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Nasrudin is a mythical figure from the Sufi tradition. He had the reputation of being a rascal. When he arrived at the border with a donkey caravan, the inspector had the guards search the saddlebags because they suspected him of smuggling. They found nothing.

Time passed and Nasrudin came to the border with yet another donkey caravan. He was wearing a beautiful turban with a huge jewel and a robe of high-quality cloth. The inspector was more convinced than ever that Nasrudin was up to no good. He had the guards search everywhere, even inside the donkey mouths. Again, they found nothing.

Years later, the inspector ran into Nasrudin in the bazaar. “Nasrudin, you rascal,” he said. "Those times you crossed the border I knew you were smuggling. I have no official capacity any longer. You can tell me, what were you smuggling?" Nasrudin answered “Donkeys.”

Linda: This story reminds us of the ordinary moments that have such tremendous value and are so often overlooked. While we are searching for the jewels and gold, the peak experiences of our lives, the dramatic moments, we can overlook the donkey moments. Intimacy is so often contained in the ordinary moments: a lingering gaze, a brief touch, a hug, a gentle word of encouragement. It is all these donkey moments lined up that make for the riches.

We have all had many poignant moments in our lives. To others, they may look ordinary, but because they touched our heart so deeply, they were magical. We all want more of these beautiful moments. We want to have caravans of donkey moments each day, open-hearted moments making contact with our beloved, with children, friends, clients, students, pets, the plants in the garden, the trees in the yard, and the sky. It is in these moments that we feel wealthy. What are the donkey moments of your life that make you rich?

Intimacy is the heart of any relationship; going right to the core of what makes relationships alive, what makes relationships quivering, living, growing entities. When I imagine myself as a wise old woman, knowing what is true and important about life, an intimate connection is the highest priority.

When I get to the end of my life, I want to feel a sense of satisfaction that I loved well, that I opened up to allow the people in my life to love me deeply, that I connected in an intimate way to other people and allowed them to do that for me. For me, that would be success. That is the point of living life for me. If it's not your highest priority, maybe it can be one of the ones that is near the top. Even though it may have been painful in the past and even frustrating and confusing at times, eventually the result can be so sweet that all the struggling to get there will have been worthwhile.

Intimacy is what we all crave. We get so distracted by substitutes that we think we'd rather become successful at other things, rather than learn to be a great lover. It is supreme bliss to know that we are adored, to feel that we are the beloved of the one we adore. It is all the sweeter for having waited and worked for it. At the end of our lives, the most important question is “How well did I love?”

To be able to answer that we loved well, we must live life now and every day, in such a way that we can answer, “I loved fully; I loved many; I lived a life of devotion.” It’s possible for all of us to bring this quality of connectedness more fully into our lives and to make our little corner of the world a heaven on earth.

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