I was feeling incredible the other morning. Having had a restful sleep, I woke up to the loving triple embrace from my beautiful wife and two happy sons. After breakfast, my sons and I embarked on our daily walk to school. It had rained a bit earlier in the morning, but the sun was out, so the smell of fresh rain evaporating in the morning sun was overwhelming. As soon as we left the condo, my oldest son took a big whiff and giggled, “I smell water, Daddy!” It was perfect “Goldilocks” weather–neither too hot, nor too cold. Little did I know that one small incident had the power to sabotage my entire day.
On the way to my older son’s school, we approached on middle-aged woman who was walking on the sidewalk. In the suburbs of Northern California, no one walks anymore. On our daily 25 minute walk to school, we are lucky to see 3 or 4 other people walking down the street. I was so excited to see another walker that I courteously dragged our stroller to the side of the narrow walkway to arrange the meeting. I smiled like a Disney character and prepared to give a great big hello. For some reason, this woman glanced at us, sucked her teeth, and shook her head, as if we did not belong in this world. She walked right by without saying a word.
In my younger days I would have screamed, “HELLO? Miss Congeniality!” Fortunately, I had my son with me, so I just kept walking as if nothing happened, but it bugged me to no end. It was as if my great mood was cruising along like falling dominoes, and this woman was the one domino out of place that ruined the whole chain. Have you noticed that it just takes one bad apple to spoil a wonderful day? Negativity squashes positive vibes like ants on a freeway. I kept thinking that this woman was purposely sent to crap on my day. Then I remembered what my wife would tell me when I whined about someone not returning my email or phone calls. I would always assume that I had done something wrong or that the person I was trying to contact was angry with me.
“Most of the things people do have nothing to do with you, Kozo. You’re just so egocentric that you think the world revolves around you,” my wife consoled me.
Was I being egocentric here? Of course, I was. What if this woman had recently lost her child who was the same age as my son? What if she had just gotten evicted from her home? Wouldn’t this be reason enough to not say hi to some grinning fool and his adorable son? I realized that my instinct to attack negativity was only causing me further pain. If I empathized with this woman then I would realize that she must be having a really tough day if she didn’t even want to say hi to another human being. I made a vow to send lovingkindness to anyone else who refused to exchange pleasantries with me. Rather than get upset with the broken-down domino for ending the fun, why not try to pull this domino up and start the chain of positivity again? Luckily, this revelation saved my wonderful day.
Feel free to post up your beautiful moments or ways that you “keep keepin’ on.”
Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.