“How do you keep an open heart from breaking every day?” she whispered sweetly from inside the cardboard box labeled Lost & Found that was sitting on my doorstep.
It was dark out, I could not see inside, but the peculiarity of that gentle voice emanating from within those four walls felt warm and familiar.
Her warmth radiated out from inside her little shelter. She needed me.
(I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming or not.)
I reached my hands slowly inside and felt for, for whatever was connected to that voice. That angelic sound, it was like the gentlest, saddest stroke of a harp combined with the sweet note of a chyme hanging in heaven that sang when invited by even the softest wind.
My fingers reached slowly in to find two warm pockets between her naked under arms and the delicate sides of her ribcage. I lifted her up as gently as I could.
As I held her, she kept her eyes closed and her head on my shoulder. She felt like a warm, soft pillow in my arms. She was weightless and she contorted right into the fibres of my being without any force, without even a hint of resistance.
As I walked her inside, she whispered, “I’ve been feeling fragile lately.”
Funny enough, I had noticed the sticker on the lid of her box that read, Fragile—handle with care.
I am a little lost. I am a little found. I stand looking at myself inside the box—hidden, broken, hurt and scared. I peer out at myself standing outside of the box—aware, grounded, unfearful, and steady. We are one.
As much as I am angry, hurt and heart-broken, I am also strong, courageous, forgiving and open to love, and… I am (we are) fragile, so please, handle with care.
. . .
How do you keep an open heart from breaking every day?
Here are ten tips from within and outside the box:
#1. Remember that you are a lantern, a flashlight, a watch tower in the dark. There is no need to react (ever) with fear or anger. You have the courage to reach inside the box. You have the courage to be held.
#2. Care for yourself. An open heart may suffer because you have moved it into dangerous territory. Not every situation requires your sacrifice. Certain types of giving move you too far from center.
#3. Remember the Universal laws of compassion—be and react with pure honesty but also non-violently and with a heart overflowing with forgiveness—like our friend Gandhi, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ add a sprinkle of that guy Jesus, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’.
#4. Sing and dance every day.
#5. Open up your heart to love beyond your imagination—make it a daily practice. Go beyond surface-level, default poisons (greed, anger, fear, delusion and yes, even ignorant bliss).
#6. Love Life itself, and all the experiences it contains. The pains, the cruelties, the joys and triumphs. They are all part of being alive. To love means loving indiscriminately. To love deeply means to expand.
#7. Move past the masterful illusory of the mind and its magnificent abilities to distract you from the present moment. Instead of living in a constant parallel universe of the angry past and the worried future, spend more time right here and now.
#8. Realize that some people aren’t equipped to receive the full force of your love. To send it to them may throw their world into chaos. Love these people gently, with your understanding instead of your passion. And know that there are always people who receive you, in full.
#9. Don’t be attached to outcomes, or try to control or force them either. Being the best you that you can be, sincerely, compassionately, creatively, is doing your part. You don’t need to do more than that. Let the reaction of the people around you be spontaneous, mysterious, magical and something that is intuitively gained. (We can’t force anyone to love us or to feel love.)
#10. Accept that sometimes your heart’s just gonna break. It’s okay to let it.
. . .
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