Back in my late twenties, when my biggest concern was which cute outfit to wear to which bar, my friends and I were hanging out down in Port Jefferson, NY.
Port Jeff is a beautiful little seaside town on Long Island with a pretty little Main Street dotted with pretty little boutiques, restaurants, lots of people and of course, bars.
He must have been in his late 60's. He was tall and slender and grey-haired and didn't fit in with this crowd at all. It was his age and maybe his height that originally drew my eye to his vicinity, but that wasn't what held my gaze. What captivated me about this man was the expression on his face.
His lips were curled up slightly at the corners of his mouth in a peaceful smile. His eyes were smiling as he watched the people in the bar. He was relaxed, calm, serene, like Buddah sitting on a lotus. I watched him like this for an hour. He was like nothing I had ever seen and I was captivated.
Eventually, my Bud Light got the best of me as did my curiosity and I decided that I had to go talk to this man. "Excuse me, sir? I began, "my friends and I have been watching you over there for awhile. You look so happy and peaceful, so I have to ask, did you win the lottery?" "Ha!" he laughed, "no I wish" he said. I just really enjoy watching young people" he said.
But an hour later, this guy was still smiling! Still looking peaceful. Still! I couldn't resist. I was drawn back over once again, led by my curiosity. "Are you sure you haven't perhaps found the secret of life?" I jokingly asked him. "Oh... that I know," he said with a glimmer in his eye. Now I was really intrigued. "Would you consider sharing?" I mused. "Of course" he said and his kind light blue eyes looked in mine...
"Be good to yourself" he said.
Wow. I didn't know what to say. I quickly thanked him and went back to my circle of friends, but I was a little shaken.
I was not good to myself. I drank, I smoked and I stayed up too late. I was hard on myself. I judged myself harshly all the time as many young girls do. I thought I should be thinner or taller or prettier or that my skin wasn't clear enough, my teeth weren't white enough. I judged myself constantly. Could he see that? Did he know?
I didn't talk to him again after that. I think he might have left shortly after our conversation. But I think about that night and that man frequently, still. It was quite a few years ago now, but it's still as fresh in my mind as the day it happened. Was he just a wise man sitting in a bar or was he my own personal messenger? I'll never know for sure. Nevertheless, I think he would be pleased to know that I have learned how to be good to myself and that I'm passing on his message to you. Namaste.