I witnessed something very simple but moving this morning. About 45 minutes into a weekly Zumba class, our teacher stopped the music and said “I’m sorry, but my mom passed away yesterday. I just need to say it HAS been a struggle for me to be up here, and I hope it’s ok if we cut class a little short and just cool down now.”

Immediately every woman in the class, of every shape, size, color, and age moved towards her with tears in our eyes. Several of us asked if we could give her a hug. She said she preferred to finish class instead. I found her willingness to open up to us to be incredibly brave, and a gift to all of us in the room. If she had just tried to muscle through, we would have all left thinking “I did my exercise for today: check!”, and each gone on to the next task on our to-do lists. Instead, because of her willingness to be vulnerable and honest, she gave us a chance to feel the immediate, simple desire in our own hearts to help another human being who is in pain. As my mentor has told me, vulnerability is always the more powerful moment. When we are vulnerable, we give others a chance to step towards us and experience their own strength and love.

To paraphrase something I read in “Lion’s Roar”, a Buddhist magazine, “We need to feel the world’s pain.” I think allowing our pain to be expressed honestly, and letting others’ pain in cleanses us. It brings us back down to earth. It gives us an opportunity to live in the moment.

Just some thoughts on a rainy Saturday after what has been, in so much of the world, a week filled with conflict and tragedy.

#hope #gratitude #love