Wherever you are practice compassion. In your daily life practice loving kindness. Practice helping, giving, doing, contributing wherever you are, where you live and where you work, in what you say and how you treat others. Practice loving kindness where you pray, where you walk and play, in respect and all-inclusiveness, where you see a need and where a helping hand will make a difference to someone you don’t even know. In this manner you contribute to the whole, you share the wealth, you give of yourself. One hand extended to another sends the message that yes, loving kindness and compassion are alive and well in the world, right here right now. Be part of that trend, the universal message of loving kindness and compassion at all times, without discrimination, without judgment, simply doing good in the world, one person at a time.
I am in third grade, a tiny spry little girl, quiet as a mouse. For some reason I get the idea into my head to play a trick on the bus driver who shuttles us back and forth to school and home again at the end of the day. He has been very friendly lately, chatty, ebullient almost, joking with everyone. I like him. I think he’s funny and that he’ll appreciate a good joke in return.
When I get on the bus at the end of the day the driver is turned sideways in his seat facing all the children as they climb onto the bus. He says something funny to each of us as we walk past him carrying our book bags and lunchboxes. He gets us all in a good mood and there’s an overall air of jollity to the whole busload of kids as a result of his jokey attitude. I’m happy, feeling mischievous. I walk to a seat and sit down. Suddenly an idea comes to me. I tell my friend what I’m going to do.
“Nooo! How are you going to do that?” she asks, looking quite incredulous.
“Don’t worry,” I say. “Just watch me.”
I study the driver. He’s preoccupied with the kids getting on the bus. I know exactly how long it takes for everyone to get on and how many kids are not here yet. I’m naturally very observant. I calculate that I have plenty of time to do the deed.
I sneak up to the front seat directly behind the driver’s seat. There’s only a shiny steel handrail separating the back of the driver’s seat from the rest of the row of seats behind him. The rail is about even with a kid’s head when sitting down. I know this because my older brother got tossed into the bar once and broke his front tooth against it when the driver had to slam on the brakes.
I slide into the front seat and sit down. The driver doesn’t notice me. He doesn’t see that I’ve wormed my way up from the back of the bus nor that I’m sitting behind him. He’s distracted, still chatting away to the students getting on the bus.
Carefully, as quiet as a little mouse, I slither down to the floor and along the left side of the driver’s seat. I’m small and thin enough to squeeze in there quite comfortably, crawling on my hands and knees. The upper half of the driver’s body is turned away from me, facing the other way, so he doesn’t see me. He’s got his feet planted squarely on the floor, the bus idling gently. I reach around to where his feet are and very carefully untie first one shoelace and then the other. Then I tie the two of them together, nice and tight. I slither back out as quietly as I went in and sneak back to my seat. I can’t believe how easy it was!
“I did it!” I announce to my friend.
We giggle softly, conspiratorially. I have no idea what’s going to happen when he discovers his shoes tied together but I have no doubt it will be funny. I sit and wait in high anticipation. I can barely hold back my excitement. The kids in the upper grades finally get on. It’s time! I watch the bus driver swing his torso around and face the front of the bus, pull the door lever toward him to close the door and…
“Whaaaat the!” he says, letting out a loud shout of dismay. I see him trying to figure out what’s going on with his feet. It takes him a moment.
“Who did this?” he finally yells and immediately looks into the rearview mirror, searching the bus for the culprit.
I am standing up in my seat, leaning onto the back of the seat in front of me, laughing into my hands. I just can’t help it. I am laughing hysterically.
I watch as the bus driver reaches down to untie his shoes and retie them correctly. He gets up and slowly walks down the aisle of the bus. Uh oh, I’m in trouble now! I sit down hard in my seat, hoping he won’t notice little quiet me, but I must look really guilty because he comes right over to me and leans down, his big round face so close to mine I can smell his bad breath.
“You’re the rascal!” he says in a loud voice, loud enough for everyone on the bus to hear. And then he struts back up to his seat with an air of command, no more Mister Jolly, just an angry bus driver who seemingly doesn’t like getting pranked by little girls. He sits down, glares at me in the rearview mirror, puts the bus in gear and off we go.
That’s as far as any sort of punishment went. He never told the principal and my parents never heard about it, but he never let me off the hook for the rest of the school year. If there was a commotion on the bus, I got the blame. Any shenanigans going on, I got the blame, even if I had nothing to do with it.
As with the previous stories I’ve been telling about the little imp inside me, as I write this story my heart is thumping with the same level of excitement that my eight-year-old little girl self experienced as she thought about what to do and as she stealthily carried out her plan. And I can’t help but laugh out loud too. It was a thrilling moment in my life, thrilling to carry out and thrilling to get away with, one I’ve never forgotten. So quick, so quiet, so dexterous! I was invincible! Rarely did I feel in such control!
