If you’ve heard the term, set your intention, but weren’t sure what it meant, allow me to explain a little and use an example of how it might work. Every morning I quietly focus on an intention such as; let me be open to new ideas, I am open to lots of laughter and play, etc.,. etc.,. Somedays I get more specific and focus on being patient with my mom, kids or clients. Other times I put the focus of patience on myself if I notice I’ve been harshly criticising how I write (me and grammatical rules remain at a stand off), how I look, how I … anything.
As the knowledge that people are all connected continues to deepen for me, I’m ceasing to use ideas I do not agree with, as reasons to shut folks out. Did that make sense? We all use different ‘reasons’ to separate ourselves don’t we? Whatever it is, politics, weight, occupations, clothes, skin color, religions, (coughs) rednecks, hippies… we think things along the lines of, I don’t like what they stand for. And we try to live our lives pretending they aren’t there, or get angry when we see them or hear about them, or a combination of both. If we can’t physically move away, we mentally build a huge fence.
Down the street lives a family with a truck that had the stars and bars painted on the hood. The hair on the back of my neck used to go up when walking past their house, especially if the old white man was sitting out in front. I tried waving, smiling or saying hi as we’d ride by on our bikes, but he’d remain still and silent. I told myself he didn’t hear or see us. And maybe he did, I don’t know.
One day I noticed a small bus in front of their home to pick up a young man in a wheelchair. The driver of the bus would have to get out and assist with all the equipment and safety checks necessary. In rain, cold and summer highs of over 100F, this driver doesn’t just pull up and honk a horn, but gets out, greets the old man and teen, and does what it takes to put him safely inside the bus. I’d see this as I went back and forth, taking my kids to school. I went from seeing that truck and mentally flipping the bird, to noticing the old man looking haggard, and told myself I should send a positive thought their way.
Making that little change took some doing before it started happening naturally. That surprised me. Was I really that wound up in my own, gulp, negative assumptions of who they were, and/or my own fears, to not allow my own mind to think a new thought?
Then came the day there was a new bus driver, a black woman was now helping get the chair and rider into the bus. I’d see her smile at the old man and be surprised to see him give a genuine smile back. Sometime around then, I noticed the truck hood got painted over.
I like to think life presented an opportunity for the old man and his family to see things differently and that maybe, something clicked for the better in the way they see people. I know that’s what happened for me. I could be wrong about them and the reasons behind the truck. But the old man nods hello at us now when we ride by, sometimes he even waves. Who knows, maybe if I take the time to have a chat with someone who strikes me as a world apart from who I think I am, I just might learn something, maybe we both will. I am open to surprises like this.