(This is a piece written in my writing group this morning, prompted simply by a powerful photograph of a proud and beautiful African woman with deep, dark eyes staring directly into the camera.....)
She speaks of strength and focused determination. She tells me of deeds of goodness and good will. She says that I have the strength to move mountains. She says to not be afraid.
As the snows melt and the soil again becomes porous and moist, so too, she says, can my mind. Just as the stream is released from the grip of its icy prison, so too can my mind be released from the places where it has iced over with resistance.
She speaks to me of human loss and of what comes after. Her eyes tell the story of children taken from their parents, of women dying in childbirth, of people stricken with illness, pain and loss of independence. Still, she says, even in the face of catastrophic loss, we place one foot on the earth and step forward, and the other foot naturally follows.
There is a place that we can go, she says, where there is a well of strength that feeds us in times of sorrow. This well is a universal place of regeneration and recuperation, and it is available to us always. This well is our birthright, but all too often even our parents have forgotten its very existence, thus we must rely on other teachers to lead us to its benevolent grace.
So much of the time, she says, we feel so alone. We move in a world in which many of us feel isolated and unseen. People passing us on the street have no idea of the turmoil in our minds, but a kind look or a sincere smile from a stranger can actually alter the trajectory of our day. Sometimes, locking eyes with a stranger---perhaps on the train or on the street---some magic happens, she says. For a brief moment, we might actually see that person’s soul while they are seeing ours. It’s not like falling in love. It isn’t ESP. It is simply two people taking the briefest of fleeting moments to connect in a way that is beyond words, wherein an understanding occurs that has nothing to do with mind-reading or any conscious process. This type of connection is like stripping away the veneer of consciousness, and in that moment we see that separation is an illusion, and we are separated from oneness by the thinnest of veils.
Survival of the fittest has given way to survival of the most connected, the most interdependent, she says. Look for connection, she says, and you will be rewarded. Lose sight of connection, of interdependence, and you will suffer. Community is like a stream into which one dives, blending with others while maintaining your sense of self. Ignoring your innate thirst for connection will leave you parched, she says. Look for it, she says, at the bank, on a street corner, at the café, in the park. A child, a dog, a busker on the sidewalk. The stream of connection is within reach at any given moment. Don’t you see it?