On ease, disease and an empathetic Lyft.

Captured on the plane ride home (11/04/17)

It has been an amazingly intense 12 months. Although I feel like I’ve been writing and speaking a ton in that time, having been honored with more opportunities to spread my crazy ideas than any year I can remember, it doesn’t feel like it could possibly have been so long since I last stopped long enough to jot down some randomness here on this blog.

And so I sit, physically contained on a plane en route home from a conference where I was fortunate enough to be both student and teacher, the connector and the one being connected, wondering to myself if there is smoke coming out of my ears as my mind sorts and files the experience of the last few days.


I find myself thinking more than once, as I both wonder and wander about the variety of interactions I had (from very business-like to the heartfelt), about my trip to the airport this morning. Perhaps it’s because I’m part-way through a book on joy, something the world could really use a bigger dose of, which features the Dalai Lama and Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, both spiritual leaders and extraordinary people who speak about our inherent connected-ness as humans [which coming from a Buddhist and Anglican leader respectively, neither of whom is a part of the specific religion to which I “belong” (Roman Catholic) has been an excellent challenge to think broadly] that I wonder if I was as much a perceived potential threat this morning as the potential threat I initially felt when I first got into my ride sharing “Lyft” with two people who were, by all superficial measures, very different than me. I wonder if I was successful in trying to tamp my own “different means threatening” internal warning bell enough to truly feel a connection at the human level as is so clearly a tactic for greater joy according to the book.

It’s a fascinating thread for me to pull as I dive more and more into what could be called the “art and science of managing of neural warning bells” which is very much at the root of many of our actions, reactions and experience during our time here; and whether it’s one of ease or dis-ease.

Drive a mile in my tunes

I think it was when the driver, with me now alone in the car, decided to switch the radio (for a second time) from a station that would be very rare for me to choose (or possibly even experience given the context of “my world”) but possibly quite reasonable for my co-rider, to something that (using calculated odds based on my appearance & demographics) might make perfect sense, that I realized she was making an effort, hoping to give me a few minutes of ease.

My mind immediately shifted from mentally reviewing our differences, remembering that I was in a very foreign place and wondering how safe these ride shares services really were to wondering what her story was; why she was up so early on a Saturday morning hunting for my fare and who she was out there hunting for in the first place. All of the sudden she was a mother in my mind’s eye, hustling to make a few extra dollars in a world where the is so much and so little all at the same time.

It’s only now, as I click away on my phone typing this, that I realize the calm I felt right then, in realizing that she and I were much more alike than we were different. Sure my “shift” on the hunt was coming to a close and I was excited to head back and see those I wake up early to hunt for, but as different as we appeared superficially, there we were, both on-the-hunt, trying to deliver some ease to those who we served.

Long odds, but not “at-odds”

She made a point to not let me get out of the car until we were all the way out of the rain. I thanked her and my busy morning ramped back up to speed without another thought.

It’s pretty low odds that we’ll cross paths again. But now, on the tarmac in Newark….it’s time to ramp up once again.

Off we go,

Mike E.