A few months ago, I had one of those strange encounters with a stranger. The uncomfortable kind of strange, not the pleasant. But it ended up being one of those experiences that helps me to see some of the positive growth that is happening in my life. Personal growth can be hard to detect because it’s generally subtle, and we don’t have the benefit of distance and space, which makes us more aware of changes. It’s similar to how when we see someone all the time, we don’t notice the little changes happening in them (physically, etc), but if we don’t see them for awhile, we do notice. Interactions with other people can provide a mirror that shows us how we are changing. But we need inner clarity in order to separate the thoughts/feelings/opinions of others, from the reality of our being.
So, I was out for a walk, taking a “breather” from computer time. It was a nice walk, at a brisk pace and on my way home, downtown, I passed a guy, just kind of hanging around on the sidewalk. I’m not sure if he tried to make eye contact because my eyes were focused forward – I was “in the zone” as I tend to be while walking. As I passed him, he said, “Pretty on the outside, ugly on the inside. That’s what you are.” I was a little surprised, and disappointed, of course, and said softly, to myself, “That’s not very nice.”
As I continued walking, I thought about it and let myself really feel it. The nice thing is that it didn’t have much of an effect. It didn’t feel nice – it never feels nice to have someone send negativity your way – but I didn’t really take it personally. I checked in with myself and was able to remind myself that even though I’m far from perfect (inside and out), I am trying and I do care. I strive each day to be kind and loving and the best creature of the Universe I can be. I am actively working to share my true gifts and natural talents and positively contribute, to make the world a happier and healthier place. With that as my central approach to life, I can’t be too bad. He doesn’t know me so how can he know my heart, my intentions? And even if he did, I need to remain focused on my inner sense of balance, peace, calm, clarity, strength, light, and…beauty.
Other’s Opinion Are Less Important Than My Personal Guidance System.
Being steady at the center (which I cultivate through positive daily practices such as meditation, yoga, creating, etc), I may sway with the breezes/winds/storms around me (coming from the people and situations I encounter) but my base and core are solid and healthy. That’s how I felt and that’s a good feeling. Strength and Balance: the more we have, the more we can share!
Later that evening, J and Karin and I went out to Spirit Rock for the Monday night meditation gathering. It was a cold night and Karin and I made tea to bring with us. During break, we went into the lobby to have some of our warm tea and she and I both had a good laugh (I had told her about my earlier encounter) reading my Yogi Tea bag:
There is a beauty in your presence. Show who you are.
I don’t take such coincidences lightly anymore. It was a little dose of Universal love, in support of the personal growth glimpsed earlier, and I accepted it with gratitude.