By Mary Rogers
Long ago I tore my chest wide open with claw of nails. I was dripping blood- tattered chest bared wide to the world. Heart pumping through ribs of cage. Bone exposed. There I stood—bleeding heart for all to see. And what I found was a love for humanity unsurpassed by time…
I felt heaviness on my heart and wrinkle on my brow.
Feeling the waves of grief move through me on a visceral level causing me to choke on breath and swallow with each memory.
With swollen, tear-stained eyes, I approached the Barista at the nearby cafe to order an herbal tonic. Without looking up from the register, she asked, “Hello, how are you? What can I get started for you?”
I felt it immediately—the smallness of chatter amidst the hustle and bustle we call life. Taking pause, I found myself saying, “Today I am missing my father who recently passed.”
Her response? “I’m sorry—what did you say?”
“Oh I said…” and I was quickly interrupted by another Barista asking if I wanted an 8oz., 12oz., or 16oz. and what it was I was ordering.
Shrugging, I looked beside me hoping to find some compassion—and if I’m being honest, probably some sympathy too. Instead, I was greeted with a look of disgust. Her eyes seemed to convey the message, “How dare you show up so real? No one wants to hear the pain or sorrow cracking just beneath the surface. Everyone wants happy, euphoric, you know, the feels goods!”
Poker Face. The term lingered on my breath and hovered in the air.
- an impassive expression that hides one’s true feelings.
- a person with a poker face.
I get this expression being used during a game of cards—but why do we use it just to get through the day? We are human. We were made to feel. So why then, do we feel a need to hide behind masks? Why do we pretend to be or feel as something we are not? Is it insecurity?
- uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
- “she had a deep sense of insecurity”
synonym: lack of confidence
- the state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection.
- “growing job insecurity”
At what point did we decide we needed to feel “uncertainty or anxiety” about ourselves?
When did we decide that if we are open and honest, this vulnerability somehow leaves us feeling “open to danger or threat; lack of protection?”
At what point did we begin to feel unworthy or that we weren’t good enough? When did we decide it was best to remain unseen vs. allowing us to be uniquely who we are in our oneness, in our individualism? When did we decide it was okay for others to dictate what we say, how we act, react or feel?
Who made the decision that one must always be happy? Who decided it’s not okay to have a bad day, be sad, be depressed, grieve or to get angry? How did we become so conditioned?
Sitting in a nearby booth, my mind whirled with a million thoughts. I watched so many come and go. Those who stayed wore earbuds or headphones while tapping away on their laptops or immersed in their phones.
“We’ve all become robots,” I thought, sadly.
I thought of how addicted to technology we’ve become, how little human connection we actually make, and how social media has integrated a popularity contest of the worst kind.
Feeling the heaviness of it all, I stepped outside to drink fresh air while swallowing sun. I immediately stumbled and almost tripped over a joyous puppy dancing about. Kneeling, I felt my cynicism melt away with each fur baby kiss.
The owner of the dog—an elderly woman—profusely apologized. “I am so sorry,” she explained, “my son got me this puppy as a companion as I’ve been so lonely since my husband died.”
There, in that moment—my heart melted.
Smiling, I stood and replied, “No need to apologize. I have a small dog too who has brought me much comfort since my dad’s passing.”
“Oh,” she asked, “When did he pass?”
Thus began a very long conversation about my father and about her husband. We shared laughter, we shared tears, and we departed with a hug. In the midst of my despair, an angel came and restored my faith in humanity. It made me realize how often we simply need a little kindness added to our lives.
- the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
- a kind act.
- “it is a kindness I shall never forget”
Just for today—or maybe an hour, if you can spare—step away from your phone, your computer or your headphones. Stop taking pictures of what you’re experiencing and instead, look around you. Be in the moment. Reach out a hand for others stumbling in the dark.
Just for today, step out of the conditioned, auto-bot responses and make true human connection.
“Kindness: One of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. If someone is in need, lend them a helping hand. Do not wait for a thank you. True kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of something in return.” ~Unknown
Mary Rogers currently resides in Nevada County (Grass Valley, CA) and is a non-fiction writer, poet, spiritual mentor, speaker, soul alchemist, and a trusted voice for female empowerment. A dreamer and high achiever, she finds inspiration in nature, karmic reciprocity, and self reflection. She may be an old soul: cheeky and brass, but she is also sugar and spice and everything nice. Passionate in all that she does, her favorite past time is getting naked on paper. Connect with Mary by checking out her website, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Editor: Dana Gornall