When I volunteer in prison, it includes both group and individual sessions. The pastorals are rich, meaningful, and sometimes difficult. The stories I hear—real stories from real people—are heartbreaking. I try to be a mirror for the inmates. I let them know where they’ve grown and changed and how their meditation practice inspires me. I look them in the eyes and speak this from my heart. Almost always, it brings an inmate to tears, even the biggest, toughest guys. Seeing his own goodness reflected back at him is a revelation. Rarely is he told the ways he’s good, wise, and inspiring.
Like these inmates, I need my own mirrors: friends who support me when I’m caught in fear or doubt. People who reflect back to me the big leaps I’ve taken, the lives I’ve impacted, and the special qualities of my work. Like many, I judge myself most harshly, so it’s helpful when others send a softer, more truthful message. A reality check, not from an effusive place but from a heartfelt place.
We can all look more closely at the people in our lives. They have goodness and light inside them. It radiates in different (sometimes surprising) ways, but it’s there in everyone. What is this person’s special quality? What do I really appreciate about him? How does her unique light shine? These are things we can share with each other. Our lives are wondrous, short, and precious. There’s no reason to hold back: Tell people why and how you love them; spread gratitude and appreciation; share from an open heart.
[This post is part of my Truth Tuesday series, which appears weekly on Facebook.]