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April 17, 2020

Cracked Wide Open

This is about fear. It’s about full-heartedly seizing the moment. It’s about saying yes to life. It’s about walking through that open door. It’s about serendipity and stepping stones. It’s about loving, loving yourself and honouring your heart. It’s about the rarest form of authenticity where the heart speaks louder than any white noise of the mind. It’s about taking responsibility for your feelings and desires. It’s about choice. It’s about aligning with your truth even when the odds are lined up against you. It’s about ignoring logic and your painful wounds of the past. It’s about believing and trusting that every encounter is there for your soul’s evolution. It’s about opening so wide that you become limitless and so does your love. It’s about a life lesson and the stepping stones of Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona that became a metaphor for my life and maybe yours.

Under a cocoon-like canapé of protective oak trees, the little girl that I once was played along the river bed. Lost in time and thought, she connected the dots by hopping the stones that resurfaced from the bubbling waters below. As if she was guided, she jumped from stone to stone without missing a beat nor touching the coolness of the crystalline water. When her attention was distracted by the dancing of the iridescent dragonflies, her mind would take over and choose an out-of-order stone. Sometimes she would slip and then once again regain her synchronistic flow that only comes from being in the Now. Filled with wonder, she loved how each stone was so perfectly placed guiding her effortlessly to the next, like a conscious stream of thoughts.

Her ”takeaway” from those endless summer afternoons of stone hopping was, life too, was a series of strung-together moments of perfect synchronicity and her acute awareness was needed to recognise and wisely choose the next stone. Life is about moment-to-moment connectivity.

No longer a pigtailed little girl, but a grown woman who has travelled the world, she walked into a random coffee shop. Why that coffee shop at that precise moment when there were at least ten others on that tiny holiday island? The line was long, but that didn’t deter her from waiting. From behind, a man slipped into her space, her vibrational world. He said, ”Hello.” She boldly said, ”Hello”, and the dance of connectivity began. There was a presence, maybe a connection. They didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. They spoke, nothing earth-shattering, just the time it took to order coffee, exchange names and say goodbye. That was it- a fleeting moment of eleven minutes and 32 seconds- a fleeting memory. That same evening she boarded a plane that transported her across the globe. Gazing out the window, the remanence of that holiday island soon became a minuscule dot set in an endless sea of blue.

Two years later, to date, she finds herself back on that tiny island sitting at that same coffee shop. He crossed her mind. She wondered if she would recognise him. She sipped her coffee while staring out the bay window that opened onto the sea. From nowhere, he walked in and time seemed to stand still. That magnetic moment was the next stepping stone that led to long walks and endless conversations about the mysteries of life, all unfolding under a tapestry of the sparkling stars above.

The probability of them meeting amongst the seven billion-plus inhabitants on this planet was null and crossing paths once again was insanely random, but it happened. At that moment, nothing seemed more magical, more enticing than the synchronicity that was playing out. Their encounter was the next stepping stone on her path for growth.

Holidays end, but feelings don’t. Neither of them liked ”goodbyes” so they agreed to say ”hello”. Sometimes, even when there is a distance, emotions can amplify to a point where it’s just too much for the heart to hold the weight. The pressure squeezes the juice right out of its chambers. To avoid self-implosion or shut down expression is needed. There is a risk but the stakes are too high if we chose silence. Although, more often than not we hold back, withholding our rawness to protect our fragile-feeling-hearts. We don’t want to come off as being needy by ”flooding” the receiver with our gushy love and affection.

Their last moments together left her with a full heart. It was almost painful because there was no release. She questioned why the Universe had placed this stone on her path of paths. Was it a random act of the heart or did the Universe have something else in store for her?

The next stone was right there and she stepped fearlessly onto it as a warrior steps into the potential line of the fire. There wasn’t much thought but there was a knowing, the kind of knowing that is undeniable and unquestionable and that guides one to respond. It is the calling of the heart, a force stronger than the mind even when coupled with fear. There was a consequential cost in holding back her feelings that could lead to heartache, an ache so enormous that it feels like a cardiac arrest. The heart must feel and express. This is the heart’s dharma or duty. When denied it’s calling it implodes with pain and shuts down for good. Authentic self-disclosure is the only antidote that keeps the heart wide open and alive. Intuitively she knew this, placed her fear on hold and stepped forward.

