How to blast open a heart, in a quiet way

In a quest to find more joy in the tedious rhythm of life as a new mother, Samantha Reynolds vowed to write a poem every day to train herself to observe the world around her. That was 10 years ago, and @bentlily never stopped.

Last week, her instagram poem, blasted a little moment of joy into my morning. I wanted to share it here, as a reminder that the tiniest gestures of noticing, of paying attention to each other, of attending to each other – even from behind a mask, or from beneath all the burdens of your day or life right now – can cause chest-bloom, that marvellous feeling of heart-opening-up that arises from being truly seen… that feeling that all life must get when the sunlight hits it. Warm, tingly, alive.


I came back to the grocery store
a few hours later
to get some extra things,
wearing a jacket this time 
because it was colder
and my hair in a bun
because I was done with work for the day.

And yet he recognized me,
the cashier.

“You were here earlier,” he said, 
in the friendly way a person
would comment to a stranger
about unusual weather.

I asked him,
from behind my mask,
if he had developed a sharper memory
for people’s eyes,
since they’re all he sees.

“No, it’s their hands,” he said.
“You place your groceries
down so peacefully.”

And what I wanted to say
was how did you blast open my heart
in such a quiet way.

But I just smiled
behind my mask,
and said “thank you,”
aching to know
how my hands looked now
that they felt 
so seen.

~ bentlily

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