Concrete reminders

Dear President Trump,

I’ve got several different running routes in my neighborhood and by design, most of them pass by one or more of the half dozen or so Buddha statues in this area. I like going by them because they are literal concrete reminders pointing towards kindness. I like being in the presence of crosses, Stars of David, and Isalmic crescents as well but these symbols are pretty much confined to religious buildings and aren’t hanging out on people’s porches or in their yards like Buddha statues are around here.

This morning I did the new 21st Street Buddha route that goes by a very cute, tiny statue of a child-like Buddha holding a staff up on a porch (the original 21st Street Buddha route goes in the other direction and passes a large seated Buddha who is meditating with his eyes closed). I ended up needing to cross the street just before the Buddha porch because a man was walking his dog and I didn’t want to set us all up for an awkward and possibly unsafe passing. So instead of being just a front yard away from the statue, I was on the other side of the street and couldn’t actually see it at all through the bushes and trees.

This got me thinking about how much I need tangible, visible reminders to keep kindness and a sense of connection present for me and how much more challenging it is when I don’t have those reminders right there. Do most other people need these kinds of crutches or can they just plug along and be nice without external reminders? Either way, my sense is that we’d all be quite a bit better off if more of us picked something, anything (it could be green cars or a certain kind of tree or a person with braids or whatever) to cue us to consider kindness. Do you have something that reminds you to take a deep breath when you are frustrated or to smile at someone kindly just for the heck of it? If so, what is it? Do you maybe have a prayer you use to ask God or the universe for patience or to express gratitude? If you do use any of these sorts of emotional tools, it would sure be nice if you’d tell us about them. It would humanize you for a lot of us and it would give us hope that you are reachable and have some humility. It would also reassure us that you have some capacity for grounding yourself when things are hard for you.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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