Maybe it’s time to pause, try to take a look at the big picture. Of course, this is my picture and chances are that it may only resemble the one you see out there in small ways. But bear (nah, it’s summer but I don’t think “bare” is going to work) with me. We’re all human and bleed red. And even if you’re not a believer, you can appreciate the Creation Story of Adam and Eve – and the fact that many of the creation stories in the non-Judeo-Christian-Muslim cultures also talk about the first man and woman. One take-away from these stories is that we are all related, all family.
And from hard-earned experience, we know how bumpy it can be to keep peace in the family and the bumps, many hard, that come from living together or just living period! It’s tough, no one said life would be easy. And there are many that rightly feel they’ve hit more than their fair share of potholes. But if we dwell in the past, give ourselves over to “Woe is me. Fuck the other guy; it’s time I got mine.” I’m afraid we’re going to be stuck in the past and mired with pains it’s too late to correct. We can only heal in the now, in the present, under the sun, and with blood flowing through a heart open to all. That’s just how it works. Hate and envy are going to close us down and restrict the positive healing life forces.
Ooh – does that ever sound like a load of BS. Well, maybe, but it was nice typing it out anyhow, giving you a little laugh.
OK. Here’s the practicum – basic training. Like “On your face, soldier, give me fifty pushups. On the double. And follow that with twenty-five crunches.” [I probably got the count wrong since I’m a wimp.]
Two basics: Smile and do random acts of kindness. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. OK. Go for it. Next time you’re out and about, try smiling at the people you meet on the street or in the store. It doesn’t have to be a big shit-eating grin, a simple smile, and maybe a nod to acknowledge the other person is as deserving as you to be on this earth and to share the space near you. See if you get up to fifty. Heck, go for fifteen as a starter; we could be in training together on this. AND, if you’re wearing a mask, protecting yourself and others, I’ll even count smiles that are masked. The twinkle in your eyes will tell others there’s a genuine smile behind the mask.
As for the sit-ups – random acts of kindness. These crunches are tougher; hence the count is lower. Do something where you won’t be thanked. For example, you could pick up a piece of litter from the street; when you’re driving, stop and yield to a pedestrian. Or here’s a major challenge – I’ll count it double if you come to a real full stop at the stop sign and take a full breath. And if someone arrives at the cross street at about the same time, wave them through, you don’t always have to be first.
Little things that you don’t have to do but you do anyhow because it brings peace to the family. There are plenty of other little things you can discover for yourselves. Some may seem funny. For example, I could put my hearing aids in first thing in the morning before my wife says, “Can’t you hear me?” or even take the recycles out to the bin before it gets full. Keep the bathroom sink clean and the lid on the toilet down. Some easy nitty-gritty. It May seem stupid but try it. I bet the first time a stranger returns your smile it will make your day.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at email@example.com.