Kindness of Strangers

“The present moment is the only moment available to us and the door to all moments” – Thich Nhat Hanh

There are countless sayings, quotes and teachings about staying open to the present moment. I think maybe the biggest struggle of the human experience is not living in the past or jumping into the future but instead to Be Here Now. I don’t know about you but when I am able to show up fully in the moment magic unfolds—whether it’s during mediation, practicing yoga, connecting with loved ones or carrying out one the tasks of my day. My teacher says the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of your full attention. Think about it. How often do you give your FULL attention to the person you are with? Yup. That means no phone at the dinner table, listening without judgment and without distraction. When we stay open and are fully present in the Now, magic unfolds.

This is a little different post for me. Ayurveda is a complete science for living; Mind, Body and Spirit. I usually post a recipe or an Ayurveda tip on diet or lifestyle, but today I wanted to share an experience I had that was a reminder of the beauty of the human Spirit and the gift of witnessing the kindness of strangers.

Sunday my husband Rod and I went for a swim in a nearby lake we often frequent. I was in a hurry because I had a busy day ahead of me and was focused on checking a swim off my to-do list and on to the next tasks. When we arrived the parking lot was packed and we noticed people were dressed up and carrying flowers. I quickly realized they were there to attend a memorial for a 70-year old man that had drowned in the lake earlier in the week. We didn’t feel right about suiting up in front of the friends and family of this man and jumping in the lake for a swim as if nothing had happened so we drove next door to the boat launch to pay our respects from a distance. While we were there we met a man named Joe and his beautiful pit bull named Mac. We told Joe what we were doing and he told us he was at the lake the day of the accident. We stood together and Joe said some kind words and we paused for a moment of silence. I told Joe I was feeling a little uneasy about swimming in the lake knowing what had happened on the that week and with the memorial going on. Joe said a couple of things I liked. He noted that the man didn’t die staring a ceiling tile in a hospital—he died doing something that he loved. Joe said the man must have lived a full life and seemed to have a lot of people who cared about him, given the size of the memorial.

After that we decided to head out for our swim. It was lovely and I felt calm and relaxed the entire swim. Joe waited to make sure we arrived at the shore safely. When I arrived on shore I noticed Joe was talking to a man who appeared to be trying out a new kayak. We were all hanging out in the water and as it turned out the man had lost most of the use of his legs. He was on his own for the first time with his kayak. Amazing! He had such an inspiring energy and positive attitude. Joe was kind enough to take pictures of his new friend when he victoriously got in and out of kayak on his own. I noticed how Joe treated everyone. Kind, open, and fully present. Wow! When Rod returned from his swim he began to talk to the two men. I was quiet and watched how these three men who appeared so vastly different laughed and connected easily. Instead of telling Rod to hurry-up because I have a busy day or thinking about all the things on my to-do list, I just watched and listened. In that moment was reminded of the gift of simple connection and the beauty in the diversity of the human spirit.

I may never see these people again, and on a different day, I’m sorry to say I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to say little more than “hello”. But today I was present fully in the moment with three other souls who were willing to do the same, which, was a huge blessing for me. I was reminded that when we stay present we open ourselves to the beauty in all things.

Wishing you Vibrant Living