Today I was riding home on the train from a lovely lunch with a friend when a woman stepped on board. I was sitting right next to the stairs, and I immediately felt her as she came on. She stayed on the stairs for some time -- a little out of it, a little uneasy. As the train began moving, she stepped up, wobbly, and looked around for a place to sit. As she grabbed the pole near my face, I noticed that her sleeve was covered in something. And as she turned toward me, I noticed that that "something" was vomit, and it was not only on her sleeve, but all over the front of her shirt. She clutched a plastic mug as if it were the most valuable thing in the world. To her, possibly, it was. I followed her with my gaze as she stumbled down the train car. People looked worried, disgusted. They removed themselves from her path. A man even got out of his seat and changed cars. She took the empty seat. I watched as she sat down and her body relaxed. My heart ached for this woman. I closed my eyes and allowed my heart to fill with love for this human with whom I am sharing an existence.
The man next to her got up. Perhaps it was too much for him? Another man sat down. As soon as he did, the woman leaned onto him. He allowed it. They sat that way for several minutes -- physically connected.
I began to weep. I saw that this woman was me and that I was this woman. That all any of us are looking for is love. That inside this old woman covered in her own throw up is a small child longing for affection and comfort.
It is time for us to all wake up to the reality that is around us. It is time for us to stop making these people the "other." You are the homeless man on the street corner begging for food. You are the woman with the screaming baby on the plane. You are the man masking his own pain with drug addiction. The woman selling her body so she can pay the rent.
Open your eyes, open your heart. Allow the love and compassion within you to shift this existence. We're all in it together.