Mid-town Manhattan was a pulsing stream of minds and hearts that day, pounding the pavement with unflinching determination. It is a system of moveable parts and either you are a part of that stream of humanity or you need to step aside, because there is no room for hesitation or foolishness. The machine of City Life is much bigger than all of us and seems to operate efficiently if it is fed the diet of “cooperation”.
When you have seen just about everything that one can possibly imagine on these streets, you tend to walk along in a bubble of solitude. Making eye contact is strictly “verboten”. As awful as that may sound, there is a certain amount of anonymity and freedom that occurs when everyone walks along with a “Do Not Disturb” sign around their necks. That day though, the walls of seclusion and privacy were about to be shattered for a lucky few.
The first high-pitched shriek came from a toddler in a baby stroller and as if they were in the thick of the Amazon jungle, the call went out and was echoed and answered by yet another young one in a carriage. The screams of acknowledgement of each other sounded primal, ape-like fists pounding against their tiny chests crying out in recognition. The babies had seen each other from afar, each snuggled comfortably in their chariots with their mothers at the helm. The mothers, whom apparently had no choice in the matter, were being lead onward by flailing arms and more squeaks and mumblings. The women were strangers to each other but driven by their children’s excitement, they quickly pushed their strollers closer and closer together, until the babies were finally face to face. I stopped in my tracks, a rock in the middle of a stream of people that were suddenly forced to flow around me. I watched and my heart began to open. These two old souls, delighting in their artistry and know-how, managed to meet up again in this life time and apparently had a lot to discuss. They squealed with happiness and jabbed at each other as if to say; “Can you believe this? What are YOU doing in this neighborhood?” As I watched the depth of communication and love that flowed between these two, I was suddenly transported to a place deep inside. I began to reclaim my humanness, my direct appreciation of qualities that we all have in common but over time, seem to bury. As they so innocently held court in the middle of this noisy jungle, I could tell that they had it all figured out. They were showing me and the others with eyes to see, the brilliance of life, the delight and the exuberance of life that is still there for the taking. How is it that we allow ourselves to forget this feeling? Why do we dull ourselves with more “important” things? I suddenly had a clearer perspective of how easy it was to be in tune with what really mattered and in that moment of understanding, I felt tears of love and appreciation. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that felt that wave of awareness shower over us because as I looked around at the others who were captivated by the moment, I could sense that we all seemed to “get it” at the same time … and that’s when the walls came tumbling down. On that teeming sidewalk filled with “strangers”, we all felt that unmistakeable thread of connection. For a New York minute, time had stopped for us and we stood there, openly consuming the life force that we were tapped into.
After a while it was time to move on. The babies had stopped their sharing and settled back into their buggies, probably having made plans to meet up again in twenty years. They seemed satisfied with their exchange and were ready to move forward and experience the next encounter that life had to offer. I too felt energized from the experience and with a renewed sense of excitement for life, hit the pavements once again, but this time, I felt open and ready to receive … with a most noticeable lightness of being.