The last couple of weeks I’ve been listening. I’ve ducked my head away and hidden from the world at large. In doing this, I stopped forcing my path and allowed what to be, to become. I’ve been at a fork in limbo and now things are starting to be revealed. At first I doubt my path, thinking maybe I turned in the wrong direction or made a mistake because this life isn’t as easy as the one I envisioned for myself. Then I look around and hear ideas I’ve never thought about. Such as from this visual artist who I’ve met a handful of times and his art is inspiring and beautiful within the peaceful chaos it provokes. I told him I was overwhelmed and unable to focus while at an event. His sincere tone in the reply brought me to the present. He shared his theory of 10 seconds, where if you only think about the next 10 seconds you have no choice but to remain present. He further explained that as a mental exercise it’s helpful to tune out from anything that isn’t relevant to the next 10 seconds. I zeroed my focus in and listened, becoming aware of his theory and succeeding in understanding this perspective. If I can remain present, everything becomes simplified, fear and anxiety fade and what’s important remains.

Some of my favorite things that have kept me going through this year in material hardship are the thoughtful nuggets I’ve received from strangers, many of whom I’ve met randomly and had only one conversation that could only happen in a present moment. I tend to regurgitate these lessons received in poems that encourage me to ponder deeper and connect dots I am only just beginning to understand about the flow of energy and the workings of the universe.

During an event on Friday night, a girl who I had never met handed me a love letter which she had focused on my themed prompt for the night: What Makes You Wealthy? In her letter she wrote she needed to run properly, that what makes her wealthy is different from others, that the people she surrounds herself with and the things we can all laugh about and even deeper, the endless mystery, makes her wealthy forever. It was a beautiful rendition that reminded me of the impact that these conversations with strangers has had on me. This impact has a feel to it, like coming home.

This morning I woke up from a dream I cannot remember, only two words stuck as I opened my eyes. Free Love. And I’ve been untangling these words and meanings in reference to what else I’ve retained in my memories.

Free Love. Love is free. It costs nothing to give or receive. Love is nothing unless shared, it means nothing without freedom. Freedom is the ability to express oneself honestly. How can we remain honest in each moment, this way to true love.

Conversations with strangers is the ultimate expression in Free Love. Where an exchange requires no ties, no expectations and the beginning is also the conclusion. Both sides walk away forever changed, never knowing what may grow from the interaction. And days, months or maybe years later the seed sprouts and inspiration makes sense. This is my own definition or semblance of what keeps me present, a calling to Free Love and what may come from our interactions of honest living.

In turning a page and starting a new chapter this week, I encourage you to converse with your thoughts, with a stranger and interact with love. And share if you wish in the comments or in your own way. Let’s freely express love in whatever way feels honest.