The thing I’ve noticed since the Boston Marathon bombings is that in times like this, my heart feels wide open. Maybe because it’s broken open, I don’t know, but I definitely feel more vulnerable and more generous. I’ve noticed this in others as well. It’s as if we’re allowing ourselves to be more patient on the highway, holding doors for strangers, and speaking kindly to passers-by. It’s like we finally get that we’re all in this together, this pain and crisis, and the least we can do is be kind to each other. We’re actively choosing to be more present and more caring. At times like this, even bitter rivals put aside their differences and come together as friends.
But what I’ve also noticed, about myself and others, is that when a crisis like this is over, we slide back to ‘normal’. For me, it’s as if my heart slowly closes up, I forget how to be vulnerable, and just relax back into business as usual.
I guess the question that comes up for me is: what would my life be like if I intentionally kept my heart open? What would our society be like if we remembered that we’re all in this together -- even when we’re no longer in crisis or in fear or in lock-down?
We don’t have to go back to ‘normal’. This can be our new normal. This in-the-moment, open-hearted, unified state of mind that allows us to shift our priorities and be patient with each other. This way of being that encourages us to slow down and help each other. That reminds us that we have so much in common. That we are one community made up of an overwhelming majority of caring people. And that we have it within our power to stay awake and intentionally grow into the kind of caring, loving, peaceful society that I believe, in our heart of hearts, we long to be.
Kathy Black is a life coach who believes that a life well-lived is based on inner awareness and self-love. A native Rhode Islander, she has ventured far and wide to expand her self-awareness -- from studying with a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk in Prague to living in a Hindu ashram in Australia to practicing New Thought philosophy here in RI. Kathy shares her life perspective at kathysblack.com as well as in the Thrive section of the Providence Journal.