Heart Opening: the moment the heart opens as we discover the kindness of others. It is also the joyous moment that others give kindness with no thought of return. It is the bliss when both the person giving and the person receiving this blessing connect deeply.
I felt many heart openings today. It was really needed as yesterday I was feeling sad.
On our journey yesterday before I was even one hundred metres away from a field I started seeing a horse whinnying and started to gallop down the field towards me as I got closer. It was very obvious that she was in distress.
The horse’s face was covered in a swarm of flies. Her eyes were encrusted with them and she had a wound that they were feeding upon. I pulled out handfuls of grass to feed and stroke her gently, while also fanning away the incessant insects. Her snout was pink and infected.
It was very clear that she was in distress and suffering. As I walked away I looked back a few times and I felt really upset knowing that there was little more I could physically do.
Kindness and Compassion
I began to think about the owners of the horse and their neglect. I could feel my heart breaking and eyes welling. I communicated my helplessness with my good friend Margaret afterwards and her words were profound.
Simply the act of caring and acknowledging the horse would have made a difference to this animal. That this simple act of love and compassion can bring comfort.
To be hopeful in bad times is not foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives.
If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.
The words above were read by Lynn before we began our walk today. It set the mood for the day. I still marvel how when we have a train of thought the universe conspires to help us follow this though through.
This morning I was still thinking about the distressed horse and part of me was focused on the neglect that it was suffering. Today showed me also the great kindness and beauty that we can discover in present moments.
We began our day gently sloping our way past golden fields verged by forests to the nestled sleepy village of Leffrond breathing quietly in the Sunday morning light. Leffrond is held in the gently rolling landscape. Cupped like a tiny bird in the palm of the Earth’s hand.
We meandered our way down a laneway and onto a street through the village. We passed stone houses with colourful window shutters and burst of flowers before crossing an old stone bridge over the River Salon.
At the centre of the town stood the village church. From afar as we approached the village the steeple was a dominant feature punctuating the soft rolling skyline.
The church was locked and from across the road an ancient lady emerged from her stone house in her night dress clasping a skeleton key in her hand. Kindly she opened up the church to allow us rest.
Entering the cavernous darkness with filtered light shafts streaming from the coloured stain glass windows I felt the coolness. Touching a stone column. Caressing its hand cut surface, then resting my palm flat , sensing the pulse of ages when the church was streaming with villagers at attendance.
We were told that these days there is a pastor who does the rounds of twelve parish churches in the area as those that still attended church were old and had not yet died.
Her act of opening up the church to us pilgrims slowly began the opening and unfolding of my heart today.
As we meandered on through the beautiful village we heard a dog barking. As we got closer the dog barked even louder till his owner calmed him down. In the meantime an old black Labrador with wagging tail crotch sniffed and nudged us in greeting. Meeting the owner we discovered his little pig. Her name was Lilly. I patted Lilly as she joyfully nuzzled me through the fence. It was clear that he really loved and cared for his animals. That they were treated with great respect. This went very far to pull my out of my melancholy and open up my heart that little bit more.
The barking dog that moments before looked like he would have torn us to bits had calmed down. I put my hand near his muzzle and he sniffed it and before long I was patting him like I was his master.
St Francis of Assisi
I felt joy well up in me being there in those moments and I thought about St Francis of Assisi and how he called the animals of creation his brothers and sisters. How very different our world would be if we treated all animals and plants like our kin.
Gina of Gatey
From here we carried along the River Salon through forests, fields and villages and we stopped for lunch in the tiny village of Gatey. Tony and Arthur had driven ahead and had met a lady that had offered us her front lawn to set up for lunch replete with tables and chairs!
She brought out tea, coffee and biscuits and we learned about her life as a school teacher and how she lived alone having moved back to the family home after her parents died. We thanked her, kissed her on both cheeks goodbye as we departed. She told us that her kindness was her ‘participation to peace’.
The goodness of people today was restored in my mind. My heart was completely open and I was beaming.
What an incredibly beautiful day of heart opening. Discovering kindness and caring by total strangers.
Kindness Kills Fear
It has reminded me to always see the good in others. To see their inner light even when at times it may flicker and threaten to go out. A single candle can dispel darkness. Little kindnesses destroy darkness completely.
Little Kindnesses In Your Daily Life
Think about your daily life, how can you open your heart to others? What little acts of kindnesses can you give to others?
A smile costs nothing. A compliment, a phone call to someone who may be lonely. Catching up for a cup of coffee with friends. Helping a friend with chores.
Little things make big differences. How can you fill your successions of presents with kindness?