I am an avid reader as well as someone who has worked for years in the healing arts. Over the past forty years, I have shared yoga and meditation with emphasis on the connection to the breath. I am a clinical psychotherapist focusing on the Cognitive Behavioral approach, which under my use of it; “No One is What they Think”. In simpler terms we cannot stop our thoughts, but we can learn not to fixate on them and detach. So I have great empathy for the human condition and the struggle we all have in the moment to moment.
How I have learned to integrate the above in my daily life is to serve others. I choose to see the glass as half full. It seems that whenever that switch has been thrown and has stayed “On”, I’ve become much more aware of others that have done the same. Anyone who has done selfless service from Bill Gates with his foundation, to my friend of twenty some years, who was homeless and was suppose to have died a horrible death, knows enough about themselves to notice others around them that are having an even harder time. She’s always taking care of somebody.
To serve someone can take as many forms as there are people. A young man with whom I’ve had the privilege to know from his birth to the present has chosen to take this message out in his community to share a moment of kindness with a perfect stranger. You can go to his blog at facebook.com/hashtag/illbethereproject
On a personal level, whenever I feel depressed, I leave the isolation of my office and go for a walk in the neighborhood. I greet everyone that I encounter. Just a simple “Hi, Good morning!” does it for me. This takes me out of my loop, so to speak and my depression is lifted. There are so many in this large city who without choice have found themselves to be cut off and disenfranchised. Suddenly without any social support, rich or poor they isolate. It’s a bad feeling to feel alone, and our minds, for the most part tend to make it worse than what it is.
I renew every morning this pledge, when I can remember to do so; To greet, have a conversation or wave to a stranger. I wish I had been taught this social grace at a much earlier age, but fear, age, circumstances and life have most of us on auto pilot until we “Wake Up”.
John Shinavier, MA
John is the founder and Executive Director of a 501c which serves the homeless of Los Angeles http://www.underthebridges.org A 500 hr. registered Yoga Teacher who teaches locally. A Therapist who works out of his home office, and a Swami from the lineage of Saraswati.