear a thing speak does not mean it has no language. When I vibrate my little throat chords, it is the wind that passes through them – therefore every breath and word is part of the unseen wind. Wind that flies my unanswered hello’s onto the breeze and into the trees, a response given by the rustle of leaves.

    Your good will is never unanswered.

  7. Nice post. Thank you. I became known as the girl from Papua New Guinea because I talked to everyone that lives on our street. We have been here five years. Most of my neighbours, do not know each other and have lived in the same street for over 30-50 years. I was shocked to hear that. Some still ignore me, but I still wave and say hello. I get invited to many afternoon teas too..and have made new friends. They funniest thing is if I visit or pass, the ones that do not speak to each other are curios about each other. It makes me laugh.
    Offering warmth, no matter how humiliating it can be sometimes when it is not returned – is teaching and I believe there is always learning too).

    • CultFit says:

      My apologies for the late reply, no excuse, just deeply sorry. I have carried your kind words and thoughts close to my heart since I first read them. It has been hard here adjusting, trying to find my flow in this crazy town. Your comment and support has brought me warmth this winter – Thank you!

      • You are very welcome. It took me three years to almost adjust to life in Australia when we moved 11 years ago – a choice to educate my sons and keep as close to their father as I could, while we were breaking up. I nearly went back to Papua New Guinea several times. I never found that “warmth” in the people here, until I made my own friends/flow. Hugs to you. You will adjust. 🙂


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