“Only In New York”

I'm home for a week and using part of my time working on a new project I plan to have available to the public before the end of the year. In my research I ran across a piece I wrote in 2001. In light of the contentiousness of current times I thought you might enjoy it.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

"Only In New York"

“Only in New York” is a phrase hard to explain unless a person has had the joy of living in Manhattan for any length of time. Yesterday I was taking the 1 train down to Midtown to run some errands. An older, black woman burst into our car right after I’d boarded the train, ran into my shoe with her over-filled shopping cart of worldly possessions and screamed at me, “MOVE YOUR GODDAMN FUCKING FOOT, ASSHOLE!”

Charming, I thought.

I reacted as any other New Yorker would:  I avoided her glance, moved my foot, turned up the volume on my CD player (Dixie Chicks, in case you wondered) and continued reading my book. I began mouthing the words I was reading so as to focus on my material rather than the political tirade upon which our homeless picture of ebony femininity had now embarked.

Okay, so when she got to that part about the evil white Devil in the White House I had to nod slightly (forgive the political commentary), but the truth was that this woman was becoming somewhat compelling. She was preaching and I suddenly realized I was the choir. I just had to be amazed at how focused she was on her message about politics, poverty, the rearing of children and healthcare for the elderly. No one else dared to look at her or respond to her, though snickers were abundant.

At 110th Street I turned off my CD player, replaced my book in my backpack (black, of course, as was my outfit — this IS Gotham after all!), and headed for the door — the one next to Miss Congeniality. “What’s this stop? 86th Street?” she hollered.

I looked down at her, the filthy clothes and the pieces of this and that which made up all her worldly possessions. Apparently, I saw something no one else did at the time. Her face opened and revealed something no one else saw.

I smiled at her, not a condescending smile, but a sincere and painless effort to show her affection. “No, my love”, I said, looking straight into her angry brown eyes, “It’s 103rd Street — you’ve got a few more stops to go.”

The anger peeled away, her face brightened and I saw the Christ in that dirty, brown face. “I love you” she said, looking up at me. I smiled back and said, “I love you, too! Now you have a blessed and wonderful day.”

As I walked off the train, she sat quietly, still beaming, with the majority of the eyes in the car on her, mouths slightly a gap, eyebrows raised. I love New York.

Copyright © 2001, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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You Talking to Me?

How many times have you heard that line in a movie or TV show based in New York City? I lived in Manhattan for nearly two years. No one ever said that to me. Perhaps I’m not that threatening, but then again I talk to most everyone.

That’s the standard joke in my family. I can get someone’s full family history, find out their deepest secrets and leave them with a smile on their face and hope for the future – all in 30 seconds or less in the check-out line at a convenience store.16 Blog

It’s a gift.

Kidding aside, however, people talk to us all the time. If we are to live the global vision of a world that works for everyone we ought to be listening more carefully. Perhaps we don’t like what we’re hearing. Or, maybe we just don’t like the message being delivered by what we consider to be the wrong person.

I know it’s a real ego buster when someone we don’t care for smacks us with the truth about our situation. Ouch. You’ve been there I’m sure. I know I have. We don’t want to admit the truth about why we are in yet another abusive relationship, dead-end job or reoccurring illness, but there we are and the person we least appreciate being in our life is there to deliver the obvious.

What to do? Here’s a couple of ideas:

  • Do NOT react.
  • Breathe. Deeply. Allow your body and mind to relax.
  • Agree. Yeah, I know. It’s really hard sometimes, but just for the moment agree with the person. This defuses any anger or upset on the part of the other person involved, which in turn allows us to relax a bit as well.
  • Forgive yourself. Why? Because if you could be doing any better you would be.
  • Resolve to do better, whatever that looks like for you, understanding that what it might look like is continuing to be a hot mess for a bit longer.
  • Thank the person. No, seriously. Thank them. They are the messenger of Spirit, sent to you to help you. If you’d listened to your inner guidance you wouldn’t be having this experience. So suck it up, Buttercup, and remember to listen next time when your intuition tells you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
  • Forgive yourself. Again. Sorry, that last bullet point was a bit harsh. But it’s the Truth, so take another deep breath and forgive yourself. You don’t read my work because I’m Glinda the Good Witch, all pink and sparkly. You expect me to be blunt, but I hope you know I still love you. (If it’s any consolation the people I love and respect in my life do the same thing to me … and at the time I usually don’t like it either … I feel your pain.)
  • It’s only going to get better!

You’re smiling, right? If you aren’t running in terror right now or hitting “unsubscribe” from my blogs, then come on over to the Facebook® page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation, my Centers for Spiritual Living focus ministry. Every day this week we’ll be chatting about ways to live in closer contact with the inner revealer of Truth and learn how to communicate better with those around us.

Come join the fun!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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