I was on the treadmill the other day, music blaring through my earbuds, the beat keeping me moving at a heart thumping pace. About 15 minutes into it, a large man (with decidedly too much cologne on – topic for another day!) stepped onto the treadmill beside me. Step, clomp, shuffle, hop, repeat… in no particular order.
This man had NO rhythm to speak of… I mean absolutely none, and he was LARGE. Regardless of how loud my music was (ear drum blowing) his awkward gait loudly insinuated itself into my space. We’ve all had this happen once or twice. It’s a little disconcerting isn’t it?
I tried to persuade myself to be charitable. He was after all trying to better himself, much as I was. Phrases from the many books on Buddhism I’ve read over the years drifting through my mind. I started thinking about how we sometimes get out of step with friends, or even loved ones.
We don’t often think about it in a cadence kind of way, but it’s really what relationships are all about, being in step with one another. When one of us misses the beat, we may find ourselves having a fallout with our friend.
Recently a friend of mine found herself not being particularly interested in her normal existence of fitness and well-being. She was having some issues which I won’t go into, suffice it to say that we were out of step. It seemed the more I tried to talk her back into her previous healthy lifestyle, the more she resisted. Ultimately I have found myself pushing away from her. It wasn’t until the behemoth of a man who had clearly bathed in Axe cologne got on the treadmill beside me that I realized what had happened.
My friend and I are just missing each others beat. You know the old saying “…marches to the beat of a different drummer.” With this revelation freshly in my mind, I glanced to my right at the rhythmically challenged man and matched his pace… turns out he did have a pattern… shuffle, hop, step clomp… see, I had just mixed it up by not really listening!
Eventually I switched to an elliptical a little further down (the cologne was an insurmountable issue – sorry!) In doing so I realized that although I knew in both my friend’s best interest and my own, that I shouldn’t change my beat. That if I just kept singing the same song to her, eventually she would hear the beat again and dance her way back to a healthy lifestyle.
Shuffle, hop, step, clomp… music to live by!
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