I’m in grief about what happened in my country this past week, and I felt moved to write.

I’ll get to it directly, but first….

Aysia&WannaTalk Lady in Central Park


A few weeks back Aysia and I were in NYC walking through Central Park. We saw this woman with two empty chairs and a sign, saying, Wanna Talk? Conversation $1.00

I sat down and gave her a dollar, and asked her why she did what she was doing. She said she was tired of complaining about how everyone seemed to be staring at their screens these days, instead of looking up and being present to each other. And she decided to do something positive about it, lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

Aysia and I spent fifteen minutes of quality time conversing with this woman, She was genuinely interested in us, especially Aysia! She asked questions brimming with caring and curiosity, and listened with the kind of listening that can only come from the heart.

When I was a child I was taught to be afraid of strangers. Or at least, wary. But here was this woman reaching out to strangers and creating moments of authentic human connection. Maybe a stranger is just someone you feel strange with. And maybe, when your heart is open, there is no such thing as a stranger.

Aysia, my seven year old self-esteem teacher and daughter, makes friends pretty quickly. She loves picking up little girls she just met and lifting them off the ground. I guess she is in touch with her human nature, and is not afraid of her species.



We grown ups might feel like we have valid reasons to sometimes feel afraid of our species. Like in the wake of the police shooting and shootings of last week, some are trembling.Some are angry.

I am grieving.

And I would like to be aware that I can bang my fists in judgment and respond with more fear disguised as aggression, adding my heated and righteous opinions to this situation, blaming those who resist gun control laws, judging those freaked out police or that tortured soul who turned to violence to protest. That may be my first reaction, but thankfully I know that blame is the ego’s attempt to manage pain, to find some semblance of power in the midst of a feeling of powerlessness.

But I am not powerless. I have choice. I can respond or react. And what I will do with my response is I will choose to be extra kind to people I meet, understanding that many are grieving, angry, hurting, and may have their guards up at this time.

My guard is down. I am defenseless. I will not defend a position or attack attack. I will not fight.

I want my daughter to grow up in a non-violent world, but it is not.

It has people who are so out of touch with their human nature that they turn to violence. And it also has many more people, more each day, who are lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness.

Aysia will find her way in the world. I have high hopes for her. She has her mother and her father role modeling love and kindness. Her mother is a nurse who helps bring babies into the world. Aysia sees me bringing joy to people’s hearts through music.

One day she will realize that their are sick people here sharing the planet with us, people who have forgotten who they are, and sometimes do violent things. And that we all are a little sick, or we wouldn’t be here.

And that sanity starts when we light candles instead of cursing the darkness.

If you, like me, are grieving the recent tragedies, please join me in responding with love instead of reacting with fear. That might mean giving and receiving extra hugs this week. It might mean slowing down from your usual pace and asking a neighbor with sincerity how they are doing.

Once the choice is made to light and to be that candle, you will naturally ask your Higher Self, “How can I be truly helpful?” From there love will guide you to your human nature. And you will know what to do. Your heart knows what to do. There are no strangers here. But there are many in need of conversations, who could use a little coaxing to look away from their screens. And maybe you can skip charging the dollar. Love is free.


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