This was our running joke when we lived in NYC. I was always carrying food, but the people begging almost never wanted my healthy snacks or fruit - they wanted burgers or fried chicken or just cash.
This morning as I walked to work I met a young man who was asking for food or money. I looked in my bag. I had not brought a lot with me, but I had a handful of really juicy, sweet carrots. They weren't cut or peeled, just rinsed, as that is how I eat them. I hesitated, telling him I had some food, but it might not be what he wanted. He said anything would help, he was hungry. I held out half of my carrots. He grabbed them and then looked at me. He looked disappointed. I told him that they're really sweet and fresh, and he responded, "OH! I can bring them to the park later and feed them to the squirrels."
"The squirrels?? That's my lunch! I offered it so you would get some nourishment," I told him, laughing but honestly a little offended. In the end, he said that he would eat them, but he may have been placating me. Now it's lunchtime, and I'm hungry, and he is probably eating a burger and feeding my organic carrots to the squirrels.
So here's the question: do I have the right to be offended? I mean, from a yogic/spiritual/completely healthy perspective, I think that any gift should be given freely, without any intention of what happens to it next. We should give for the sake of giving, and once given, let go of any attachments to the gift. So that's what I'm working on... I'll let you know how it goes, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
EVENT: In line with this theme, we will be starting our Lunches for Locals Program. We will be making PB&Js and then bringing them down to the Mission to hand out to anyone who wants some. Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 1-3 pm. We'll be at the studio making sandwiches until about 2, then head over to hand them out. Join us for any or all of it. :)
Sign up for this free event HERE.
This morning I taught a corporate meditation class. Out of ten students, two had never tried meditation before. Out of those two, I made one sob.
The meditation started with physical relaxation, then we worked through some manifestation scenarios - finding a bag of cash with his name on it, with a thank you note, from a mystery giver. A mystical woman who offers him three wishes - one easy, one hard but possible, the last something he could never achieve on his own, something impossible. I asked him (them) to imagine the feelings that would come with each of these. At the final one, the impossible wish, he started to cry. It was so sudden, I thought he was laughing at first - I thought maybe it was too ridiculous, too far outside of his comfort zone, and he couldn't help but laugh. I quickly realized he was crying, hard. I put my hand on his back and rubbed gently. We only had a minute or two left for meditation, so I finished the meditation, brought everyone back to their seats (mentally) and namaste-ed to end our session. I pushed my chair back to make room for him to make a beeline for the door, which he did.
To be honest, my first thought was "yay, I helped someone to feel something real!" and, no, I'm not proud of that thought. It wasn't about me - which was my second thought. My third thought was "what do I do now? We're in an office..."
In a yoga studio, a park, a grocery store - anywhere else, I would have been able to handle this. Crying in meditation or yoga is SO normal. But in an office, a BIG one with lots of dynamics and lots of departments full of employees who may not have ever met each other, with it's mysterious politics and rules... I was dumbstruck. I asked if anyone knew him, but they didn't.
He was not crying over a house or a car. He was crying the way we only cry for people. I don't know what was wrong, but it was much bigger than the meditation. And my heart is breaking for him and his mystery sadness.
I want to figure out what I should have done. I think "shoulds" are usually worse than useless, they're often harmful. But if I can figure out how I should have handled that, then next time I'll be prepared. I will do better. I will be able to allow the crying to be a part of the process. I will hopefully be able to make everyone more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
The worst part is, I'm afraid I've turned him off of meditation forever.