These past four days I lived in a place where all hearts were wide open.
No, we weren’t all sitting around singing Kumbaya. Not at all. We were scientists, scholars, chaplains, grieving families, soul journeyers, mediums, physicians–you name it–all gathered together to share and to love. All sitting together for meals. Walking freely in the halls, the bookstore space, sitting at the coffee bar.
“Oh my God, is that Gary Schwartz?” I said to someone? He was just hanging out with us–one of the most respected researchers in the afterlife arena, a guy who risked his tenure to investigate rigorously the question “is there life after life?”
It was a beautiful long weekend.
The love that filled this space, this conference, was beyond anything I’d ever experienced. The people were all so nice. Total strangers spoke to each other and greeted one another in the hallways. Conversations were started between folks who would never have otherwise met. How does this happen?
Hearts open when the environment is one of TRUST. When we feel HEARD, that we are LISTENED TO. Hearts open to HONESTY, when we are able to state and breathe into our pain. When we seek and find some COMMON GROUND.
Hearts open when LOVE is freely given freely and unconditionally and received and that is so much easier than it sounds. And they open to FORGIVENESS.
I am no stranger to pain, to feeling misunderstood or badly treated. Forgiveness was a long haul for me but it was an end point I sought, knowing it would be a new beginning. And one day, my prayers were answered and I could forgive.
We must always remember that it isn’t about us at all. That people carry pain for many reasons that have nothing to do with us. And how they are has nothing to do with how we can be.
I see now that these are the ingredients for the most wonderful world I could imagine.
A world in which I want to live.
Being in this place of love has inspired me to open my own heart space more widely.
To more freely give love to others.
To live with kindness as my guiding principle.
To accept others where they are at any given moment.
And more than anything, to forgive. Always.