I’m writing you from Rome, my favorite city in the world — and feeling a bit embarrassed to share with you what happened this weekend.
I was walking down the Via del Corso, one of my favorite streets, feeling happy and light.
When suddenly - BOOM! - someone smashed into me. I snapped my head around and saw the girl casually walking away. Did I have a lesson to teach her!
Aspetta! I said loudly (“wait" in Italian). I walked towards her.
“Why not say 'I’m sorry?’" I asked in Italian, ready to preach the wisdom of kindness.
But it was me who needed the lesson.
She was walking with someone. Her caretaker turned around. And for the first time I saw that the girl who had run into me had a disability. It was now clear that walking was a challenge for her, and even being outside on this holiday weekend full of people enjoying the sunshine on the busiest shopping street in Rome.
It was I who was humbled. Deeply. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not only because I may have hurt this woman emotionally but because I was so wrong about the story I had created about her.
And how wrong the stories we create about others often are. And, really, the stories we create about ourselves, too.
We live with big and small mistruths about ourselves (I’m not good enough for x, I’m not handsome enough for y, I’ll stay in this job/relationship/city because I don’t deserve something better).
In Buddhism they say everything is empty.
Can we live with everything being empty? No stories about ourselves, and certainly no stories about others?
I created a 100% false story about this woman. And probably about many others in my life. What if we let all the stories go?
Today I pledge to trying living with fewer stories. To give people the benefit of the doubt. And to live with love, even if someone smashes into me (or the verbal equivalent) because I’ll never know the real reason why.
This month we're hosting a dinner for our members May 18th (invites go out soon!). We'll talk about the stories we create, about ourselves and others. And we'll laugh and hopefully share some humility too. If you're interested in becoming a member of The Path, which means you get special invites, discounts on retreats and join all our Tuesday sits for free, please click here to sign up (just $50, which is super super low)!
And to dip into your Buddhism, your kindness and your true self, with no stories, join us at The Standard, East Village Tuesday for a meditation with Home Nguyen of the MindKind Institute (who has more than 20 years of experience in personal leadership and mind-body practices). Home has an extraordinary way of guiding meditations that leave you feeling calm, happy and centered, so I hope you join us Tuesday:
We’re excited to meditate together — to help strip us of stories, about ourselves and others.