Breathe

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Close your eyes

Breathe

Let your body fall against mine

Breathe

Let me kiss your skin

Breathe

Feel your heart and know its mine

Breathe

Take my hand and cry your tears

Feel my breath

Taste my love

Like I taste yours

Breathe

Feel our fingers through my hair

Breathe

Take the time

Were not leaving just yet

Feel what I taste

Taste what I take

Take mine

and

breathe.

 

– Caz Espinoza, 2 May, 2014

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Meeting strangers in the shadows

DAY THREE

3rd January 2014

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Three days in and I have already stumbled across an awkward fact: I have been living a sort of half life, barely breathing and for the most part in the shadows.

Following my enlightening day yesterday with Fred, I resolved this morning to be present with every person I met today. My plan was to focus, breathe and where appropriate, smile, when I met someone.

It turns out that it is rarely inappropriate to smile at someone. Or so I found today. Perhaps if I was hanging around a funeral home it might not be the most socially acceptable behaviour to trot around between the viewing parlours with a huge smile on my face.

But today, I found that looking people in the eye and smiling genuinely led to more unexpected outcomes. The genuine bit is important. People can smell fake a mile away. If you are genuine, people feel your energy and warmth through your body language.

Today it occurred to me that I have been missing something pretty significant in the way I live. I seem to work through my day, ticking off the boxes and rushing from one thing to another. It’s rare that I stop and savour the day. By that I mean, savour everything that happens in my day: the people, the food, the joy of actually living and breathing. It’s more of the ‘being present’ stuff, but today I endeavoured to step it up a little. Today I wanted to really see the people around me. And I have to say that I was pretty surprised at what I haven’t been seeing.

I am surrounded by interesting and amazing people! Seriously! I suspect I have been all along – they didn’t just pop up around me today. By the end of the day I received some solid financial advice, had some heartfelt conversations, was told that I am part of the nicest group of people in the community (this by a man who I didn’t think knew our names), had a few smiles back, a friend cry on my shoulder, was given a free coffee, and was hugged…quite a bit actually. It was a busy day. It was also a day full of wonder and moments that I am seriously grateful for.

All I have done is stop and think that if this person was dead before midnight, then I want to make the most of the time I have with them. Sometimes this can only be a fragile few minutes. Sometimes it’s hours. Today I even had a text message. My intention is the same whether I am with a friend, a colleague or a complete stranger. I’m finding myself stopping and considering my responses more carefully. I’m looking for opportunities to make the other persons experience, even if it is just for a few minutes, something special. Something meaningful.

Today I did this with a smile, and it led to some unexpected and beautiful moments. It also led to some unexpected realisations. If this is what happens when you live in the present, what exactly have I been doing all this time? And what exactly is possible in this life. After all, I have only been living like this for three days.

I also have to laugh at my naivety on day one, thinking I would need some strict boundaries to protect myself. The truth is that the more I try to give the more I am learning about my own life and the more I seem to be getting back.

As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”