A few weeks ago I had one of those slo-mo a-ha moments that has since shifted my day-to-day interactions with the world. This shift is based on the belief that there are no accidents; no wasted moments; and, no events that can be judged as either good/bad or important/insignificant.
When I can see each encounter with a person as a partnership, regardless of how brief or extended the exchange, then we’re connected by a common humanity that strips away any judgments. No matter one’s job (e.g, cashier, roofer, company CEO) or one’s status (e.g., unemployed, low-income, wealthy) these encounters are all the same. These are full-on-moments where I see and attend fully; where I take responsibility that my actions may help the other person (or myself!) feel less invisible.
When I enter into a transaction with another person or organization it’s about process. Over time we will reach a point of “all is well” – this allows for missteps and corrections (theirs and mine) along the way. I don’t expect perfection from them (or they from me); we both hold high expectations yet allow space and time to get to that “good enough” place.
These two practice have allowed me to be fully present and to be fully human; and, to extend this same gift to others.
From Robert, a Walmart cashier, I learned about why he twists the shopping bag handles – to make it easier for shoppers to pickup and to help keep items in the bags on the car trip home; from my roofer I learned that uncovering house/roof quirks is merely a part of the (expected) process; and with my gutter people they learned that poor communication (written, oral) within their organization led to (unexpected) do-overs that cost them time and money.
Posted in Everyday spiritual practices
Tagged encounter, fully present, good enough, human, invisible, judging, Leslie Gernon, no accidents, no wasted moments, non-judgment, partnership, perfection, process, transaction
Something so simple, something so profound … that slaps us in the face with interconnectivity to others (strangers!) and mindfulness to the moment (that starts out oh-so-ordinary, then quickly shifts to whoa-what-just-happened).
During this year, I have been at three different McDonalds (obviously at three different times and in three different lines) and have found myself the beneficiary of pay-it-forward … where the car in front of me chose to pay for my takeout order. I can assure you that this is a small awe in my world – where I’m at the first window to pay and my mouth is hanging open in wonderment as the cashier tells me that my order has already been paid for. And I ask myself:
- Why would a perfect stranger choose to pay for my meal?
- While I’m in the midst of my OMG awe moment, is the payer in the midst of a OMG grace and gratitude moment? How cool to choose to up the positive energy for oneself and another person (what I call a “two-fer”).
- And, for one of those times, we had a pay-it-forward chain going where the first-window cashier asked if I wanted to “keep the chain going.” I chose to pay for the car behind me to put another link in the chain (I just wish that I knew how many links we had before it ended; and, what caused it to end).
What a difference this small act of kindness had on my day – the rest of the day held up the positive energy of that moment. And, I’ve also had the McD lines where I was cut off in the dual drive through lane, charged the wrong amount, and given the wrong order – and, the rest of the day held up the negative energy of that moment. Who knew how much power a simple act can have in the life of another person!
When meditation walking in nature, the more interactive we are with our environs (i.e, voice/breath, motion/touch), the more symbiotic (and powerful) the human-nature connection is. Some days I think this is because we need to overcome the effort it takes to launch anything from the realm of ideas into the physical world; and, on other days I think it’s needed to counter-balance the negative energy that exists in the world.
Recently I headed out with a group of fellow silent meditation walkers (yes, we come together to walk in silence as human-nature; and, we connect human-human in conversations before and after the walks) and we used the trail-marked trees to focus on a quality that we wanted to increase-in/bring-into our lives (e.g., peace, patience, compassion) – each time we came to a marked tree, we brought ourselves back into that place-time moment and a chosen value.
So here’s the “energy grid” for the tree coup practice – from least energy to most energy:
- Think of the quality/value that you want –> Whisper-breath aloud the quality/value that you want –> Say aloud the quality/value that you want
- Look at the trail-marked tree to connect with the here-now moment –> Move your arm/hand in the direction of the trail-marked tree to connect with the here-now moment –> Actually touch the bark of the trail marked tree with your bare hand
So there we were, a community of like-minded spiritual beings connecting deeply with nature, connecting deeply with ourselves. And all around us was a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves – those that crunched underfoot; those that swirled-and-twirled through the air; and those that held precariously to the branches until it was their time to play a different role in the circle of life.
Posted in Meditation walking
Tagged Blue Jay Point, counting coup, here now, Leslie Gernon, meditation walking, nature, Raleigh, shinrin-yoku, trail marking, tree coup, trees
Over the last year, I’ve been able to lay out my values (which I also call my “standards of integrity”) about how I want to show up in the world on a daily basis. This isn’t a to-do list, but rather a to-be guideline that I mentally review each morning (setting intention) and then again each evening (course correction for the next day). For each area of my life, I have laid out three “guiding lights” that inform my thoughts, choices, actions and words.
Today, I discovered that this is all well-and-good to live a value-based life; to show up as my most authentic self; to continually do my best, but it smacked just a bit too much of being perfect. Yes, I wanted to show up as “me” but it’s in the imperfections, the mistakes, the humanness that others can relate to me more. For in those “less than” moments (what I call my wabi-sabi moments) there’s a heart-to-heart connection (“she’s real!”) rather than a head-to-pedestal connection (“she’s great at …”).
So here’s what I’ve added to my daily to-be list: 1) Each and every day be sure to ask someone for help (real help that is, not fakey help); 2) Each and every day be sure to screw something up and realize that it really doesn’t matter to others or to life itself; and, 3) Each and every day do just good-enough on things that don’t really matter so that there’s energy and time for the things that really count.
So here’s my wish – that I show up as my wabi-sabi, authentic self each and every day.
Posted in Let me say THIS about THAT
Tagged ask for help, authentic self, good enough, heart-to-heart, Leslie Gernon, pedestal, perfection, setting intention, standards of integrity, values, wabi-sabi