Remember the See-Saw on the playground? The plank-like piece of equipment where two kids would exchange their energy for a ride up to the top and back down again?
When I first learned to navigate this equipment with another kid, I quickly learned that dropping them too fast would leave them jarring, and rising them up too quick might have them hanging on with fear of falling off. I found that bending my knees and creating a cushioned landing got them to the top, leaving lots of time to chat and laugh. Sometimes we would try to balance in mid air and scoot towards the middle to see if we could keep the other persons side from dropping. If we succeeded we would reach out to touch fingers.
If you ever rode on a See-Saw, did you ever have a partner that dropped you like a hot potato…on purpose? Or one that would purposely use their weight to throw you off? An entirely different experience, right?
Not only did this childhood toy teach me the art of navigation, it also taught me respect and kindness. It taught me to think of others and work using cooperation. The icing on the cake? Reaching fingers out toward each other to connect. It also taught me who I could trust.
What if we applied this perspective to life? How are we meeting the people we interact with in life? What if we looked at others with kindness and respect. What if we strived for balance and stopped throwing our weight around? What if we rewarded cooperation and human social connection? What if we cherished our common ground and reached closer from there? Maybe you are doing all of those things, maybe you aren’t.
Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
This is why we practice. Practice living from the heart. Do I occasionally leave people jarring? Sure, I definitely don’t always get this right. None of us do. Consistently striving to work through the edges I meet in life and choosing differently is my work. Becoming aware of kindness, feelings, respect and trust, while allowing these to flow more freely.