She is taking a workshop she explains and needs to tell a stranger a secret. She and the stranger should then exchange numbers and if the stranger wants they too can share a secret. Can she tell me her secret? I look at her and in a fraction of a second so many thoughts flip through my brain and my instinct takes over. I look at her face and my answer is yes.
She explains a little and then tells me her secret. Her secret comes from a place of pain and fear. I listen to her. Because of the work I used to do in New York I know her fear is a real one and statistically the odds are on the side of her fear being realized. Her face is soft, wounded, open. I do not know if I should offer my thoughts – perhaps she only needed to be witnessed.
I am not sure about any workshop that asks you to take your deepest fear and confess it to a stranger on the street. Perhaps this is something better suited to the person who loves and understands you most or a highly trained and skilled professional. But what I have noticed is that there is such a thirst here in İstanbul in people from all walks of life for spiritual growth and healing. Everyone, everywhere, all the time. I don’t remember New York being like this, although it is true that you attract who and what is energetically like you. Perhaps this deep-rooted fear, this courage to face it and trust in a total stranger is what I am seeing now reflected in her face.
I ask her if I may offer my thoughts – and I do. She closes her eyes and opens them. The fear is still there, but there is also relief. Then she asks me a question that in the past would have felt like being pushed off a cliff. When I answer it I am in a place of peace. I guess I have faced this fear enough times to be close to accepting it. I guess the more and more you face your fears, the less fearful it becomes. Perhaps it doesn’t matter who you face your fears with - stranger or friend – as long as you face them.
Now she asks me if I will share a secret with her. Yes. I will. And when I do her face blooms like a flower. It is not a smile, but a look of peace, of acceptance.
“But this is wonderful,” she says.
“Yes, I know. Thank you.”
We exchange numbers and then I ask her name. Both our names have four letters and begin with an ‘A’. I put her number in my purse and she does the same with mine. We say goodbye and I keep thinking of her and our exchange. I go to Bim to buy the colored cleaning cloths and on the way home it stops raining.