The Bridge

Happy New Year!

Today, as we straddle 2013 and 2014, we might bridge what was and what will be by considering the progress we’ve made! Is there something in particular that you are proud of from 2013? When you look back and think about the most satisfying moments, what are they? Are they work, personal, or both? Did you overcome a barrier, let something go, or find a new pathway to your heart’s desire? Is there anything you’d care to share?

 

I’ve got a couple.

 First of all, I stood up for myself in a difficult work situation.  It was very stressful, but I am pleased that I did nothing in anger.  I was deliberate (not easy for me), specific, and communicated my position with confidence and clarity.  I was also detached from the outcome.  In other words, I didn’t have a pass/fail measurement other than knowing that I had to do it.  When we set boundaries, the singular goal is to take care of ourselves, not to obtain a specific outcome or change from the other people involved.  Why?  We can only control our own behavior.

 Second, I’ve taken pretty good care of myself health-wise.  I’m working less (finally!), meditating more, and modifying my diet to help manage a condition I have.  Like #1, it’s on me to take good care of myself.  No one else is on the hook for it.

Third, I’ve been able to dial up my patience a bit, which goes a long way towards increasing my sense of serenity and well-being.

All three are examples of good self-leadership and managing my strengths.  That is my goal.

Finally, you may remember that I spoke about The Angel Within, and my disappointment in myself when I wasn’t able to reach out to a blind man (click here to read it).  Well, I have an update!

On Christmas eve, I was up early.  I was working and kind of wound up, so I headed out to buy a paper.  Sure enough, there he was – before 6 am –  setting up his “camp” on the sidewalk near the store.

Guess what?  I instantly realized that it was a great opportunity – I thought about the blog, and your awesome comments and encouragement.  In short, my hesitation was vanquished by the conversations we had and I was determined to act.  For heaven’s sake, if not Christmas Eve, then when?

I purchased my paper, thumbed through the money in my wallet, and pulled out the largest bill I had.  I headed out the door.  I discovered, to my delight, that the Universe was making sure I didn’t chicken out.  The blind man, completely wrapped in his huge black hooded parka, was thumping across the parking lot, tapping the ground with his white cane with each long stride.  He was headed right for me.  I couldn’t see his face for it was mostly covered by the big black scarf.

Before our blog discussion, I might have been frightened.  This time I wasn’t afraid at all, just totally committed to stay the course.  I decided to speak.

“Sir, do you need help?”

“No,” he replied in a clear voice.  “I’ve got it.”

I waited for him to get a bit closer.

“Do you need some money?”

“Okay,” he said, responding very quickly. He pulled the mitten off his left hand and extended it.  I noticed it wasn’t clean.

“Here you go,” I said, pushing the bill into his hand.

He crumbled it, detecting that there was only one.

“Dollar?”

It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t know what I had given him.

“No,” I replied, “a twenty.” 

“Oh!”  He sounded surprised. 

I walked toward my car, feeling a rising sense of accomplishment.  I had done it!  I had done exactly what I could not do, just one week before.   

“Merry Christmas, sir,” I called, looking over my shoulder.

“Merry Christmas,” he said, without moving.  He stood there until I was gone.

I drove back to my warm, comfortable home, read the paper, and worked.  He likely sat in the cold for the same amount of time.  I thought of him often.

As you guys know, I have Individualization as a strength (which means that I find each person unique and fascinating).  I wonder what his story is.  Why is he blind? Why does he sit there every day?  Where is he from?  Does he have family?

Today’s photo was taken at about 9 am today – New Year’s Day – at a beautiful school near where I live.  Bridges play an important role – they help us connect.  Lots of things rely on bridges, don’t they?  Relationships, business, nations, data, knowledge, and time.  With your help, I was able to bridge my disappointing past with a more hopeful future.

I plan to do a lot more of that in 2014.  Onward! 

2 thoughts on “The Bridge

  1. Now it will come as no surprise that I want to pause and celebrate with you, dear Maureen. I love how you set a clear intention for giving of yourself to this stranger – and how the Universe conspired to bring your wish to life. How fantastic! Congratulations on overcoming your fear. You are brave and good, my friend. Truly an inspiration.

    Love the bridge photo – the brilliant red against the white snow. Such possibility. I love, too, how the ‘conversation’ around your earlier blog served as a bridge supporting you in doing what you felt you needed to do. I have a sense that by giving to the dark man at the drugstore you have finally achieved a semblance of balance related to helping total strangers.

    My most satisfying moments…continuing to choose love, friendship, and health as my beacons, getting a new job that aligns with my interests, and honoring my need for self-expression and embracing my creativity.

    Here’s to a year of light, laughter and love in 2014! See you here!

    • Ah, Vicki! Thank you! Thinking back, I believe that it was your giving me permission to be right where I was, without judgment, that made it easier to do what I did. I was truly all in. It felt good!

      You make a great point – has this given me the boost I need to make the same decision next time, in different circumstances, with different people? We shall see. I hope so.

      Thanks for your kind remarks about the photo – I was determined to shoot there when I saw the fresh snow, regardless of the fact that it is WICKED COLD here (as you know). I was outside about 90 minutes (it’s a large place and I have to shoot a ton to “work it’ and get the best shots) and I truly was frozen, despite my layers. At one point, I could not feel the shutter button – I looked at my hands and they were bright red from holding the camera in the 10 degree temperature…. I had warmers in my pockets, but still…. having said all that, it was worth it. :-)

      Love your most satisfying moments – indeed, you have done all that and more. You didn’t talk about how you support others like me! But that’s okay, I will remember for you!

      Onward!

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