Walking Each Other Home

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

My walking rules
  1. Walk alone to sort things out in my head
  2. Save walk dates as a fun exception to the rule
  3. Say hello when crossing paths with someone
  4. Give special insider smiles to regular walkers
  5. Pause for friendly and fun commentary with passerby but keep it short; there is stuff to be done
The mean lady’s walking rules
  1. Walk alone to keep the world out
  2. Keep your eyes straight ahead to avoid eye contact
  3. Walk in the road to avoid coming too close to people
  4. Walk every day strictly for bone and metabolic health
  5. Walk swiftly to get it done and over with
I made the mean lady’s rules up based on my reaction to her over the years. It only made sense that her rules would be very different from mine because otherwise she would behave better, more like me. Anyone can see how un-right it is that I recognize her purple down parka from a block away but never once has she so much as glanced my way while here I am preparing to arrange my face in a very friendly way.
Of course, none of these thoughts were happening on a conscious level. I would not know any of this had I not spotted her up ahead the other day and caught myself thinking, “She’s mean. I don’t like her.” Once this thought managed to reach my consciousness I was struck by the primitive nature of it all. This was a level of intelligence that asks no questions. It arrives as a strictly singular line of thinking. I can only conclude that there are other singular lines of thinking being thought down there in the basement of my mind.
Only after bringing that thought out into the light of day was I able to wonder what was really going on with the lady in the purple down coat. Is there a reason she walks in the street and avoids contact? Is this anger or frustration? Did something happen in her life that makes her withdraw? Or maybe she’s just a person who is easily over-stimulated and really needs to shut the world out and decompress.
The basement has its strengths but seeking to understand doesn’t seem to be one of them. Walking a mile in someone’s shoes is probably not on the primitive brain priority checklist. But the shoes are where it gets interesting! They are how we walk each other home.
Hope you manage to fit a nice walk in today. 😊
*As Ram Das, the spiritual leader says, “We’re all just walking each other home.”