People mill about the magazine rack near my cozy chair at Barnes and Noble. In between chapters, I send them silent love bombs. I hope, somehow, their day is brightened. That they feel unexpected relief. I especially focus on the grumpier sorts, or the two loud women, or the dude who’s a bouquet of cigarette smoke, or the crying child and angry mum (my personal fave).
On the other side of the rack, a scrawny pair of corduroy legs with a metal cane catches my eye. I feel . . . a bond. For years, I was convinced that my dwarfed, arthritic body could only bring me rejection and pain. Eventually, I’d realized I’d adopted those practices toward myself. Ouch. I wonder if the tired corduroys have done the same.
Silently, I begin the Prayer of Thy Healing Angels from Lorna Byrne. I started this habit a while ago when I realized how disconnected I felt from the world. I’d reserved my energy for a small circle of friends and family. But there was suffering all around and I felt powerless to help. I was not particularly philanthropic. Activists made me squirm.
Years of soul-searching, though, left me with a deeper compassion for myself and so a growing empathy for others. Even the chowderheads. The very least I could do was send them light.
I’d thought my love bombs would be altruistic. Then a weird thing happened. It was helping me. Comforting me.
I was trying to be selfless, darn it. Making up for lost time. So I added more ‘tangible’ random acts of kindness. I paid for people’s car tolls. I bought little kid’s “art” at craft fairs. I waved cars out in front of my car. I let people go ahead of me in grocery store lines (especially moms with kids). It all felt awesome. For me. Hm.
When family or friends would ask me to keep a certain person in my prayers, I’d always believed it was to help them. It took me awhile to realize that when I reached out with positive thoughts, I was likewise feeling calmed, cherished, elevated.
This is good news for the insecure, self-serving, distracted parts of us that don’t want to give unless it’s reciprocal. It turns out that it is always reciprocal. Fire at will.
The man uneasily squats down in front of the magazines. I feel a familiar rush – envy and amazement. My whole life, I’ve ached to do deep knee bends. At night, sometimes I dream I can hug my knees to my chest, kneel, straighten my arms, tie my own shoes, or some other Olympian feat. Such indescribable joys! Then I wake up.
A sadness follows me for a while. It takes time to adjust my antenna back to what I can do.
Sir Corduroy rises out of his Herculean squat. As he steadies his wobbliness, I quietly cheer. Those legs aren’t as nifty as some, but they’re doing the best they can. I bless his regal body. Then I realize, with surprise, I’m appreciating my own.
I’ve come to love this cherub bod far more than I ever thought possible. Wow. She won’t win any beauty contests or marathons. She won’t be dazzling any runways or airbrushed on the pages of Vogue. She’s a broken down vehicle in a showroom of BMWs. She turns heads for all the hard reasons. But she’s my bombshell anyway. She’s gone the whole freakin’ distance with me and for me. She’s beautiful for all the right reasons.
My dear body has been a relentless teacher. She’s a megaphone for what matters and she’s a barometer for when I forget. She’s my home on this earthly adventure my spirit longed to explore. She lets me take a crack at loving the ‘unlovable.’ She asks for compassion in the midst of pain, surgery and lifelong scars.
Sometimes, I sulk over an old wound. I freak about the future. There are days when my knee swells up or my shoulders hurt from typing, painting or sleeping. Then I remember the simple practice. It’s free and painless – I take my mind off my problems by praying for friends and strangers. Taking a vacation from my noisy complaints, fears, and impending doom heals the distance between us. It summons the soul.
In my periphery, as I watch cane and corduroys limp away, my eyes tear. I feel a new tenderness for myself, through him. I remember how far I’ve come. Life has bombed me back.
So when loss knocks at my door, a health issue barges in, the government divides, a friend walks away, a relationship ends, money is scarce, hope dies or my dinner burns, I lean into the light. I shift my incendiary BS (belief system) away from “I’m separate and alone” and remember my dreams are interwoven with yours.
Whatever we give, we get to keep.
Whether you pass a car accident or you’re stuck in traffic – whether you have to see the doctor, lawyer, or your ex – whether you’re in pain or you’re being a pain, load up on love bombs. Go nuclear. It will bless your own burns.
Begin with the next person you see or think of. Nail ‘em with light. Then open your catcher’s mitt. It’s coming back home, brighter than before.
Bombs away people.
with lotsa love & ginormous joy,