Sometimes a car will park under the curbside tree to make or receive a cell phone call. I look out with curiosity, hoping to recognize the occupant as a visitor and not just someone using the shade for convenience. A few days ago a car stopped and the passenger door opened. I gazed out anticipating recognition. Someone was dropping by! Instead the passenger leaned out and, partially hidden by the butterfly iris bush, began to heave. She spasmed over the curb several times, began to withdraw back into the car and lurched out again to wretch some more. I am standing at my sink watching this - feeling I should run a glass of water and bring it to her.
But my mind kicks in and overrules my heart with thoughts. I start thinking; embarrassment on her part, intrusion on my part, the front door sticks so I won't get out there on time, and so on. I waste vital minutes on prevarication eventually talking myself out of this basic act of human kindness. It is too late. She has drawn back into the car one final time, the car door closes and they pull away. I gaze back to the curb mildly concerned about what I would see - and there is it! A gaily, brightly colored gift bag in the gutter. I can't believe my eyes. She had found a container in her car to catch her effluvia. She had done what she could to contain the mess. I am astounded. I pause, drink the glass of water I had started for her and felt shame.
Shame that I had not overcome my reticence and offered this suffering traveler a gift of comfort; and yet she had done her best to reduce the impact of HER discomfort to me, and unknown homeowner. She had tried to mitigate the problem her pain had caused me. I had another lesson; follow your heart, your instinct for kindness.
A walker trips in front of you- instinctively you reach to assist her. Someone drops a parcel - without thinking you reach down to retrieve it for them. Don't think: do. Don't let your head - which is NOT always wise - over rule your humanity. Rather than delaying a kindness due to some pre-sensed prejudice - such as the inconvenience of sick in the gutter - go with compassion and offer to ease a traveler's discomfort.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training.
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