I recently read an article by Christian Conte titled “The Makings of A Peacemaker”. One aspect of his job is to go into maximum security prisons and defuse tense, anger-filled and potentially violent situations. He writes, “I’ve always had a philosophy of meeting people where they are. I think that’s such a powerful phrase, and I hear a lot of people use it who don’t acually do it. I genuinely make an effort to meet people where they are – not just in that moment – not just that one time – but in every moment.”
He characterizes the practice by saying, “I’m not coming at you. I’m here with you.” (Spirituality and Health, 54).
This is something I’ve consciously worked on and continue to. And from my perspective, like so many seemingly simple things, it’s deceptively difficult to do. Time after time I find myself judging, bringing my own perceptions and expectations into a conversation, a situation or a relationship.
Lately I’ve seen both the benefits of practicing this mindfully and the issues that happen when you don’t.
Meeting people where they are is a powerful thing. It’s the stuff that changes hearts. It does take a maddning mix of both humility and self confidence that is daunting especially in the difficult situations where it shines. But when you do it right, magic happens.
I see this practice as a powerful tool when used in conjunction with the Buddhist notion of “non attachment”. In a way, it’s an elaboration of that notion. A shift, a movement from inside to outside. When you separate your feelings and past experiences from your current ones you create space for potential and that is the place where magic happens.
Spirituality and Health. Conte, Christian, “The Making of A Peacemaker”. Vol: November/December 2019.
I’ve recently started running again. I am not naturally gifted in this area, at all. I want to be. I wish I was. But I am not. I watch with envy those runners who look like gazelles, their running effortless and beautiful. Mine looks more like a hippo lumbering through the savanna. Do hippo even live in the savanna?
But I persevere. I’ve been attempting a “Couch to 5k” program for the last two months. I aim for three days a week, it’s usually more like two. Lately my calves have been causing me some difficulty. They don’t cramp, they harden. That’s the best way I can describe it. It’s very uncomfortable and I fear that I’ll not be able to progress any further until I come up with a solution for this problem.
Most internet sites suggest that adding mileage too quickly is the culprit. Or your shoes. My shoes are new and I’ve been adding way less than the suggested 10% each week. So I doubt it’s that. Then I stumbled upon a wonderful website called The Balanced Runner. It’s a running fundamentals website that offers free professional tips. Turns out I’ve been making some very common mistakes in my form.
I am excited to get back out there and try it again this time with some slight form changes. I am confident that I will see a significant difference. I hope that this will help me break through the 8 minute plateau I’ve been stuck at for a few weeks. And just so you’re not overestimating my abilities, that’s not an 8 minute mile, that’s running non-stop for 8 minutes, at a turtle’s pace. (Although Kim says I’ve graduated to “slightly faster turtle” now…).
I was surprised that something as “natural” as running wasn’t quite as natural as I had assumed. As with many things the devil is in the details. How encouraging that even small changes can bring about large results. We can all make one small change for the better. I wonder what kind of results we would set in motion with just one small change?