“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: ‘Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
— Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
I can get really caught up in my own stuff sometimes. Little occurrences, missteps, changes in plans can sometimes become the focal point of my day. Today someone was supposed to do the dishes and didn’t which led to a chain of events that really didn’t destroy the planet or end an endangered species. But it interfered with my day and the events that were supposed to happen. But then I run into someone who has something real happening. Those “little earthquakes” that take you to your core. Life stopped and then took a radically different direction. Wasn’t a part of the plan that someone got sick or died, but they did and what is left is the rumbled remains of life as it once was but never will be again.
I am reminded of the idea that you never know what kind of pain someone is walking around with. That woman who was pushy in the grocery line, the guy who cut you off and yelled at you for it, the kid who trampled your rose bush, whatever it is. The person who gives you a smile sometimes and their insides are dying but you’d never know it.
I am reminded to treat others better. Not about turn the other cheek or “let it go” but just treat others better. No matter how it is or what I do, just better. I am reminded to quit judging. Someone may have an ocean full mind of a burden that I can’t comprehend or begin to think of how to deal with it. Is it important that I label it, dismiss their behavior or condone it? Can I be less interested in the wrongs I’m dealt and more interested in the things I can do right?
Last night in class I set the intention to cultivate and share more love. That’s an intention. The action, is when I put it into action. Maybe I can dedicate my practice to someone who might need that extra energy? Someone who needs some extra strength. Maybe I can smile at someone and make their day? Maybe I can just smile more.
Someone lost their best friend. Someone didn’t wake up this morning. Someone took the box to their car, the last one that was in that house that is no longer theirs. Someone can’t call their mother anymore. Someone had to explain to a child that mom or dad isn’t coming back. Someone had to make that phone call. If I can treat everyone like someone, maybe their burden may get a little lighter.