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Inner Peace: Transforming jealousy produces a heartfelt smile

“I'm jealous of you! I knew you were coming. Others were talking about it. I've heard about you and I am jealous. You always bring good cheer. I always bring people down. Maybe because I tell the truth but everyone gets down when they are around me.”

It was Christmas Eve, 2015. I was at the temporary homeless shelter dressed as the Christmas Fairy, having raised enough donations to put together a package for each of 36 homeless persons filled with thick sox, fleece lined hat, fleece scarf, protein bar, dried mango, fig bars, homemade baked goods, peanuts, three different kinds of crackers, cough/cold lozenges, Emergen-C packets and more.

My son, who was visiting from Los Angeles, was carrying the box of packages I'd prepared to hand deliver to each person that evening. My intention and approach was to look into each person's eyes, share a short discussion and touch each person, some on the arm or shoulder, some who wanted to share a hug.

As I approached the man who told me he was jealous, I knew he had something to say before he spoke. He was leaning toward me with a suspicious look in his eye, missing teeth and a loud voice. He reached out to receive his bag, and then began gruffly telling me he was jealous of me.

As you can imagine, it was an unlikely kind of introduction to a conversation, especially on Christmas Eve. But there was something I liked about it. The man's honesty was absolutely refreshing. I listened to what he had to say. Then I spoke.

“I am glad you heard about me coming tonight and spreading good cheer. It is a choice I make because I feel better when I do it and others benefit from the ripple effect.”

The homeless man cocked his head back abruptly, and then brought it back center and right in front of my face. He looked straight into my eyes. The connection was direct and very present in that moment. The sounds of the shelter faded into the background. Nothing else existed except this conversation.

I expressed liking his honesty and spoke about how I have made the choice to have a brightness in my heart that I enjoy sharing. He listened as he clasped the Xmas package I'd prepared now tucked into his solar plexus area. It was as if he was holding onto that gift for dear life ... or fear of it being taken from him.

Our faces were in close proximity of one another, neither of us afraid of being in one another's face. An intuitive flash popped into my mind and I knew I could help this homeless man understand how to be happier in his heart. I told him that my heart smiles a lot. He cocked his head once again in a way that I knew he was taking in what I was saying. Then I told him I feel the smile in my heart after I smile with my lips.

A sense of openness permeated the conversation which led me to feel comfortable reaching up to the corner of his mouth and touching it with my index finger. Just as my finger touched him, I encouraged him to smile as I gave a big warm smile to him. Then I touched his heart with my other hand and said, “When you smile, feel it in your heart.”

Immediately, he smiled a soft beautiful smile and nodded as he felt it spread to his heart. The grace of inner peace flowed through our heart smiling connection.

I thanked him for spreading good cheer with his heart to me. The smile lingered on his face. He thanked me for bringing gifts and good cheer. He was no longer jealous.

It was a very special magic that occurred in those rare few moments with the homeless man. My heart felt joy from such a meaningful exchange. Goodwill has a special way of touching the human spirit on both the giving and receiving ends. I am grateful.

Janai Mestrovich, aka Grandma Boom, lives in Ashland with books at Bloomsbury, Renaissance Rose and Amazon.com and www.grandmaboom.com See her Awesome Aging blog at www.dailytidings.com.