Even though much of my work is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to write, and this is the place for that. Feel free to join in the conversation. Thanks for reading.
In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask:
in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik?
or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh?
How is your haal?
What is this haal that you inquire about?
It is the transient state of one’s heart.
In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?”
When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.
I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list,
nor asking how many items are in your inbox.
I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment.
Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching,
tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch.
Examine your own heart, explore your soul,
and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.
Tell me you remember you are still a human being,
not just a human doing.
Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list.
Have that conversation, that glance, that touch.
Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.
Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye,
and connect with me for one second.
Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart.
Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being,
a human being who also craves a human touch.
OMID SAFI, ON BEING
How is your HAAL? What gives you great joy? What makes your heart ache?
It’s been quite a week for my heart. Riding the waves of teenagers, struggling to understand yet another suicide, hearing yet another horrific homicide (this couple dropped their six-month-old off at grandma’s before shooting) … and before that, savoring a “soup share” where women who circle with me came together, shared soup and stayed for hours, engaged by juicy conversation. Sure the soup was delicious, but the dialogue - the heart-share - even moreso. This week friends called out of the blue to talk (so happy I chose not to be too busy to answer!) and I participated in online conversations that expanded my otherwise aching/breaking heart. With each connection, I felt seen and heard; and I gave the gift of listening and seeing.
There is truly no better gift we humans can give each other than our presence. Our unhurried, focused, heartfelt presence. We heal each other with our HAAL.
A beautiful woman in my town died alone in her Volvo this week, after “missing” for four long, scary days. Her three children will no doubt be burdened for life wondering WHY she left. I bear a heavy heart wondering why we did not take time to look deeply into her eyes and tend to the state of her breaking heart.
Were we too afraid of her darkness?
Too worried what to say if we felt her pain?
Or simply too busy to notice her HAAL?
I believe that the secret to world peace lies in our hearts. I can attest to my week of sharing heartfelt worries and wonderings. It uplifted me and all involved, whether 1:1 walking, 15 minutes on the phone, or a two hourlong teleconference with half a dozen amazing people I’ve not yet met. Science tells us our hearts are 5,000 times more powerful than our brains. Consider putting down the TO DO list for a time to practice how you want to BE and FEEL. Let’s tap the power of our hearts, together.
Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with us.
Although most of the work I am privileged to do in the world is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to put some words to my experience, and this is the landing place. Chime in the conversation. Your voice is needed.