Out of all the things there are to love in this world, people are my favorite. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all of the hearts I am connected to and how grateful I am to have so many pieces of people’s lives intertwined with my story. Like the man from Budapest who told me about his daughter’s dreams while in Paris or the father I hugged when he got his son back. I think about the chance encounters that became my greatest friendships; your desk being placed next to mine because you were shy and I was not. I think about you crossing oceans and me moving to the mountains and both of us sitting next to each other on a hardwood floor in a circle, hands on our hearts. I think about all of us applying at the same restaurant as we made our way through college and dancing the night away eight years later on my wedding day. My heart thinks about you, all of the people that have read my words and then became my real life friends.
My heart overflows with gratitude when I consider the details that occurred in order for our lives to touch, the miles and miles we each spent walking the earth that resulted in your footprints making their way to my path. I’ll always believe that people show up right when we need them, to help us grow, to open us up to the possibilities, to carry a message, or to hold our hand in comfort after a particularly stormy chapter. I think about the people I’ve come to know who live their lives in the boldest, most beautiful, and magnificent ways. The people who teach you to be soft, who show you how to be honest and vulnerable, the ones who dare to change their paths to answer to their life’s calling. And I think about all of the people I do not know and all of the hearts that are beating just like mine. I think about entire populations of people that many of us know nothing about, who do courageous things and suffer in ways we cannot possibly understand. I think about all of the people sewing beautiful seeds into their corners of the world, who leave roots for things to grow in every place they touch. I imagine picking a flower they once planted or sitting underneath the shade of the tree they helped to grow.
With my blankets astray and snowflakes falling from the sky from my third floor apartment, I think about the ways in which we enter people’s lives. The ways our own feet lead us into another person’s story and create lasting change. We can show up in the world in big and small ways, like the way we carry ourselves, greet a stranger, or stand in a check-out line. We show up in the ways we use our talents to benefit another person, pursue our passions with every fiber of our being, and how we make a person feel about themselves. We choose the way we treat the people we love and the people we do not know. We can be soft while showing up strong, we can withdraw judgement and seek to connect, to extend a hand. We can help people to see the magic that they are.
I think about my yoga teachers, who without words, showed me how I want to be present in other people’s lives. In the last four months I’ve learned about the gift we offer to people we meet and the people we love when we are present and kind. I’ve learned that the more compassionate and gentle we can be with ourselves, the more compassion we can show towards others. I’ve learned how valuable it is to see each person as a whole, to take note of their heart, and to make room for someone to be just as they are. I was able to transform in beautiful ways because my experiences, challenges, and strengths were not only validated and seen, but celebrated and encouraged. I developed as a person because my heart was nurtured, my words were listened to, and my vulnerability was met with sweetness and love.
When it comes to loving people, here is what I know:
- Powerful things happen when we allow people to be who they are instead of who we want them to be.
- People transform with compassion, not shame.
- When we nurture another human being, we create an opportunity for healing, softening, and growth.
- We have the power to impact someone’s life in just one conversation, evening, or experience.
- I believe when we show up authentically and vulnerably we encourage others to do the same.
- We can stop trying to fix people and focus on loving them instead.
and so I thank you, for being who you are and showing up in the way that you did.
in big ways and small ways.
I needed you.