Friday, December 26, 2014

My Superhero Cape

A few weeks ago while I was staying at the zen center, a friend me saw me getting ready for a run and said, "Wow, you look like a superhero with your running clothes and headset, phone holder stuff!" And I thought, Yes! I'm totally going to put that down as one of the many reasons I love to run! Feeling those endorphins coursing through my body, the sun kissing my face gliding down the road, I do feel like a superhero!

Sometimes, I have to be reminded to use my superhero powers for good. Like when I am running down the street and there's this guy (it's always a guy) who looks at me, knows there's a stroller to his left and I'm coming straight down the sidewalk. Most people most of the time would work with me to let me pass (and I will hop off the sidewalk if I need to, bust out some yoga twisting moves, do whatever, to politely pass). But this guy, he sees me, he looks me up and down, and almost smugly challenges me to pass him. Makes himself bigger sometimes even! I know what he's saying, he knows what he's saying. In those moments, I smile and think...you think I'm just a little white-looking girl whose too nice to elbow check you in the face!

Then, I remember that compassion is a practice. Which yes, is a "nice" thing to think, but more so a respectful thing to think.
As I pass him, with my superhero powers fully intact, I realize I don't really care if I have to pause a second or if I have to jump onto the street last minute. My superhero cape is not made of being right or puffing up my feathers in response to whatever it is he needs to show me in that moment; it's made up of letting go of the need to be right or the need to show my strength.  Because, I am confident that I am strong and that letting go gives me more than holding on to being right, or whatever it is that I think I need to feel secure. 

And actually, if he feels so threatened by a little white-looking girl running down the street that he needs to "hold his stance" to show whatever; his manliness, his power, his whatever - than he is suffering in other ways.  We are all suffering in different ways at different times.  He is showing me that he has insecurities with power, manliness, or whatever. 

Perhaps, if I resist the urge to elbow check him, and instead open my heart to being compassionate and not instigated by his actions, it could, one day, open up space for his heart to heal too.  Not betting that happens in this two second interaction between us that will probably never happen again, but hey, why not open my heart?  I'm not offering it to him. Just opening it.  And that, I think can heal the world. 

We all are superheroes with powers of some kind or another.  What's your cape made of? And more importantly, how do you use it? ;-)