Published author, leadership and organizational development mentor, inspirational speaker, advocate for cold noses as healers Architecting a social movement of unconditional listening one voice, one story at a time
We first met in early March 2014. You inspired my first blog for the public to read. Though a moment in time, you have imprinted my heart for keeps. In that way that a moment can continue to pay forward meaning, a key puzzle piece to our life. Once again, I am reflecting on the gift you gave me when your path crossed with mine.
When you and I met dear Guardian, I wrote this of your story I had perceived. You were the image of one of the words on the sign that lay by your feet. You were a MIRACLE for the dear soul beside you on that busy New York City street. I wrote of how you laid on that blanket, protected, insulated, a thin layer of endurance against the bitter cold of the cement. I wrote of your feet wrapped in make-shift booties from a coat remnant. I pondered if the booties were hiding scars from your miles of walking. My heart whispered truth in that contemplating.
I watched you as your head watched, and watched, and watched further, the people walking by; to your left, to your right, perhaps you were wondering who might pause to say Hi. No body movement using only your eyes as your mechanism to speak; a true guard of the one you were vigilantly protecting. I wrote of your role as Guardian and not just physically. For your wisdom knew that those passing by were also judges and jury. You could hear the words not spoken for your heart holds the ability to hear what others feel but do not say. You must help yourself first or Why did you pick here to show yourself, their expressions conveyed.
You and your best friend were the teachers for us the students walking to your left and to your right. All of us being given the opportunity to see the miracle before our eyes. We were given the opportunity to learn compassion and to witness the purest form of love. We were given the opportunity to see how friendships and family-ship give us hope and purpose and a reminder to at least one, we are always more than enough. We were given opportunity to hold the space not in pity; we were given the chance to give to the one you loved respect and dignity. We were handed the sacredness of the most precious commodities life does hold – to look past our own perceptions to see the beautiful light held within souls.
Dear Guardian, earlier this week I bear witness to another fur soul holding safe keep. Four days later, the image of a dear man and his dog still replays in front of me. This time I was unable to offer a small act of kindness to these two dear souls who caught my eye. I could only bear sacred witness to a bond of deep love and guardianship as I drove by. it was not fully obvious that they did not have a home to return to once they decided the grass beside the sidewalk was no longer comforting. Yet, the cart beside them and the way the Guardian lay resting nudged my heart in need.
A man and his dog sat at the edge of a sidewalk taking a break from a journey that only they know as their story. They weren’t striving to be noticed and they certainly weren’t requiring pity. They may have been hiding pain or trauma and they may have been in hunger’s embrace. Yet, they were together, each other’s reason to step forward through the day. Like the day my path crossed with you dear Guardian and my heart overflowed with gratefulness that you were there to give your companion hope, love, and to keep him safe. That this man who sat beside his dog on the grass comforted me the same way.
I’ve been reflecting on seeing this man and his dog waiting for the message that should accompany their story. That reflection first led me back to you dear Guardian before I would experience another moment that brought clarity. Just as I felt the weight that the drivers in front of me and behind me did not see the two dear souls sitting on that grass last week. In the same way that I felt the gravity of the people walking hurriedly past you and your best friend on that busy street. Today I experienced a fraction of what the four of you feel as your daily reality. We have evolved to a society that has lost the ability to see each other – to truly see. We have lost touch with looking for inherent goodness in humanity.
We are replacing kindness and respect with certainty that someone else is “wrong” or “bad” or “to blame”. We are no longer listening openly for the value in what someone has to say. We have forgotten we have made agreements with each other for what we could learn when we entered life. Our focus is on the physical and cognitive within others and how that does or does not fit with our own perceptions we hold tight. We have stopped seeing that each person has within them a soul that is of the purest love and light. We have started to see people as tin men, absent of hearts that beat strong and wise.
As we are inundated with reasons that test our ability to choose trust over fear and to keep hopeless at bay, we step wholly into the lesson yet amidst the teaching we lose our way. We step fully into the human experience our souls desired to know; as we lean into it fully, we forget what we sought to learn for our growth. Instead of stepping towards the opposite of the lesson, we take the lesson at face value as truth. We often make a choice not to look at alternate options we could choose.
Dear Guardian, you were not on that street that day to break my heart in two. You were there for me to make your story matter in the steps I choose. I write to you today to let you know that I am making your story matter in reminding others hope does in fact have a cold nose and that the same cold nose has other messages, too. That we as humans can learn unconditional listening and compassion from teachers like you. If we are open to hearing and seeing, you will lead us back to a missing link. You will lead us back to our soul’s rhythmic beats. You, and all dear souls like you can lead us to better see, that right in front of each of us is a most precious commodity called humanity.