little girl cyclistElla appeared last Monday in our self-compassion group. Stephan had read Rumi’s poem “What was said to the rose” and paused to ask us: “What do you think was said to the rose that made it open? And to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil that makes them so handsome?”  Then Ella appeared. In my mind that is.

Ella is our neighbor and a blond beauty. I met her in the street last winter, she looked like a little Michelin man in her snowsuit holding her grandmothers hand. That hand was essential, since Ella could not walk alone at the time. None of them saw me. Ella was looking at her grandmother and her grandmother was looking at Ella, both delighted with what they saw. “Ella-Ella, Ella-Ella”, her grandmother softly sang without cessation. They stopped just before they bumped into me and Ella’s grandmother introduced us. “This is Ella” she said. But she might as well have said “this is the most wonderful person in the world”.  It was in her voice and her face, in the way she gently swung Ella’s arm as they proceeded down the street. “Ella – Ella, Ella – Ella”….

You have the right to be here

Not long ago we met Ella on bike. She had not yet learned to stop or turn, so as she flew towards us in great pace, every inch of her body alive, she happily shouted: “Get out of my way! Get out of my way” And so we did. Happily. What else can one do in the face of a being so grounded in her birthright? The right to be here, to take up space, to express herself. (And yes of course, Ella will soon learn to pay attention to the needs of others. It will come, don’t worry.)

There is nothing wrong with your feelings

Ella now speaks loud and clear. At eight in the morning she announces what she feels, wants and does not want in our court yard. One morning it was “stupid dad, stupid dad” At first she was angry, then in despair and she ended up crying in total misery on the ground. We peeped out the window and saw Ella’s father as he picked her up. She was still sobbing “stupid, stupid, dad” as he tenderly held her in his arms, until the crying ceased and gave way to a firm demand: “I wanted to hold Ninus!” Ellas father produced the toy rabbit in question from his backpack and Ella left happy as ever.

Accept yourself as you are

Talking about Self-compassion and what was said to the rose. Do you accept your happiness, your vitality, your anger and your despair? Do you hold it tenderly like Ella’s father until it fades and gives way for another feeling? If not, try it. Give the  old judge a well earned vacation. Sing yourself like Ella’s grandmother sang Ella’s being. With love.

– Jetthe Fabioola