The Wishing Tree

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30. I was listening to an interview with researcher Daniel Goleman on my walk today. He was sharing the story of a New York City bus driver who shocked him into awareness as he boarded the bus. The driver truly looked him in the eye and asked “how are you today?”. The connection was unforeseen. Then Daniel noticed the driver was talking with everyone around him “oh, there’s a great new show at the MET you should check out!” “You’re out shopping for a suit? So and so store is having a sale!” and earnestly acknowledging each rider as they disembarked and walked into the rest of their day. Daniel later discovered that this driver was also a pastor. I’m listening to this last line, and make a left onto Galer Street, here in Seattle, and just about walk straight into The Wishing Tree. Now, I’ve run and walked these same roads more times than I can count, but for some reason I’ve never made this particular left at this particular intersection. I stopped to read a few of the wishes, laminated for protection, and strung with care. With the exception of a few kids, who wished for a “better Pokemon connection” and “a purple unicorn and my own room (written in Spanish)”, each and every card I read wished for love, for better connection with the humans in their lives, for peace and love for their children or for balance within themselves. Every single one. It was actually astonishing. No one asked for a different job, more money, or even for world peace. Each wish I touched asked for love, connection and internal balance.

This is what it’s all about. This is what the bus driver/pastor was bringing to peoples lives that was so astonishingly simple, refreshing, and filling: authentic care and connection.

Here is my practice in this realm these days: when I’m feeling imbalanced – I for a walk. I greet as many people as I can with a smile and eye contact. If I see someone struggling with a package as they try to open their door, I help them. Balance and connection – it’s  apparently what we all want. Who knew?

P.S. Freaking Seattle. Love you guys. You hippies. And yes, I wrote my wish, too.

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