This past Friday evening I opened my door to find a scared young woman standing in front of me. I had thought she was my son returning from playing soccer. I smiled at her in surprise and she moved backwards, as if I might hurt her. She held a clipboard and I had to hold back my immediate knee-jerk thought of “I’m not buying anything tonight.” Something told me to wait.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
The African American woman bundled in a big coat and wearing large sneakers shifted.
I looked at her quizzically.
“I’m not looking for a hand-out. See-”
She then began to explain that she was a single mom from San Diego and that she was going door to door in a well-to-do neighborhood to get out of her comfort zone. She had been trained to give people their space, why she backed up when talking with me. Whoever was her career adviser in San Diego wanted her to address strangers in a very different neighborhood for the experience and to boost her self confidence. She was selling children’s educational magazines for a women’s and children shelter in San Diego. They would help keep sad and scared children entertained. I was in. I bought one instantly. She would receive a little tip from my purchase.
“See, I’m doing all of this for my little boy.”
Just then my youngest came down the stairs and smiled at her and my oldest breezed past her and bounced inside and up the stairs saying “Hey” over his shoulder.
I smiled at her. She continued.
“It’s hard to do this.” She then looked toward all the mansions on the strand near my little surf shack.
“Not everyone answers the door do they?” I asked.
She said, “Nope.”
Then something miraculous happened. I sat down on the stairs and began a deep dialogue with this sweet woman.
I told her that I’d been a single mom since my youngest was 8 months old. She looked at me with wide eyes.
“We are the same aren’t we?”
I smiled at her. No, we aren’t. I haven’t been in a shelter. I have an ex who is supportive, even if far away. She is far more brave. But we are both seekers and we are both fighters and I am no better, just more lucky. But we are both deserving. She will find her way too.
She asked me for advice. I told her to know that she is deserving. To really feel that. If she can meditate to do that once a day, to do yoga if it’s offered, or do it online. No one on the strand, or anywhere else, is better than she is. She is a good mom, I could sense it. She started to tear up.
Then she looked at me and said again: “you and I, we are the same. No different.”
Nope, no different. Except, she may even be more powerful, more strong, more brave…I gave her my card and asked her to stay in touch. As she left, she called over her shoulder: “Don’t forget me!”
How can I?
Later that evening, I recalled this quote from Sri Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian guru that yogis often quote. I rarely quote him because his personal life was strife with conflict and allegations of abuse. But I’ve come to realize that the beauty of art often stands alone and apart from the artist, as if given from a Divine source. I think this quote of his represents that idea: “I am you, you are ME. You are the waves; I am the ocean. Know this and be free, be divine.”
Another favorite quote in that vein:
“I am you and you are me. We are alone, but not alone. We are trapped by time, but also infinite. Made of flesh, but also stars.” ~ Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
Wherever she is, I hope she reads this and knows that she is a divine soul imbued with dignity and the right to hold her head high and to pursue any avenue to success.
She reminded me on Friday that no matter what stress is in my life right now, I’ve been through worse, and can dig deep again. So it is with much gratitude that I write this post. Her visit also reminded me that the director of a women’s and children’s shelter in LA asked me to volunteer a yoga and meditation class once a month. I had forgotten to get back to her with so much going on in my life. So I did. It’s vital that I give back and help others realize their worth, especially after all that I have overcome. Knowing that you are deserving is most of the battle. Forgiveness, gratitude are also essential tools. So, I’m thankful to give back and help keep a ripple of gratitude and abundance flowing. We may not be exactly the same, but we are one. We are all deserving of love, of abundance, of respect, of health. This I know for sure.
Have a beautiful day. xo