If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —The Dalai Lama
People look at me funny… always have. Maybe it’s Pluto conjunct Uranus in my first… perhaps it’s just because you never know what I’m going to say. Heck, I rarely know what I’m going to say!
The other day, for example, I’m walking down the street with my husband and I spy a large and unwieldy block of oddly shaped granite propped up against a tree.
“There’s a story behind that piece of granite.” I say to Andrew.
He looks at me funny.
“Yes, I suppose there is. You should write about it.” He’s getting used to me by now.
“For that matter, there’s a story for just about everything we’re looking at.” I say.
“Yeaaah…?” he’s waiting for the punchline.
“Well, we seldom think about those stories.”
It’s true, right? We move from day to day, surrounded by all kinds of things, situations and people with rarely a thought about how any of it got here.
“So?” you ask. “Why does this matter?”
Our stories define what we hold to be “true”.
I’m standing in line at the express (≤5 items) checkout at the Whole Foods cafe. The lady in front of me has >20 items in her basket plus the “required muffin” she needs to check out at this register. The cashier is peeved… I’m peeved… the lady appears unaffected by the annoyance she is generating. “How inconsiderate” I think to myself… But is that true? Do I know her story?
[pullquote]We are collections of life experiences, each one brought uniquely into every moment.[/pullquote]We make assumptions every day: “People are inconsiderate,” or “nasty…” What if they’re just oblivious? Maybe their dog just died? Maybe their kid is really sick? Maybe they just lost their job? Maybe they’re just plain miserable… The point is, we don’t know what’s going on with someone else. To a large extent, we don’t know, or spare a care, because we’re not getting our own (lunar) needs met. Like so many raw nerves, we’re looking to be understood, known, seen, appreciated, secure, valued and loved so how can we worry about someone else’s “story”.
Ignorance is no longer bliss…
Some years ago I had a bizarre epiphany sitting on the subway: every person I looked at had an entire history prior to entering that subway car and it was like I could “see” each set of events trailing behind them as we pulled out of the station. (Yeah, weird… I know… You’re looking at me funny right now, ain’tcha? 😉 S’OK, I’m used it it…)
We are not isolated experiences sitting on the train or standing at the checkout. We are collections of life experiences, each one brought uniquely into every moment.
Is this your “problem”? No. But it is true.
What was your day like, prior to reading this? Was it a beautiful day spent with loved ones? A quiet day spent on your own doing something you enjoy? A grisly day at work “doing battle”? Were you feeling happy? Frustrated? Pissed off? Sad? Blissed out? Curious? Vacant? Numb? Lonely? Playful?
[pullquote]It’s up to you to choose how you want to encounter other people. [/pullquote]As you move through the rest of your day, remember that each and every person you encounter is having their own set of experiences and is struggling to meet their lunar needs. Some of them are pissed off. Others are really happy. And still others feel lost and alone.
It’s up to you to choose how you want to encounter other people. Will you judge the grumpy guy at the bank because he wasn’t “nice” to you? Instead, maybe you’ll offer him a smile?
Everything, and everyONE has a story… a story you have no idea about. Just like they have no idea about your story.
Build Your Compassion Muscle:
(First of all, compassion starts with you being compassionate with You.)
For just a few minutes today, sit somewhere and people watch. Look at each person as a culmination of an entire set of experiences about which you know nothing. Try to imagine them as a 3-year-old. Were they cute? Can you see them playing in a sandbox? With their Legos? In a sprinkler on a hot summer day? Did their parents love them? Were they cherished?
Of course you don’t know for sure if what you’re noticing is “true” or not, but the essence of their unique story and who they are is right there in front of you… Count on it.
Now go get your own lunar needs met so you can share your beautiful story with the world! (Me, I’m taking my Aries Moon out to run around in the park…)
Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.