You tell me we don’t have a choice
But to be who we are
And to live the way we do.
I believe that we always have a choice.
If a conflict comes between us,
I won’t choose bitterness and hate.
I choose to still love you without expectation:
To hold you in my thoughts with kindness and forgiveness,
And wish you to be well and happy.
If I see you suffering and filled with worry,
I won’t choose frustration and anxiety.
I choose to have compassion for you:
To open my heart to you,
And draw you into my safety and calmness.
If you become fortunate and successful,
I won’t choose jealously and selfishness.
I choose to be happy for you:
To share whatever I have with you,
So you can become even more fortunate and successful.
And if after all this and nothing eases your unhappiness,
I won’t choose anger or indifference.
I choose peace and equanimity:
To give you the freedom to walk your own path,
While I walk beside you until you’re ready to take my hand again.
* There is a practice in Buddhism where we develop the Four Immeasurable Minds: our unconditional love, great compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. This poem is to honour these transformative qualities that have the potential to not only open our own hearts and that of others, but it nurtures the beautiful space between you and I.
* Photo: an Egyptian woman kissing the cheek of a policeman during the revolution against the Mubarek Government. An act of love amidst war.