Translated by Sue Moore. All my gratitude to her
15 March 2057
Today is my birthday. I’m 7 years old. Great Grandma came to see me and gave me the most beautiful present she could give me. Actually, she arrived at home without any package, neither small nor big, and to tell the truth, at that particular moment I was disappointed. I thought she’d forgotten, she’s more than 100 now, even though she doesn’t show her age, and each day she seems more youthful than the day before.
She just asked me if I felt like going for a walk with her in the wood. I love going into the wood, there are always so many beautiful things to see, smell, touch, eat and listen to. Also, she has an eye for detail, every time she discovers something magical. Who knows what we will discover today, I thought, whilst we headed towards the wood behind home.
We walked for a good while, almost always in silence, venturing further into the forest, even further than I’d yet been with Mum and Dad. Great Grandma walked with stable steps with her gaze straight ahead, I had the impression that she knew exactly where she was going. She held my hand, I felt safe with her, even though the wood was becoming more and more dense and dark.
At a certain point I asked her: “Great Grandma where are we going? If I were alone I think I would die of fright, the trees are becoming thicker and thicker and the sun’s rays are struggling to arrive this far.”
“We are nearly here. Do you remember the question you asked me the other day? About how, at the time of the Corona Virus, we managed to stay separated so many days, almost constantly shut at home. How you managed to come out of the crisis? Remember that I didn’t reply to you and I promised you that I would at another time? The time is now. 7 years are an important passage and what I’m about to reveal to you is a gift worthy of such a milestone. In fact, they are two gifts – cherish them for the rest of your life. I can give them to you and I do so with much joy because you had the courage to ask. And as a great Man said very long ago: ask and it will be given to you. There, we’ve arrived. Let’s sit here.”
We had arrived at a big oak, the only one in that part of the wood. At its feet were two small flat rocks covered in a soft moss in an intense and sultry green, at least a metre away from each other, with some magnificent cyclamens between them. I hadn’t seen them before. Sometimes I think Great Grandma does magic, or maybe she simply has an eye trained to unearth the beauty around her.
We sat opposite each other on the rocks. Great Grandma told me to close my eyes and imagine being alone in the thick part of the wood. I closed my eyes and imagined myself alone.
“What do you feel?”
“Where do you feel it?”
“In my stomach, it’s completely closed … and also in my throat, it’s all tight”. I knew perfectly that Great Grandma was with me and that she would never leave me. But I was scared and when I’m scared I can’t even use telepathy and connect with her as I’m learning to do.
“Stay a while with these feelings, stay in contact with your body, breath. Be, BE WITH WHAT IS. Let it be. BE, be with your closed stomach and your tight throat. Breathe”.
I breathe. I am. I no longer think about the wood, or about Great Grandma. I am. I am completely with the feelings of the fear in my body.
I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.
My throat softens a bit. My stomach is closed.
I breathe. I breathe. I breathe. I am with what is.
I seem to enter a place within myself that I don’t know. A bit tight initially. It’s dark. Little by little it becomes bigger and bigger. It’s still dark but I have the clear sensation that it is expanding and starting to be lit up here and there by little lights. They seem like stars. They are all over now. There are so many of them, shining, each with its own and unique colour. I realise that I am a light too, similar to and different from those around me. It’s all harmony and beauty that I have never seen or known before. I smile, as a light can smile. I feel Me and I feel the All and there is no difference. Peace. Love. Harmony. Beauty. Freedom.
I don’t know how long it lasted. At a certain point I heard Great Grandma’s warm voice, I have the feeling that it came from very far away. “Mudita, little by little come back to feel present in your body”
Gradually I find my breath, feel my hands, feel my feet on the earth, the support of the soft moss.
“Stay a little longer with your eyes closed. What can you feel? How is your stomach? How is your throat”
“My stomach feels soft, happy I would say. And even my throat is so free that it could sing with joy” I reply to her keeping my eyes closed. This had already happened to me other times, meditating in the morning with my friends, after hugs and before artistic activities, feeling expansive and free. But then it was after hugs, and now I had started off from a horrible sensation of fear.
“Take some breaths and when you feel like it let your eyelids open little by little and allow the images of the outside world to enter gently.” When I opened my eyes, everything was much lighter and clearer than before with Great Grandma’s wonderful smile welcoming me back. We gazed into each other’s eyes for a long time, telling each other in silence much more than could be said in a thousand words. Then we hugged each other for a long time.
“Come on, let’s make our way home – Mum and the others will be waiting for us there for your birthday lunch. I’ll tell you more on the way”.
On the way back, Great Grandma told me that to come out of the Corona Virus crisis, first and foremost each person had to face themselves. Fear, vulnerability, fragility, death and solitude were emotions and states of mind that society at that time had painstakingly avoided, dodged, steered clear of, glossed over, attempted to erase from daily life. That sudden stop had pushed people to recover authenticity within themselves, with others and with the Earth.
To do this they used two powerful means.
The first had been what I had just experienced: Being with what is, for as long as it takes without running away, without judgement, without pretending, without projecting yourself into tomorrow, or clinging onto the past. Being with each emotion, including the most unpleasant ones. Being with the help of …
“I know – I said at that point – the body and the breath.”
“Exactly: body and breath. Magical tools that we all have always available to us”
“Great Grandma thank you for teaching me this. My stomach and my throat were really very small and hard and then, staying with that, everything was transformed. It was like magic. So, the first tool is “being with what is for as long as it takes”. And the second?”
“I’ll tell you after lunch. We’ve already arrived home. Let’s wash our hands, then time to eat!”
Will you come and have lunch with us? At our house there’s always space. And then you can hear what the second method they used was.
Wash your hands first though!
NOTE: This is the 4th of five tales. You can read all the five here