“No matter how long we have traveled down the wrong road, we can always turn around.”
Isn’t that beautiful? I love it. A reader called Danielle emailed me that inspiring quote. It sums up my life!
Another reader asked for encouragement on faith and spirituality. I’ll share fresh ideas as the weeks unfold; below, you’ll find one of my most creative videos about experiencing stillness, presence, and peace.
First, though, let’s talk about being left behind.
On the Road – Downtown Vancouver
Last month I spent an hour walking around Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The streets of Hastings and Pender are filled with people living on the street, injecting drugs, eating out of cereal boxes and selling odds ’n ends in their “sidewalk shops.”
This time, I saw a woman who pooped her pants. Several men were half naked, lolling on the sidewalk, sometimes tripping out, sometimes completely unconscious.
A garbage truck slowly drove along the street. Four trash collectors walked alongside and cleaned up the sidewalk messes.
Guess how many police officers walked beside the trash collectors? FOUR. One cop per worker.
I’ve always felt comfortable on the Downtown Eastside. I’ve never been threatened or even looked twice at. That day was different, though. Not only did I feel safe and peaceful, my heart was filled with more love and compassion than I’ve ever experienced.
Smelling the poop, feeling the love
I wanted to gather the woman into my arms, wipe off the feces, give her a warm bath and a hot meal. I wanted to stroke that drugged-out man’s forehead, smooth back his hair and put a pillow under his head. I wanted to interrupt the teen eating cold spaghetti off the sidewalk and take her to Tim Horton’s for chicken noodle soup.
The depth of compassion I felt didn’t come from me. I could never manufacture that much love—not while gagging from the stench of human waste! Somehow, my spirit felt their true nature. I experienced the divine essence buried under the addictions, illnesses, problems and pain.
However, despite the love I felt, I didn’t linger on the Downtown Eastside. I left. And I haven’t gone back.
When you’re left behind
That day was incredibly powerful for me. I realized I can love a person or place with my whole heart, and still need to leave. I can feel deep compassion, gentleness and kindness, and still choose to go my own way.
Love doesn’t always mean lingering.
You might love a community or group with all your heart, and still need to leave. You might love a home, job or organization, and need to make a fresh start. You might even love a spouse or family member, and choose a path that leads you down a different road.
Sometimes leaving is the most loving choice. If you’ve ever been left, consider the possibility that somehow you—and the other person—are better off. Somehow, in some way, going separate ways is the best path for you both.May you find peace, acceptance and joy no matter where the road takes you, or who chooses to walk alongside you.
With a heartful of love,
P.S. On a lighter note – to meet kindred spirits, join our “She Blossoms on the Road” Facebook Group!
New on She Blossoms
In How to Write a Goodbye Letter to Someone You Love, I share a Goodbye Letter I found in in Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher. Writing your goodbye’s is a difficult, healthy way to move forward after a loss.
On a brighter note — in How Color Affects Your Mind, Mood and Mental Health, I describe the colorful research I gathered for an article I wrote for alive magazine. You and your pets are affected by every color you see, feel, and sense! Color affects your cognitive ability, health, attitudes and emotions—and even how your hot chocolate tastes. I love color (or colour, as we Canadians, Brits and Aussies say 🙂 )