Reconnecting with

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If I had the pulpit that Oprah does, I believe I might initiate a global—or at least a national—campaign to get people to look each other in the eyes and smile at one another. I am saddened that so many of us seem so defended these days that smiling at a stranger in public is not as commonplace as it once was. Today I was shopping and encountered about twice as many folks who seemed completely withdrawn behind the invisible, portable walls they had erected as there were those who seemed openhearted with a ready smile and willingness to shine. I realized that Earth life has taken a toll—the details of which I can only imagine, but I believe that staying engaged and connected in Love with their fellow human beings would heal a lot.

Maybe the lack of willingness to connect can be attributed to that old amnesia thing—that failure to remember that we are One. Okay, I guess all of humanity’s issues pretty much can be related back to that! Maybe it’s that, combined with fear—but is it a named fear or an insidious, underlying unnamed fear that makes people move through the world in isolation, deflecting the warmth of a smile; pretending that no one else is walking past?

When I first moved to Denver, I was struck with this phenomenon, and was bewildered that my friendliness was not reciprocated as often as I had been used to back in North Carolina. Someone who had been here awhile explained to me that this is an area with a large transient population—lots of newcomers and lots of folks who come here expecting magic but who become disillusioned and soon move on, and that perhaps that is why they are so defended. I kind of figured it was because I was born and reared in the South and the people are, by and large, more openhearted where I spent my first 43 years. I guess all of the above could factor into my perception. I think, however, whatever the details, the truth lies in the overall increased polarity of these recent times and the lack of awareness of our connection.

I have overcome my temptation to retreat behind a similar wall to protect myself from the feelings of rejection that always come when you feel your love is not received. (Indeed, one of the most deeply wounding experiences I’ve ever known is having my love rejected--I think that's a universal phenomenon.) Maybe those people walking along in a zombie-like fashion are doing so because they’ve had their own love rejected one too many times and have decided, either consciously or unconsciously (probably the latter) that the way to prevent that in the future is not to risk it again, especially in public, with a person they don’t know. So they draw in their light and hide, albeit, in plain sight. I've decided that taking any of it personally is a recipe for terminal depression, not to mention, the way to perpetuate the illusion of separateness.

Refusing any temptation to withdraw in a similar fashion in response to their unwillingness to connect is, I believe, the test of a “spiritual warrior.” Letting Love radiate unconditionally; doing your job as a radiator of Love without allowing your smaller self to take personally whatever comes back from doing so (whether it feels good or doesn’t feel good!) is what we are called to do in these days of seeming disconnection. I believe it’s the very path back to Wholeness and Harmony--and the knowledge of our Oneness--for all of us. And sometimes, I find that a heartfelt smile and a blast of Love will penetrate the wall right then and there.

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Mita said:

Hi Julia
Just quickly I can relate to what you write here. I love to smile and my name actually means a 'woman with a pretty smile!' I wasn't aware of that until a gentleman, a few years back would remind me everytime I met him in a business office, that I have the prettiest smile! Until then I was a little shy about smiling to people who would give me a dead response.
Now as i am volunteering in a prison, I kept smiling at this most sombre and rigid looking woman prisoner, I passed by every now and then. She would give only give me a cold 'stern' look. Then one day I couldn't show up for my spiritual growth session and the other person who was already doing the sessions said one lady particularly asked about me, 'whether i am OK'.
This lady was the same one who would refuse to smile at me. And next time I met her she came to me with a big smile asking whether I was OK. This experience confirms for me, that even the most rigid and cold looking person have a heart that has become resistant only because they have not been reflected unconditional love back to them yet.
The same thing happened in my neighborhood, where people didn't wave while you walk or drive by ...but i kept waving no matter what, now most of them wave to me, especially the few children we have in our mostly senior neighborhood!
So keep connecting, looking and smiling at every person without expectation (I know that is hard) you meet at the checkout, while you walk or commute or you come across in your work or daily life. There would be no enemy and no strangers. And the world would soon be a friendly place to live in.
Susmita Barua

Julia said:

That is a very cool story, Mita! Divine Love, channeling through us, is powerful enough to heal anything, and it sounds like it worked wonders on that woman. Thank you for sharing that. It is quite inspiring. And how inspiring it is that you volunteer in a prison! Thank you for being such a loving being, recreating Eden with your smile!
In Joy,

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on October 13, 2004 3:07 AM.

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