”What I have to say to you is unquestionably all about me and yet, something that I am called to share with you. This is unrehearsed, highly uncensored and ridiculously real. I need to say this out loud so as never to live in regret or in fear of what you or someone else may think. I no longer want to barricade my heart so that my feelings stop flowing or miss an opportunity to live cracked open. Most of all, I would like you to hear my truth so that you know, without a question or doubt, exactly how I feel about you the moment I board that plane.”

”If this brief encounter was just a brief encounter, I want you to know how blessed I feel to have experienced this soul connection with you. If we were to say goodbye today and never cross paths again, I could fully accept what has been, a beautiful encounter. I could capsulize its entirety and allow my heart to swell. I could walk away intact with self-love and self-respect and without what-ifs.”

”And again, totally uncensored and out-on-a-limb, this random expression that I need to say out loud comes from a very deep place within. If we were to continue this soul connection, even though I don’t know what that would look like, I would lay my heart down for you.”

He stared into the depth of her eyes before drawing her close and squeezing her affectionately. She felt heard; he received her vulnerability, and her words touched his heart.

She understood that not only did she need him to hear her truth so that she could walk away without regret; even more essential, she needed to listen to her heart and honour its voice. That alone was an invaluable life lesson, honouring her heart, without the weight of what tomorrow could hold. This was the next stone. This was the gift.

As they said ”hello”, she stepped once again into the plane and the door closed behind her. Ironically, she felt liberated and radically alive. She had taken full responsibility and was unapologetically accountable for her truth and that was empowering. Without understanding why she trusted that he would always be part of her life and present in her waking moments as in her dreams.

They say that speaking your truth sets you free. Communicating from the heart takes your vulnerability and responsibility to a whole new level. The compelling piece of the equation is that the beneficiary’s response has little, if nothing, to do with your self- disclosing or not. Surprisingly, your truth is not contingent on what they think at all. This would taint and undermine its expression. With that said, it has everything to do with your relationship with yourself, you and your heart and no one else.

Home, there was laundry to do and bills to be paid and yet he was there. She smiled because she felt his presence, a wide-open presence void of expectations and grasping. She was ready to move on; she was ready for the next stepping stone to show her where growth was still needed.

Four days after leaving that holiday island she learned that he had tragically died.

There was the initial shock that suffocated her breath and numbed her senses. And then, there was a piercing of her heart, a piercing so violent that stabbed to its core, to the softest most vulnerable spot. And then, there was a gasp for air and her heart cracked wide open, wider than ever before and there was a release of so much love and gratitude for him and their encounter. Suddenly, there was no more sadness but a joy that filled her heart and sprinkles of light appeared on the surface of the lake water. They followed her where ever she went- sometimes in the stars at night, sometimes in the rays of the sun against the leaves of the trees. She knew that what he had taught her was everywhere, in her heart and with her for eternity.

There is an urgency to life. Life doesn’t wait for you to muster up your courage to share your heart with others. It doesn’t wait for you to express how much someone means to you. Life goes on. It doesn’t care how wounded you have been in the past. It is up to you to seize that opportunity to reach out with your vulnerability, loving fully without holding back. If we live like each moment was our last our hearts would remain forever open and there would be no more regrets. We could walk away knowing that we expressed from our tender hearts whether or not it was reciprocated, we would be wide open. Don’t postpone your opening. Rather ask, ”Where am I holding back?” ”What would be available for me if I did open?”

Sometimes she feels that her heart is too big for her tiny body but now she knows the remedy- heart-sharing, the unsolicited, raw expression of love, in any form for that matter. If your paths should cross and you are the beneficiary of her oozing expression of gratitude and love for your beingness in her life, she unapologetically says, ”thank you.” Your presence in her life has assisted her in loving harder, loving freely so that she can walk away knowing that you know how she feels about you and her heart is free.

There is a certain urgency in all of this and there is no time to waste. Allow love to crack you open and share your most intimate and rarest gem, that of your heart. You will soon feel alive and vibrant and begin to live the life you are meant to live, a life of love.

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