Have you ever been so open walking down the street that you cry?

I was on the street the other day and was off in my own world, pondering my own sense of scarcity around money specifically. I was at the corner of 4th and mission waiting for the light. I was looking left and this guy came up to me on my right and asked, “Can you help me out?” and before I even looked at him I just said, “No.” And then as I was turning to look at him I said, as is my current practice in order to promote more people asking for what they need in the world fearlessly, “Thank you for asking.”

Then I took a look at him and I almost instantly started to cry. His manner was unassuming. He was polite in asking. He walked away and asked someone else when I said no.

He had no shoes on. His feet were black and rough looking.

I went into this cycle of thoughts around it and why my own immediate response was to say no. Lately I’ve been giving more frequently on the street. Not because I have more to give fiscally, but I have more openness to “feeling into” people’s experience and pain. And I remember what my friend Chris said to me years ago when I asked him why he gave so often. His
response was, “Because I would hope that if I were in that position, someone would give to me.”

What I also noticed was I was nearly debilitated by the experience. I’ve been doing so much work opening up in the last month that witnessing this man asking for help and shoeless had me crying before I was half a block away. My heart ached.

I ask:

How do you stay open and still stay functional without crying all the time or feeling sensations that stop you in your tracks? Maybe I’m just that sensitive. Thoughts?

About PoiPriestess

Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs has been a professional fire dancer and instructor since 2002 when she established her first flow arts education company, Temple of Poi, the premier poi school in the world. Since then, she has been working as a Priestess of Poi, teaching the ways of flow as a lifestyle choice. More details can be found on the about page on this site.