The movement of the fire burning in the chiminea behind me creates a complex dance of shadows on the side of the house. The warmth and energy of the fire matches my excitement as I engage in an animated conversation with a new friend. We stand close so we can hear each other talk over the other conversations going on around us. We share painful and wonderful life experiences alike and explore the way in which these experiences have informed our personal change and growth. We express delight about the magic we invite into our daily lives. We talk about our intention to be authentic by freely speaking our truth. I feel nourished by our sharing. It is as if I’d eaten a delicious and satisfying meal.

To others, we may simply look like two people chatting at a friend’s birthday celebration. However, I know it to be different. I know that we each approached our conversation with an open heart, which allowed a deep and meaningful connection. We spoke without censor and in this, I feel great pleasure and pride. As you likely know, to move through the world with an open heart can be a challenge. But it is a risk with great reward.

There was a time in my life when I often felt lonely and alone. I’m happy to say that these feelings are long past. As I uncover and discover myself, I have more to share with others and these contributions are more often profound. Whether the bond we form is for the moment or for a lifetime, I am transformed and humbled by the majesty of the human spirit. This is the best gift we can give to ourselves and to each other. Let’s pass it on.