It was, however, not thrilling at all to be branded a rascal, because normally I was a quiet little girl, but in hindsight I understand that the imp inside me was enticed by this friendly fellow, greeting us all at the end of a long day at school with a joke and a happy grin, and she wanted to reciprocate with a funny joke on him that she thought he’d naturally appreciate. Not so!
It’s often hard to gauge the reaction a person will have to a practical joke. Sometimes we laugh when we’re really nervous, or scared, or embarrassed. Sometimes we shout when our ego is bruised or envious, or when something gets triggered inside us. Sometimes we cry when we really want to laugh. Sometimes we know we’re doing something mean and sometimes we really do think we’re doing something funny and that it won’t bother anyone.
The imp, however, has a little bit of nice and a little bit of mean inside her; it’s who she is. And I can say now that she wasn’t just a nice quiet little girl on the day she pranked the bus driver. She was all imp!
A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries
Stay heart centered so that all of your thoughts, words, and actions stem from this place of magic. Heart centered energy is the energy of the heavens, of higher consciousness, of evolutionary intent. Stir it up daily with heart centered breathing and though this may make you weep know that you weep tears of compassion, kindness, and love, for that is heart centeredness. In these times there is no better medicine or magic, no better need or deed, no better idea to solve the dilemmas of humankind than heart centeredness all around.
The earth quakes from below and the winds blow from above as threatening words rock the safety and stability of our world. No reassurance can be trusted from without; we must find our safe place within.
When I was a young boy I pleaded in prayer for a direct experience of God. My prayers were answered in a shattering vibrational experience that overwhelmed my consciousness. The buzz of billions of crickets filled my ears as vibrations became vividly colored and ferociously persistent. I was certain that I would soon dissolve into nothingness. Somehow I managed to hold on long enough for this numinous state to release me from its grip and return me to normalcy.
Once the door to this experience was opened it returned frequently over many years. Every time it showed up I was confronted with annihilation. One day I had the idea to imagine myself as a driver of a race car. It worked. I discovered my safe place behind the image of a steering wheel, my hands gripping the wheel, gaining some control by riding the vibrations. Embodied in this image I could race in circles, carving a boundary of self to withstand the disintegrating force. This image was to preserve my consciousness and sense of self in countless perilous encounters.
Years later I was preparing to leave America, perhaps for good, with my young wife, Jeanne. This was a great leap into an adventure we both desired, but beneath the surface was a serious question as to whether or not our relationship could continue into the next phase of our lives.
Before we left we found ourselves at Great Adventure Amusement Park. I hated, avoided all roller coasters. I decided to challenge myself to find a safe place on a ride called Lightnin’ Loops, the scariest roller coaster imaginable. I needed to take a leap to prepare myself for perhaps an even greater leap into the unknown.
I was secured in my seat. The ride began. I closed my eyes tightly and consciously breathed, relaxing my muscles. As the ride crept up to the zenith, where it might plunge forward or backward—either way a terrifying drop—I intensified my command to go calmer, relax, and breathe!
I succeeded in staying calm throughout that entire first ride and then through subsequent rides, as I obsessively repeated the ride using the same approach, but with eyes open, going even deeper into calm. My safe place evolved, as my ability to call my intent to go deeper into calm evolved. Incidentally, we did set off on our great adventure and left America for a time, confronting the possibility of the annihilation of our marriage and our union, with eyes wide open, acquiescing to the process by going deeper into calm.
For years, like many people, I avoided dental visits so as to not have the experience of numb mouth for hours after a procedure requiring novocaine shots. I always had the fear that I might accidentally bite my tongue because I simply couldn’t feel it until the novocaine wore off. One day I decided to request that the dentist drill a cavity without using novocaine. He reluctantly agreed, reassuring me that we could and might have to stop and administer novocaine, as the pain would likely become intolerable.
Inwardly, I decided to master the pain by simply defining it as a sensation, and also a signal to go calmer. The truth is, I never needed novocaine again for cavities or crowns. I don’t recommend this approach to anyone, but do want to stress the power of intent and self-suggestion to ride through what might commonly be considered very threatening circumstances.
In our current world, nature and rulers are undermining our most basic security. We must turn inward to find our security and control in this free-fall of a world we now find ourselves in. We can access our safe place to successfully ride through these times by using our intent and our self-suggestion.
We cannot stop the world from changing. Mother Earth is in the midst of contractions as she reshapes our world. However, we can access our own inner ark to navigate her waves of contractions. That ark is in our intent.
Go deeper into calm. Breathe. Let every shockwave be interpreted as a signal to go even deeper into calm. Forge a secure boundary around yourself. Steady as you go.
A caring leader considers all others over the self. A good leader does what is necessary so that all may be comfortable. A compassionate leader shares what is available so that all may have. A strong leader ensures a land of safety and prosperity for all. A loving leader knows that peace and calm are the hallmarks of health. When a leader fails to lead all into security, happiness and health there is no recourse but for the leader to be challenged and the people to take the lead with kindness, compassion, and love for all so that goodness may once again be the law of the land.