Warm People

199653_336834623072895_1424427983_nMy practice is making me more aware that sharing warmth doesn’t always come naturally for me, and when I meet a warm person I’m kind of in awe. Just like the accumulation of impurity, I’m hyper-aware of all the purity that may have touched a person, and fascinated to ponder it’s source… was it their parents? Schooling? Community? I’d like to think I’m warmer as a result of Vipassana, but it’s kind of hard to tell because I can’t actually receive myself; however, I am certain I interact with more lightness, peace and relaxation.

At times, I’ve been put on the spot to give a spontaneous blessing; to a stranger at Burningman, during a Christmas tradition, or as a heartfelt good-bye when parting ways. In the past, it seemed I just couldn’t get out of my head and into my heart fast enough; the blessing would be delayed and awkward or even panicky when I felt completely lost for words. Afterwards I’d forget about it; or tell myself it’s just not my style, I’m introverted, and the right people will know how much I care.

Recently I was anticipating a good-bye to someone I haven’t known for that long, but  came to like very much. This time, though completely in my heart, I still failed to translate all of what I felt into words of gratitude. I also noticed there was a little feeling of embarrassment present; maybe because I was anticipating that I wouldn’t be as warm as she was. It seems that some people love and trust so easily, simply because they’ve grown in a climate of love and trust. I seem to attract many of these people into my life; perhaps it’s because they’re the ones who can best disarm me.

I’m now realizing I’d like to melt the ice, and in more difficult situations too! Particularly, in circumstances where someone’s trying to assert a boundary with me, or I with them…I want to stay warm, but still maintain and respect these boundaries…it’s pretty hard! However, I’m starting to notice the opportunities that come with a peaceful heart. The other day I felt randomly inspired to write a warm letter to someone who previously stole from me; instead of bringing up the past I offered him the chance to help me now. At first I thought my letter was ignored, but then after a few days he surprised me by honoring my request! I now feel a just little more confident to warmly present my pure intentions; next time, maybe across a wider and more sensitive boundary.

Art by: Tomasz Alen Kopera

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This entry was posted in Observations, Personal Experiences and tagged , , by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

3 thoughts on “Warm People

  1. Very warm post! Ya got to me… thanks for being willing to share that! I think maybe vulnerability is the key to warmth… along with the peaceful heart you mentioned.

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  2. I agree vulnerability is very key, and it is a very vast topic in and of itself. Dr. Brene Brown says it’s the key to connection. Though, I also want to work on staying warm even when I don’t want to make a deep or permanent connection, or when someone is letting me know they don’t want that much connection with me….this I find to be one of my greatest challenges.

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