A Broader, Gentler Way to See the World

watering the worldI wish that as we age our hearts grew gentler and more open. It makes sense, doesn’t it, that with more experience we would better understand being human, and pass on our wisdom to younger people? I’ve met people who grew kinder as the years passed, but I’ve met others who protected their shrinking hearts with walls and became afraid of the world. It’s easy enough to do today, isn’t it?

I understand protecting our hearts because I have curled up inside myself at certain periods in my life. I also see the need in the world for love and kindness because something inside me awakened. I think it’s because my own need to heal and perhaps to help others heal was so strong that a soul-seed took root and then blossomed within. It is just a little flower of light, but it is enough that I saw this seed inside all of us. All of us!

To grow our own little flower of light, we have to stand up to our stubborn, fearful thoughts like a baseball umpire: “You’re OUTTA here!” Every time one arises, we toss it out and replace it with its opposite. If the thought is, “I hate my job,” we replace it with, “I SO appreciate my work.” Sometimes it’s a co-worker or boss. Years ago, I was telling my therapist that some people are just plain mean and she said she once believed that, too. Then, at a conference, she learned something about ‘mean people.’ The speaker said, “Every time you see this person, find something pleasant to say, like, ‘Nice tie, Bob,’ or, ‘I like your new outfit, Mary.’ No need for more than that,” the speaker added. “And watch what happens.”

My therapist knew exactly who she’d practice on. She kept at it and at first her ‘mean boss’ was surprised, then cautious. Then he began to smile when he saw her and eventually he said pleasant things back. The man she thought mean to the core and hopelessly irredeemable was a nice guy. He was only protecting his heart–and a gentle touch helped bring down the walls.

What have we got to lose, anyway? Our fearful, tunnel vision? Good. Let’s toss it and reward ourselves with a whole, new, broader, gentler way to see the world. It surely can’t hurt.

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