When was the last time you reached outside your comfort zone and took the time to touch someone during your day? I mean, really stop and make direct eye contact and engage someone for a moment that you didn’t even know. Not as part of your job but as a part of LIVING.
I am guilty. Guilty of running from one task to the next from sun up to sundown, day in and day out, and in those moments letting the living pass me by. We are all probably guilty of ignoring people from time to time. Invisible people, homeless people, physically challenged people,the old and infirm….and yes, the service people who make are days easier by taking away our trash and clipping our lawns and taking away our dirty plates at the restaurant. DIFFERENCES inherently make people uncomfortable. I am aware that I make some people uncomfortable by being overweight. As a large person I can sense those that look PAST me and those that render me INVISIBLE .I therefore experience times and situations where I am painfully shy. Invisible has become my preference.
I saw a man the other morning through the window of my apartment gym as I was huffing away on the treadmill. He was tall, thin and blacker than black. He was putting up the umbrellas on the outside patio. He must have felt me watching him as he looked up and caught my gaze then immediately lowered his eyes and walked away.
I finished my 30 minute workout and headed upstairs to my apartment. I got a glass of water and a book and headed out to the courtyard to cool down , read and meditate by the fountain. It was cool outside and the sound of the bubbling fountain stilled my mind. I thought of the man I had seen earlier and wondered if he felt as invisible as I do.
I heard footsteps on the pavement and looked up and saw him again. He was on to his next task – cleaning the courtyard. I watched him for a moment. He made a point not to look up. And I thought…son of a bitch – he is as scared of me as I am of…everybody! In that moment I made the bold, spontaneous decision to speak. “Good morning” I said…making sure I spoke clearly and with purpose. He looked up and shyly returned the greeting. “What’s is your name?” I asked and he said “QUIT” in an obvious accent. I repeated his name and asked him “Where are you from?” He paused and seemed to relax a bit and settled his hands on his broom handle. “Africa” he said. I smiled and said ” Well, I am glad you are here. And THANK YOU for making our home such a nice place to live”. A large smile broke out across his face. He nodded his head and said “You are welcome”. In that moment I knew we had just made each others day.We shared in a human experience.
It made me glad I went to the gym. I made me glad I took the time to go meditate in the courtyard. I was glad I reached past my own discomfort to maybe ease the discomfort of another. Giving is a gift that comes back to you over and over.
Take the time to reach out and touch. SEE the people around you and you will be SEEN. All that flows from you and all that flows to you is good when it is sent with pure intent.
I love each and every one of you,