It was a beautiful sunny day on the beach, the kind of day that makes me love summer and wonder why I live in a part of the country that only experiences this type of day 3 months out of the year. The 8 kids in our group were splashing around, enjoying the calm water. Rocks to the right of us created a fun-looking obstacle course that we (the three adults) asked the children not to climb. Then, a few minutes later...the two-year-old was climbing around on the rocks. I looked over and saw him, thinking "he's climbing the rocks," as I scanned back to check the other children for a head count and safety check. Then, uh-oh, two-year-old down. He'd fallen and was holding himself up precariously. I rushed over and grabbed the babe; he was more scared than hurt, and I was left wondering, "what just happened?"
I was that Mom.
You know the ones: nonchalant, seemingly unconcerned as their children rip through your house or hang dangerously from the monkey bars, relaxed and, to the outside observer, not grounded and not paying attention.
I was "that" Mom (and not in a good way).
I had seen him climbing and in my head thought "look at him - he's climbing."
I was out of my body. I was seeing and yet not really seeing. I was watching without really noticing what I watched.
This experience caused two thoughts:
1. It was a tangible reminder of how often people walk around ungrounded.
2. Do people strike out with the aim to be "that" person when "that" is not said so favorably?
We often move about our lives on auto-pilot. Sure, we are physically there -- our bodies can be seen with the naked eye -- and yet, we are not really present. Our thoughts and spirits are elsewhere. We are planning a vacation, thinking about our date later that night, or working through something from the past. Regardless, we are not fully living in the here and now.
I watched a preview for a movie coming out about a man serving in the military who stands by his conviction of not using weapons. He took a stand and he changed things, maybe not for all of time, yet he did something different. In the preview, it shows the resistance of his fellow soldiers. It occurred to me "would I want to be 'that' guy, the one who goes against him for believing in what he feels is right?"
There are two sides to every story. If someone challenges your picture of how things should be, isn't it worth it to give that person a chance? Hear them out, rather than react with resistance or violence and end up being "that" person?
We are at a point in the world where being present, in the body, and listening to all sides is paramount while simultaneously we are constantly being pulled out of our body through social media and text messages (to name a couple of the demands on our time and attention). Sticking with old programming simply because that is how everyone has done it before no longer works. We have to adjust, we have to change, we have to update our pictures while also finding methods to stay present for what unfolds. Question, notice, dare to ground and be present, take stock, and if you have the chance to be "that" person, be that person for the good stuff.
As we do.
ps - For more of a look at programming, check out our See Your Life program, where we use meditation to guide you through looking at key pieces of your life with the aim of helping you see your next step.