Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Passing people by on the street in lockdown London

I don’t know why I am still so surprised at the different reactions I am getting to my approaches to those I encounter on my daily walk around the streets.  Surely, I ask myself, I should know by now that my smiles, accompanied often by a few words, will not always be welcomed.  Indeed they can often be rebuffed, which happens surprisingly often, even in these difficult days when I suppose I assume that we would all welcome friendly approaches from our fellow quarantined human beings.  I am also taken aback at how hurt I feel when I encounter blank stares as I try to engage people I pass in some kind of interaction.  They must all be aware of me, as they correctly swerve 2 metres away from me, and yet they often make not a flicker of eye contact, let alone respond to my words of thanks as I see them moving aside to let me pass.

Of course there are many exceptions, people who are happy to smile in response, even sometimes to stop and talk, and these brief encounters lighten my day and warm my heart.  As a Fire person, I suppose by now I should be aware of how much this heart of mine needs the warmth of its interactions with other people to keep it going.  But I often seem to forget this simple fact, which should act as a reminder to me that, however, much we think we know each element’s needs, particularly our own, we can never fully satisfy them.  At some level we never easily leave that one small circle which our element forms in the larger five-element circle of life.  We remain as though conditioned by who we are despite all our attempts, particularly as five element acupuncturists, to think ourselves into the circles of the other elements.  It becomes a weakness in us if we ignore this, and forget how much our element colours all we do. 

Perhaps, then, it would be a good lesson for me on my walk outside today to try simply to “walk on by”, rather than feel that I should interact in some way with each person I pass.  And I could also learn to use my experiences out in the streets as a useful way of trying to diagnose the different elements of those I meet through their reactions to my approaches.

 

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