Once there was a young shepherd girl, Blanca, who lived atop a beautiful mountain in Morocco. She loved her job of tending sheep, especially at night, because she loved the stars. Each night, Blanca would sing and dance. Doing so filled her heart with hope and joy. Unlike his daughter, who was happy even though she lacked money and possessions, Blanca's father was a sad man. He didn't share Blanca's appreciation of simple pleasures. Instead, he was burdened with shame because he able to provide but little for his family. He constantly longed for the years of yore when he had a great herd of sheep. Since the days when disease had killed much of the animals he owned, despair was his constant companion.
Blanca was sympathetic toward her father. She understood his grief, but it was against her nature to embrace sadness. Blanca considered everything in her environment as very precious and sang even to the rocks sacred songs of thanks and appreciation. Blanca needn't keep company with her father's depression, for everyday she watched her neighbors trek several miles to the market in town, a trip across rugged pasture and steep mountain slopes.
Like her father, the people around her wore frowns of despair, an undeniable testament of their difficult lives. Always observant of the feelings of others, Blanca noticed that even the rich people and successful merchants wore sad faces and possessed heavy hearts. No matter where she looked or at who, Blanca saw her family and neighbors suffered different types of pain. Blanca was a special little girl, one who brought comfort to anyone who came in contact with her. Folks from all over were drawn to her as if she was a wildflower in a desert. Her rituals and star-dance nurtured special powers within a soul that few understood. She saw the splendor of the trees, birds and creeks. To her, these were the things to enjoy, not money or possessions. The gifts of nature nourished her spirit. Where others saw scarcity, she saw abundance.
One twilight morning as she was dancing beneath the heavens, Blanca saw an immense shooting star crash to the ground. Its impact lighted the pasture with intense diamond-white brightness and boomed like a thunder bolt. A radiant energy emanated from its core. Blanca felt honored and awed to have witnessed such a glorious event. She dropped to her knees and ushered a prayer of thanks. The white light continued to shine. And Blanca danced. Her twirling and leaping came to an abrupt halt when she heard in the distance a low but continuous moan. Deciding it best to learn of its source, Blanca crept about, moving further away than closer to the sound of a human weeping.
Like a stealthy cat, Blanca crawled atop a cluster of boulders. Peering down, she discovered her father on the ground, curled into a fetal position, openly sobbing. Blanca silently stepped away from her distraught father and returned to the pasture. The bright light was gone. The stars barely twinkled. The sheep were silent. Blanca's sat upon the ground and thought about the fact that for years her family had watched their father's spirit sink lower and lower. His eyes used to twinkle like the stars, but alas, no more. Because her father felt he could not properly care for his family after having lost the majority of his herd to disease, it seemed as though his very soul was fading away. How long can he go on in this condition? Blanca wondered. She prayed to the stars that her father's pain be relieved. Blanca began to frown. Her father's sadness was long-standing and she felt a desperate need to alleviate his anguish. She followed an inner urging to walk to the spot at which the shooting star struck the ground.
As she approached the site, her bare feet registered an unusually warm soil. A sense of hope began to fill her soul. As she stepped into the indentation left by the shooting stars impact, Blanca was overjoyed to discover a glittering, heart shaped crystal. Turning her face toward heaven to offer thanks, she noticed that the stars seemed to be shining upon this amazing crystal Her whole being felt vibrant and alive, as if the stars were causing her to glow as well. A blissful change came over Blanca. Slowly the muscles in her checks began to switch and a radiant smile replaced the worried frown. She realized that something from the incredible fireworks of the shooting star was radiating in her heart. Deep down in her soul, she knew the white light was to be shared with all. With this thought, Blanca fell asleep beneath the stars. As the sun was rising, a poor farmer was taking his small sack of vegetables to market. He was saddened by his small crop. Suddenly, this poor farmer saw an amazing sight. Just off the path, amid the wildflowers, was a little girl who literally glowed with happiness. He couldn't help but notice the twinkle in Blanca's eyes, like the heavens shining their love.
Immediately, the farmer overcame his depression and smiled. To his surprise, he began to sing. He sang cheerfully and without inhibition, like a child. A warmth spread throughout his cold body, and he suddenly remembered that as a child he could transform misery into peace by opening his heart and allowing heavenly love to spread warmth all over his body. Similar experiences to the farmer's were played out for weeks by those who passed by Blanca. The downtrodden became exhilarated the moment they saw her. Magically imparted to those who cast their eyes upon Blanca was the knowledge that the purpose of life is enjoy the splendors of nature.
Before long, people of all walks of life began flocking to see the amazing sight of the shepherd girl beaming with joy, and to feel her effects. Blanca had found this wonderful heart shaped crystal and transformed the rock-like hearts of all who passed. This pleasure of the moment spread throughout the countryside. Everyone learned that in their pain and suffering comfort could be found in something as simple as a smile. People everywhere started to be more kind to all things. Darkness was lifted.
Blanca's father became so proud to have such a wise daughter. Even though he was a man of few possessions, he was blessed with much love and a wonderful environment - the most valuable possessions of all. Blanca and her people are long gone, but the white crystal shines throughout the ages, inspiring us to smile often, love everyone, revere nature, and spread joy. Blanca's happiness was like a stone cast into a still pond. Like concentric ripples, a small miracle expanded into a far-reaching and beautiful effect. Despair can serve as an end or a beginning. Everything is special and treat all things as sacred. For every second of life can be enjoyed by a thing as simple as a smile and the power of the white heart can be shared with all things, tiny and great.
Copyright Rob Arner - All Rights Reserved.
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