As I walked throuh the streets of Manhattan this past Thursday night I focused on absorbing what was happening all around me.
The people, the smells, the feeling of the air and little drizzle of rain. The feeling of the concrete beneath my feet, the sounds of my boots each step I took. So many lights, so many signs demanding attention.
Its always hard, especially when leaving Penn Station, as it's a guarantee to see someone, many someone's, living off the streets most of which I'd expect are genuinely in need.
This night I see another young man sitting with his head down - he is holding a sign too but not as remarkable the LCD billboards that shine down on him. His is just asking for help, asking for money on his birthday. Immediately I wonder if it is in fact his birthday or an attempt to generate empathy and open wallets and purses. Doesn't really matter, he's definitely in need -we all are.
I look around at so many faces and wonder if they see him or pretend not to. I wonder how much cash is in all these pockets and if it would even help the problem. It just seems like everyone is focused on getting to their destination, their conversation, their site seeing pictures, their phones... we have tunnel vision syndrome.
As I keep walking I feel a heaviness setting in as my inner voice casts blame down upon me for looking at others to do what I should do myself. I remind myself I cannot judge. But how can I help? I wonder if I could make mockup signs & flashing mini marquees and set them up around the homeless or those asking for help if people would pay more attention then. Maybe it would get into the news and maybe that could help people look around more.
Its hard to stay focused with so many fronts to deal with not only just issues but working through the challenges of daily life itself.
As I walk further though the streets I work on focusing on the positives, think about ideas, and remind myself that I'm growing because I am seeing more and more of what is really around me instead of seeing only what I want to see. I feel hopeful even in the face of tremendous strain and challenges.
And I reset my intention to be more mindful, more open, to Walk in Beauty. And next time even if I am late I'll stop and acknowledge even just one person, even if all I can do is look into their eyes and say hello.
"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief." Gerry Spence
And so I continue to wonder in awe of the beauty around me and wonder how I might somehow be a more vibrant part of it all.
I have to be more open, open my eyes, mind, and heart wider. I must be more honest with myself and the world everyday.