Open Your Heart
There once was a woman named Giselle who lived just outside a village situated by a mountain range. Here, creatures of all kinds roamed freely. This woman’s husband had died some time ago and she was left widowed. Since his death Giselle had lost her taste for life. No one who knew her had much to do with her anymore. She had become bitter and reclusive, avoiding her fellow villagers and spending most of her days alone.
Giselle seemed to be in a daze much of the time. Her children had grown up and left home. They could not tolerate her continued withdrawal from the simplest of family interaction. They had become emotional orphans left to fend for themselves and to provide each other with what little comfort they could. To them, their mother had died also when their father passed away.
Giselle had drifted away from all who had once meant so much to her. She had neglected her children and lost what friends she once had. She had also lost her capacity to enjoy nature and the beauty that surrounded her home and native village in its magnificent mountain setting. Her heart had turned to stone some said. Others thought she had simply lost her mind.
Eventually Giselle had become so closed up she could no longer tolerate any proximity to people and moved away from the village into the nearby hills. She now lived in a sparsely furnished hut located in an area where a few wild creatures roamed about, occasionally finding their way onto her property. The villagers typically avoided this area because their usual greetings to her always fell on deaf ears. They left her alone now, as did her children and all who came to know her story.
One day a beautiful golden eagle was soaring overhead, very close to Giselle’s home, looking for food as eagles were want to do. Some scraps that had been tossed outside of Giselle’s hut caught the eagle’s attention and it swooped down to gather them up and have itself a long overdue meal. Just as the eagle landed and began to feast on the scraps Giselle came out of her hut and let out a scream. She was so used to being alone now that she didn’t expect to see any creatures in her yard. The golden eagle, standing there eating the scraps of food had really startled her and she was now trying to regain her composure. The two of them stared at each other for a moment before the eagle sprang up letting out a screech as well.
“Who are you?” he asked in surprise.
“I am Giselle,” she replied. “This is my home and those are my scraps of food that you are eating.”
“I see,” replied the eagle. “I apologize for the intrusion. As I flew over this area, I noticed no one around and assumed that this place was deserted. When I saw the scraps of food I decided to land and have something to eat. When you came out of your hut you surprised me, much as I surprised you it would seem.”
Yes, they were both startled it appears, neither one of them expecting to run into the other.
Just then another creature approached the area from the hillside nearby. It was a large, horned goat who had become quite curious about all this noise and activity.
“What’s going on here?” the goat asked. “I was minding my own business, eating grass up the hillside, when I heard all this commotion, so I came to investigate.”
“And very well you did,” the eagle replied, “for this lady lives here alone and I startled her. I am very sorry about this as I do not seek to upset anyone during my travels. You are her friend perhaps?”
“No, I am not,” the goat answered. “But I see her every day, tending to her chores, going about her life here all alone. I have noticed that no one comes to visit so it surprises me to see you here.”
“I understand,” the eagle reflected. “This lady is not known for receiving visitors so my presence here would seem unusual.”
“That is correct,” the goat added. “At any rate I see that all is well so I will return to my grazing up the hillside.”
At that moment a thundering sound was heard coming from far off in the distance. It sounded like horses that were fast approaching. Giselle was visibly distressed. She had not heard that sound in years and became quite agitated because that sound usually implied an impending threat. The eagle volunteered to fly up into the sky and survey the surrounding area. He too wanted to know what could be the source of that thundering sound. Once in the air the eagle noticed that there were many horses with riders aboard but they were not coming in this particular direction. They were headed toward the village instead. The riders were armed and appeared to be quite menacing. They wore expressions of grim determination, like men did when they were going into battle. This meant that the village was their intended prey and the villagers were likely unaware of this impending attack.
When the eagle returned to Giselle’s yard, he informed her and the goat of what he had seen. The three of them began discussing what to do. The goat volunteered to run into the village and warn the citizens but the eagle said “No.” He explained that the villagers would not likely listen to a goat. “Nor would they listen to an eagle,” the goat added, for birds of prey were not considered friendly. It was left to Giselle to come up with another suggestion. She had never felt so frightened and helpless. If neither the goat nor the eagle could help the villagers, then who could? She had not spoken to the villagers in so long that she feared they might not want to listen to her now.
Just then an angel came to call; descending upon the area of Giselle’s home with great grace and calm. The angel looked at Giselle and spoke to her directly.
“Look into your heart, my dear woman, where you have been asleep for so long. Look into your Self and find the words that you need to accomplish the task before you. You can do this. There once was a time when you had no difficulty expressing yourself while expecting to be heard. There was a time when all that mattered to you easily came to the surface and you shared what you felt with those you loved and cared about. Remove that stone from your heart and open once again to that place within from where Love and Caring flow. Reach inside and touch that space, then go forth and do what is necessary.”
Without any further thought to her fears or her safety, Giselle ran toward the village shouting at the top of her voice “The warriors are coming. The warriors are coming.” The villagers were quite startled by these loud warnings as they had not heard this woman’s voice in years. They gathered round as she approached, alarmed now by the level of her agitation. They listened as she reported what she had heard from up the mountain and what the eagle had seen. The thundering sound grew louder as she continued to explain and the villagers quickly realized that Giselle spoke the truth. Arrangements were then made to rally the village defenses and soon all were prepared for the approaching danger.
When the band of warriors came closer to the village, they realized that the element of surprise was lost to them and that this village was well prepared to defend itself. Having lost that edge the warrior leaders decided not to engage in a costly battle where victory could no longer be assured. They chose instead to move on.
After the threat passed, all soon returned to normal again in the village. It then became apparent to all in the community that Giselle was responsible for saving the town. The villagers wanted to thank her publicly but were concerned about Giselle’s long held reluctance to have anything to do with them. A child came forward and volunteered to deliver their message of thanks. When the child and a group of villagers arrived at Giselle’s hut, she received them warmly and accepted their expressions of gratitude. She had some tea with the delegation and they visited for a while. The group later returned to the village to report their success.
After these events it became widely known that Giselle was open to visitors again. In fact it became quite the fashion for villagers to saunter up the mountainside and spend some time with her. She had become a gracious host who was pleased to visit with all who came by. The eagle and the goat were regular visitors as well. Giselle had awakened from her deep somber sleep. She had reconnected with that vibrant vital part of herself that could express warmth and caring. Her eagle friend and neighbor goat had become a kind of extended family for her now and many of the villagers were now counted as friends.
Giselle had found that place in her heart where Love dwells. She had to be frightened into a state of crisis to get there. But now that flame was reignited and she was at peace with herself. She was grateful that she could feel once again and vowed to never let that go. Despite the sorrows that life could bring there was always something to celebrate. Shutting down one’s emotions was no way to live. Giselle now preferred to share what was in her heart with those around her. She had learned an important and valuable lesson. And deep inside she knew that for certain.
And All Was Well in Her World