by Judith Fein
There’s this organ in the middle of my chest that obliges me every second of every day by beating. It can be wounded, disarmed and stunned, but it keeps on doing its job. And it only asks me for one thing in return: “stay open,” it whispers. “Just stay open.”
Maybe at one point in time it was a real effort. I think I recall suspicions I harbored and some swirling fears. But, over the years, my heart does its job and I do mine. It beats, I stay open. Not all the time—because there are hurts that catch me off guard and cause me to recoil—but, as a rule, I stay exposed in life.
The risk, as you can imagine, is pain. The reward is pleasure, connection, and the ability to feel freely. I have weighed risk and reward and come down on the side of the latter.
My heart and I have traveled widely, and when someone asks me what my favorite country is I generally answer, “the last one I visited.” I am moved by the generosity, quirkiness and depth of the people I meet on the road. I love their cultures and customs and the unique way they navigate life.