I used to live in San Francisco. Seeing street entertainers is not only a common occurrence there, they are one of the reasons so many visitors come to the city to vacation. People enjoy seeing and experiencing different things than what they see back home. We now live in a rural community. We moved here two years ago. Life here is completely different from what I’m used to. I like living among nature; the forests and seeing the occasional deer walk by, but when it comes to people there is no diversity. I’m a hippie, bohemian kinda chick. I’m the one who stands out when I go out in public and maybe some people think I’m weird. Living in large cities I blend in. Nobody cares.
You know what else you don’t see in small towns? Street performers…until today.
Imagine my surprise when we drove into the grocery store parking lot this morning and I saw a man singing his little heart out, holding a sign that read, “Singing for my supper.” I was delighted! Finally there was someone interesting to look at and hear! When I got out of the car he was singing “Moon River” which made me think of the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” one of my favorites. He didn’t sound too bad either. I knew I was going to contribute to his supper fund when I came out of the store.
Hubby saw him too and commented, “Another crazy person.” He thought it was ridiculous for this guy who looked to be around sixty years old, to sing in a grocery store parking lot. It was just plain weird. I thought it was weird Hubby felt that way. He lived in San Francisco for over thirty years and saw lots of different people and lots of street performers. I doubt if he saw any of them as crazy. They were part of the City. Maybe this guy needed extra money because his monthly Social Security check wasn’t enough to live on. Who knows? Who cares? I certainly didn’t. I thought it took guts to do what he was doing.
I did my shopping and gave the performer a few bucks. I told him I enjoyed his singing. We chatted a few minutes and I learned his nephew had performed in a band in the 70s.
He was proud of his nephew for making it in the music industry and that I could watch the band perform on YouTube.
It’s interesting how we view things differently depending on where we live. I’m used to diversity. I like diversity. It makes life interesting and who knows maybe we see someone doing something and we decide we want to do that too. Maybe next week I will sing in a parking lot, or inside a store for that matter.
Last October I wrote that I would stop writing here and my posts could be found on Tumblr and Face Book. Well, for the most part I didn’t write there either. I just shared memes and pictures I found on other Buddhist/Bohemian sites. I guess I just didn’t have much to say…until today. I won’t promise I will post on a regular basis. I will say, I’ll write when I have something to say. And today I felt like writing. Here goes…
Yesterday I went to town to do errands and buy food for the week. We live in a rural area and the closest town to shop is ten miles away, which means the only human contact (besides hubby when he comes home from work) is when we go to town.
Now that I got that out of the way, I can go back to the real story I wanted to write. Hubby stopped into a shop while I waited in the car. To the left of me was a woman sitting in her car looking at her phone. (Isn’t everyone doing this these days? I never see anyone just sit and be still). As I glanced over at her for the second time I noticed another woman walking towards her car. I recognized the woman approaching the car as the same person Hubby once called “crazy.” When he called her that I asked why he thought she was and he said, “Because I see her all over town and she’s always talking to herself.”
This woman stood next to the driverside window. She didn’t say anything but she kept looking at the other woman who was still staring at her phone. She only stood there about a minute and then continued to walk…toward my car. Without hesitating I looked for something I could look at so I wouldn’t have to interract with this person. What did I find? The car registration. I kept looking at that paper, hoping she wouldn’t approach and ask for what I thought would be money. She never stopped at my car. She continued walking…and that’s when it hit me.
I felt this overwhelming sense of shame and guilt. How could I claim to practice Buddhist teachings and ignore this woman? All I knew about her is that she walks around town and talks to herself. Is she homeless? Is she hungry? The only thing I did know is that she is a sentient being who deserves compassion and respect. I turned to look at her but she disappeared among the cars in the parking lot.
Just then Hubby came back and I decided we would find her and I would give her money. It was the only thing I could think of. My voice cracked as I told Hubby what happened while he was gone. He pulled out of the parking space and less than a minute later we saw her. He stopped the car and I called to her. She came right over, a big smile on her face like she knew us. I can’t remember what I said but I gave her a ten dollar bill. She was so thankful and wanted me to wait. She wanted to give me something in return! As she searched her coat pockets she asked my name and where was I from. After a minute she gave up looking. Her pockets were empty. We chatted a few more minutes and I said I would see her later.
This woman “who talked to herself” had no trouble having a nice conversation with me. Maybe she talks to herself because she can’t find anyone willing to talk to her. I still see her warm smile and I can feel her hand squeezing mine in gratitude. That day I may have given her some money but she gave me so much more; the reminder that we are all in this life together. We all need to be seen and heard. We are all worthy of love. And to never judge someone because of what we “perceive” them to be.
I’m moving my blog to my Face Book page. If you want to read any updates, you will find them there. It got to hard trying to keep up with all my social media sites and I felt stressed updating all of them.
It’s hard enough keeping up with all the meditating and practicing kindness. Living a Buddha life these days is hard enough without me adding extra stress to my day. LOL!
See you over here!
Strangers tend to tell me their life stories (and problems) within minutes of meeting me. Friends can do the same and I used to give them advice but a wise person told me, “words don’t teach, life experience does.” So now I listen (sort of) and say I’m sorry to hear that…then I am on my way. As an empath, I can absorb their energy and leave the conversation feeling zapped. while the other person feels better. (The same thing happened when I was a massage therapist. My client felt great and I had their aches and pains. I learned to ground myself before each session and that problem was solved). As for what some call “holding space” I learned that I need to take care of myself first and the best thing for me is to listen and remain detached (Buddhism taught me this). If someone sees me as someone to constantly vent to, I learned to stop spending time with them and not feel guilty. It’s normal to have problems from time to time but there are those whose lives are nothing but continuous drama. I do think drama can become a form of addiction.
A few weeks ago I decided to share good news stories every Sunday, but doing it every Sunday wasn’t working. Trying to keep up with everything going on in my life was making me stressed out and Inge being stressed isn’t good for anyone. So, I am changing that idea and still sharing good news stories (because there’s enough negative news) but I’m sharing whenever I can.
This past week Hurricane Harvey was in the news and social media almost nonstop. I managed to find stories about compassion in action of humans helping others in need. These people remind me of all those sentient beings (and there are many) who live their lives with compassion, without looking for recognition. They restore my faith in humanity. Click the titles and you will be connected to the story.
“Flooding trapped workers at a Mexican bakery for two days. They spent it baking for Harvey victims.”
Actually this one I found on Twitter. The tweet and picture tell the whole story.
“This is Houston. Wanna know what this line is for? Food? Water? Housing? Nope. These people are waiting in line TO VOLUNTEER. #Harvey“
The owner of Gallery Furniture says he’s welcomed 400 Texans with hot food and a place to rest.
Here’s a couple videos:
I’m reading “The Book of Joy” and got to the part where the Dalai Lama says he meditates/prayers five hours a day! It took me some time to grasp what he said. I mean five hours a day! I am happy when I get in 20 minutes a day. I can’t imagine doing anything for that long everyday and that includes snooping around the Internet.
Photo credit: Josh Bulriss
The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate.
— Thich Nhat Han
Photo credit: Josh Bulriss Gallery