Living With Errors
Last week I made a typo in the title You're Having a Home Birth?!?! I was behind after the Memorial Day weekend and struggling to catch up at work, on the blog, with family, and the school year rapidly coming to a close. I should have stopped, set back my own deadline, taken a few breaths, and asked for help, but how many of us really do that?
That same day a tragic event happened in our neighborhood. 6:15a Wednesday morning, a dear mother in our community walked in front of the train and ended her life. I knew her, I had said hi to her many mornings at the community center where I teach yoga, but clearly I didn't know her pain.
Living With Errors
Can you imagine believing that your own life is an error?
I had suicidal feelings in high school when I took the pressures of life too seriously. I was willing to give up my life when my emotions overwhelmed me. Then, I lost my god brother at 15 to this self-afflicted tragedy. As his tombstone so eloquently says:
"I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world."
I had my own quarrels, but his death unveiled the fragility of life. The pain he left in his wake sobered up my melancholy thoughts.
Still, it took me years to overcome the depression that plagued my young mind. At times the pain was unbearable and I couldn't see through the tunnel. Now, it's hard for me to remember how empty and alone I felt, but I can see it on the faces of people in our community.
We are a society with pain closer than you think. My own pain, for making what I thought was a huge mistake on my blog, is embarrassingly small in comparison to these tragic events. l should have been able to let it go. Like most perfectionists however, I took that invisible rock and I hit myself in the head over and over until it bled.
I see others do this to themselves everyday until they reach the last straw. Little errors compile until they feel devalued, destroyed, and they live in pain. Depression is a serious affliction that plagues our society.
We need to look at our human behavior with more compassion and welcome mistakes with a lighter heart. We need to see each other's pain with empathy and allow the support and space to heal.
People react without compassion too often. Drivers lay on the horn and scream profanities at the smallest of errors. I sometimes laugh at how upset they are at the world, but in my heart I cry, because I know they are not well.
Without compassion our world would resemble the Lord of the Flies. We must step back, breathe, and support one another. Our time on this planet is precious. We only have time to love and to learn and there are people around us that need help in their journey.
We only have time to love and to learn...
I've come a long way in accepting my mistakes in life and empathizing those in pain. The greatest lessons have come from my community.
Sitting here in the café, a few blocks over from the train accident, I'm writing this blog with a heavy heart. But, I look up, and see the pay it forward wall. Genuine kindness erupts on a poorly painted wall, where people have pre-paid a drink for those in need of support.
Teachers, service workers, renters in the bay area, and veterans find your appreciative gift of kindness here. Thank you to the people that are so busy teaching our youth, resuscitating lives, and working hard to make things better. You may forget your wallet, rush in without change, or just need a break before you head back out to save the world.
Yes, I realize a cup of joe is not going to save the world, but it's these little gestures that begin to heal.
I remember my last encounter with Ann. (name changed for privacy). "Good morning, Ann, right?" Ann's face lit up. "Thank you for remembering my name." I will hold that exchange we had in my heart, and I will always wish I had said more. But it really makes me wish... what if we all had exchanges like that everyday?
What if we didn't feel like we were living in error?
What if... instead of someone saying to me, you need a grammar lesson because you made a typo, they said. "Those mistakes suck but, at least you're trying to help make this world a better place. Thank you for your efforts"
That would have made my day.
I would have put down the invisible rock and shared a comforting embrace. Now imagine those with real pain... our constant acts of kindness may spare a precious life.
Living in Kindness
There are people in need and sometimes all it takes is remembering their name, buying them a cup of Joe, a warm embrace, or telling someone thank you for your efforts.
I've compiled a list for you to begin a healing journey. Many of you are my best teachers and I hope you add some more ideas to the comments below. We all deserve a little more kindness in our lives.
Living In Kindness
- Pay it forward: Leave a pre-paid drink in your local café or maybe even a breakfast for a service worker.
- Learn Someone's Name: So many tricks to recall a name, do it, they deserve it! And say hello, eye to eye.
- Slow Down Driving: Take a deep breath, smile, and slow down. It's not worth an accident.
- Tip Graciously: If you can afford the service, you can afford the tip. Every $ counts to a service worker.
- Accept Mistakes: Great minds make great mistakes. Instead of advice, offer hugs, or words of encouragement.
** In memory of the precious lives we have lost before we were ready to lose. May your hearts find the love and peace you deserved in this life.