I have had these three concepts entertaining my thoughts for the past few days so I thought I would share it with you. I’m a philosopher after all, I thought you knew? The characters in our lesson today are the element of surprise, mental acrobatics, and compassion. I believe they each have something to teach us, and attitudinal healing happens when we master all three.
The Element of Surprise
Interpersonal work is something I’m addicted to. Since I was a kid I’ve been involved in some sort of religion, some sort of philosophy, some sort of group therapy or self help activity. My dad was one of my life teachers.
As an adolescent I remember him teaching me how to fight. Mind you, dad was born in the biggest little city of San Francisco, California, so being street smart and being able to protect yourself was a must. You had to master the element of surprise if you wanted to save your skin. Yet, as I understand it now, the element of surprise has many applications.
As a parent, I often surprise my kids with something extra ordinary. Maybe I’ll set a date with them and bring the something special for lunch, or we’ll leave the house early and stop for coffee and breakfast. Spontaneity is a refreshing shift from the mundane routine of life. They love it, and so do I. It is different than a street fight. In that situation, you are using “surprise” as an advantage. In the example with my kids, I am using “surprise” as a gift of love. Just keep thinking and you will see what I mentioned earlier is true. The element of surprise has many different applications.
Mental Acrobatics is what I consider our ability to remain flexible and bend with life’s pushing, pulling and prodding. It can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary skill to master.
You see, An acrobat is very much like a gymnast. They must be lean. They are absent of baggage or extra weight. They’re often more limber than the average individual because they have conditioned their muscles and joints to withstand just a little more than the rest of us.
These qualities and regular practice of jumping, balancing and landing on center, is what their art is all about. Lately I’ve noticed that I too am an acrobat. My life is filled with all sorts of challenges requiring me to jump, think fast and problem solve. If I had to pick one, I would say I’m much more of a mental acrobat, but because I’m a landscaper, there’s still plenty of physical mastering I have to do as well. It keeps me sharp. My body in movement gets my brain in gear. It’s like one exercises the other to keep me limber and on point.
In that vein, there are certain exercises we can all practice in order to improve our capacity to live, and master life’s obstacle course at the same time. The first is to take on the mindset that you are a mental acrobat, with the element of surprise being just one of your super powers. Trust me, if you’ve lived this long, and dealt with the shit you’ve dealt with, and you are still here… you’re sure ’nuff a mental acrobat.
The element of surprise allows you to flip the script, change your mind and change your attitude. It’s your will power, your, “Hey, I only live once, so today I’m doing things differently!” or “just for fun.” You begin to see yourself as the athlete rather than the spectator. Maybe not physically but mentally, you are in the game. Mental acrobatics allows you to fire on all cylinders.
Then there are those in between times. Those moments of solace and serenity, those moments when things are slow and everything is at ease. For those moments, I suggest compassion. Compassion is being gentle with yourself and others. That’s needed in order for you to heal. Interpersonal repairs need to be made and compassion is a great mechanic. So take the space, we all need it occasionally. If you are on the other side of the equation, give space because the other person needs it.
This might be a vacation or few days of rest. It might be combining the element of surprise with compassion. Instead of responding to someone with your normal expected attitude, you might switch things up and give them a smile, or a loving nod. This simple display of compassion allows others the space to grow, change and feel their own feelings without causing a raucous.
Each person on my blog team has at some point had this experience. I believe we all have. Here’s a bit more from each of them. We share with you because we relate and we care.
Marie on Compassion…
As someone who easily bores of the mundane tasks of daily life, regularly doing things spontaneously for others, or even myself, keeps life fun and interesting. It is also a beautiful way to practice compassion.
Love and compassion are entwined in my heart and they can take on varied appearances. At its core, it is about me caring about you and giving a damn about your well being. It sometimes comes across as being brutally honest with you and other times it is sweet, quiet and gentle. Making a dedicated effort to show another human that you simply care enough to spend time with them is one of the simplest, most loving and compassionate acts that can be done. We all just want to feel important and valuable; which in turn makes us feel loved. And mentally remembering to practice love and compassion for self each day is where it all begins.
Tiffanie on Compassion…
“We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others. Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labour the body. Real strength is not just a condition of one’s muscle, but a tenderness in one’s spirit.”
I just read this quote last night for the first time. So when asked this morning to contribute to this weeks blog, I immediately thought about the quote and what it signifies to me. While it’s speaks about strength, you’ll find that the tenderness to one’s spirit is about having compassion. We all are shaped by our experiences in life and the lessons we learn. It’s how we grow and strengthen our very soul. What I’ve realized over the years, is that the more challenges I overcome in life, the more compassion I have on others. We’re all but one piece of the whole puzzle.
Karen on Mental Acrobatics…
I am proud to say that I am very much a mental acrobat. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, if you know what I mean, and if I wasn’t flexible in my daily life, I would really be a mess. Plus, I believe that God gives us opportunities and we need to be willing to change what we’re doing at a moments notice, in order to do His will.
Jason on Mental Acrobatics…
I find I get easily distracted if I am not careful. My mental acrobatics can only do so much. Therefore, I turn off all social media while I am in the throes of freelancing. It allows me to focus on what is important. The good is the enemy of the best, so I turn off the good thing to ensure I am putting out the best product.
Thanks for reading and sharing.
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