“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
~ Pablo Picasso
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
What are the things and people you remember most in life?
We tend to remember what shook us up, what was extraordinary, different, out of the usual pattern of mainstream life.
We remember that young man who looked at us with different eyes, who “saw” us as oppose to just being part of the landscape. We remember the friend who texts random jokes or poems or comments and lightens our day up both because of the randomness and the caring act. We remember the stranger who shared the umbrella when we forgot ours, or the public servant who kept the office open just a bit longer so we could complete an application. The bus driver who stopped somewhere far from the formal bus stop because we were with a baby and it was snowing. The bus driver who extended the bus route in a highly snowing day to bring us all safe home, even when it was out of his duty. The friend who spotted our upsetting, followed us and hugged us for a long time. The employers who opened the interview session with a breading exercise so we would relax, and ended up hiring both candidates because they liked both!
We may also remember not when we did a mediocre or regular job, but when we did something we were proud of. That time when we stretched ourselves beyond our comfort zone and learned something new. The time when we accepted a challenge or decided to give more than we were asked.
What do you remember? What extra mile stories from others do you have in your life? What are the extra mile stories you are offering to others?
Ask yourself: why are you so busy?
Isn’t life about appreciating the beauty we have around (free of charge!) and sharing moments of joy, grief, dreaming and working together with family and friends?
Life is full of angels: not the ones with wings from the fairy tales, but real ones: They look like the dog that patiently awaits and shakes its tail off when she sees you coming. They look like the horse who rides suicidal kids and allows them to believe in life and love again; they look like the orcas who come to play in the Patagonia with that rare marine biologist turned park ranger; they look like a friend of mine who told me his purpose in life is to light other people’s up…
What about Nature? isn’t she throwing her extra mile every day at us, through her sunsets and mountains, her flowers and forests, her streams and clouds?
May these angels also look like you, like me?
What would it take?
Maybe a bit of observation. Of noticing that others are alone, upset or overwhelmed. Of noticing that giving an extra minute, walking a bit longer, giving your seat and looking others in the eye don’t really cost much.
Maybe noticing that apart from your own challenges and issues, there are many out there who may have a bigger burden to carry. That society continuously tells them they are not enough, they don’t have enough, they are flawed and imperfect and don’t deserve love.
And what about those who are not human? What does it cost you? To think on the consequences and impacts the choices you make, the things you decide to buy, or throw or create may have on other beings, the land, and future generations?
This week, think on the moments you experimented that “extra mile” done to you. The moments when you woke up (even briefly) and saw what the world was below all the layers. The moments in which you knew what we were and why we are here…wouldn’t you want to re-create that for others?
How would you start?
I suggest, the next time, just walk the extra mile…