Last week, while walking with a client on the Cherry Creek Bike Path, a biker hit me with his hand. His hand out to the side, moving fast, his hand thumped my back. He hit me so hard that I fell forward a few steps. I said a loud, "OUCH!" The biker zoomed off to join the crowd of 'bike to work day' riders.
Did he hit me on purpose? I don't know.
Did he know who I was? I doubt it. My back was to him and I was wearing a jacket I almost never wear.
Was it an accident? No, I honestly think that if it was an accident, he would have stopped to see if I was injured.
So there I am - client talking about her issues, pain in my back, not sure if I've reinjured my recently recovering neck - walking along the bike path.
What is a kind person to do?
For a moment, I became an enraged victim. I have a spinal cord injury! I could have easily been seriously hurt. My client is a small woman. If he had hit her, she would have been injured. He had no right to hit me - ever - let alone for walking on a path designed to be shared by bikes, walkers, runners, dogs, and everyone else in between.
I chose to let it go.
One thing I've learned on this kindness journey is the lesson of hot potato.
Here's a guy who, for whatever reason, decided to assault a stranger. In my imagination, he's angry with all the amateur bikers. He's worried about work or simply just angry about his life. Who knows? Maybe his wife found out about his trip to see his mistress in Argentina.
Anyway, he holds a hot potato.
Stretching out his hand, he waps me on the back. In this way, he transfers his rage and impotence to me. I become the enraged victim. By taking his hot potato, I am forced to carry his rage, impotence or simple indifference to another human being traveling along the same byway.
After complaining a bit to my friends, I decided to let it go. I chose to give this small kindness to myself. By letting it go, I was relieved of the rage and impotence created in the act.
The only thing I carry is a bruise from where the side of his hand collided with my back.
Letting go is a gift that I give myself. Ultimately, by giving myself this kindness, I can maintain my own equanimity. I'm available to be kind and balanced to the people in my life.
Simply Kind Tuesday participants