The subway changed from an Express to a Local train. The Manhattan underground ride would stop every nine blocks between Chambers and 33rd Street. Not a big deal unless you’re catching a train to New Jersey.
“Catching my train might be tight”, I said.
The stranger said, “ I choose to go with the flow”.
She volunteered the greeting and it was exactly what I was meant to hear at that moment on that day. The visit with my elderly mom needed to be “chill” with lots of flexibility and understanding. As Loved Ones (and concurrently ourselves) age, life changes. “Go with the flow” meant adapting expectations for what was possible now. Spending time “looking back” at how things use to be wasn’t relevant.
“Go with the flow”! Thank you kind, insightful stranger. How did you know?
On my return trip to the city there was another stranger, again on the subway. The stranger wore an across-the-shoulder, rectangle-shaped, silver purse.
“Where did you find your bag”, I asked.
As we exited the subway and headed up stairs to the street level, the stranger replied,
“Are you new in the neighborhood?”
“Check-out the store, Exit Nine, and perhaps you’ll find something similar there.” Awesome share.
That night not only did I enjoy perusing items in a fun boutique, I uncovered a new adorable neighborhood and street, Smith Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
Thank you generous stranger for the generous tip.
We say “hello” all the time. Do we do so with an open-heart, with goodwill for others? Most of us do and the gifts are plentiful.
If you’re feeling “stranger danger” or more constricted after the last few years, here are a few ways to safely welcome others into your orbit.
You don’t have to say a word to offer a greeting. It’s about standing in a place of loving-kindness for yourself and those around you. Try it the next time you’re on a plane, train, in a crowded place. Silently wish everyone well. Often when in a big intimidating city, riding the local transportation, I will look around and wish everyone (in the subway car, for example) peace, safety and health.
See a Similarity
As Organizational Mindfulness Coach, @Elizabeth Prather, suggests, “Hold humanity in compassionate arms.”
When feeling discomfort around someone pause and consider what you have in common. On the simplest of level see a similarity. We’re all human (and not part-fish, horse or whatever).
Try out a “Shift to Connect” practice. This practice is especially helpful when interacting with those who you perceive as “different”.
The Shift to Connection practice is completed over three breaths.
- On the first breath, settle the mind.
2. On the second breath, see a fundamental human similarity.
3. On the third breath, offer kindness. Kindness translate in all languages and provides inner calm by taking the focus off of your own feelings.
Listen and Respond (from Within)
My husband recently met a homeless man legitimately selling a “Street Wise” newspaper outside a grocery store. Since my husband didn’t have any cash he purchased a food item and brought it out to the man.
Jay asked, “Do you like chocolate?” “Yes.
” Do you like peanuts?” “Yes”.
“Here’s is a little something to give you extra energy for this task.”. “Thank you. You’re the first person who has talked with me today?”
Don’t let that be us! We’re all humans on this earth wanting to be seen AND we have so much to give.
How do you like to say “hello”?
*Thank you @Nikola-johnny-mirkovic for the “Hi, Stranger” image. #Unsplash