“I never wear flats. My shoes are so high that sometimes when I step out of them, people look around in confusion and ask, “Where’d she go?” and I have to say, “I’m down here.”

― Marian Keyes

As I have shared before, I have a thing about heels…I’m 5 foot 2 inches, so the higher they are, the better. Almost like clockwork at some point in my day’s journey, someone will compliment my shoes, but more than likely, I will hear: “I don’t know how you walk in those things.” Usually, I will smile my best Mona Lisa and keep walking. Lately, I have been thinking…do any of us really know what it is like to walk in another’s shoes?

With all that is happening in the world of the 24-hour news cycle, it is realistic to say we are united in feeling a bit overwhelmed. That hopeful feeling that there was a light at the end of the tunnel understandably has faded. While this might feel extraordinarily depressing, and believe me, I have had many dark nights of the soul in 2020; this moment could be our finest hour. We could emerge as the next greatest generation who pulled through to make our world better than it ever has been. Why do I believe this lofty idea is possible?

There is a word I keep hearing in conversations again and again…empathy. It is a word that comes from Greek origin, meaning in feeling.   When we enter the space of feeling with and for one another, we can more easily share the burden and hold each other in love. It comes from the same roots as pathos, which means what befalls one, and when we can respect that suffering of another and give compassion instead of judgment, we find our way to a new understanding. We give birth to a middle path where we can meet not as adversaries, but as human beings connected by the common thread of life.

We are all blessed and burdened by different circumstances, and we have often heard that the grass only seems greener in someone else’s life. My campaign experience taught me so much, but one of those key learnings was truly seeing what was happening in the political spectrum. I can honestly tell you that I do not believe any one person can save us, or even the whole bunch of them. That isn’t what they are after. Call me jaded, but I saw too much and continue to see too much. My heart knows that if this ship is going to turn around, it is up to us. It can be reaching out to our neighbors, calling up an old friend, or reconnecting with the family to see if everyone is alright. It can be stopping by a shop to see if the owner is okay, and if there is anything that can be done…even just buying a coffee so they know you support them as much as you can. Looking kindly upon each other and appreciating the services that are given no matter how small. Appreciation is the secret to creating an abundance that is bigger than the stock market could ever fathom.

I lost everything at one point in my life (at least it felt that way), and yet I had to find the courage to get back up and out there. I know it is scary because it can absolutely happen, and we may go through tough times again. The saving grace was to have close friends and even strangers reach out and ask what they could do to help. If you don’t have money, you have ears to listen. If you can’t hear, you have a smile to shine. If you have money but not happiness, then spread your money like seeds so new things can grow. It doesn’t matter who is Republican, Democrat, or something else. What is needed in this country is the ability to see through the eyes of another and take a walk alongside someone who may be having a tough time. And remember, some of us are actors, and we like to pretend we have it all together. Give a word of encouragement or love anyway. I promise it will not be wasted, and when you see that person kicking up their heels, you will know you changed a life even just for a day.

Image credit Vince Moro, Château Rieutort, Saint-Pargoire, France. October 2019. I pray someday we can go back to see our friends there. The world is a beautiful place if we enter through the heart.

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