I generally don’t fall for the subway beggars with the canned speech that begins with “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen...”
On the way to the office yesterday, there was a guy that I’ve seen many times before. He has a very dramatic fake limp and fake stutter. There is a guy who I see often who has a real stutter. Neither of them actually seem needy. How do I know? I have a couple of tells that I check for:
1. Check the shoes. Are they wearing good, clean or new shoes that fit? Today’s guy has newer, cleaner and better sneakers than I do. And he moves really quick with that fake limp so all I got was a pick of his nice, new adidas sneaks.
2. Check the clothes: Clean? Do they fit the season? Do they fit the person? Mmm hmmmm you feeling the pattern here?
3. Are they clean as a person? Clean hair? Do they smell clean? Are they carrying a phone or anything flashy?
If i can answer yes to more than one of the above criteria, I ignore them like everyone else.
Last night, on the way home, I got on the F train and there was a young woman sheepishly begging. She didn’t have the speech or the lingo. The doors had opened mid-beg, and she glanced around as people were getting on the train. “As I said it’s the kindness of people that has kept me going...Anyone?”
As a she walked by me, I smelled her...and I saw the shoes—huge, dirty and old men’s shoes and her feet were bruised and blistered. As usual, I let my eyes climb the person to see she’s wearing big sweatpants (not the right season). She’s halfway down the car now and I’m staring into the back of her head. She turns and we meet eyes. I wave her over and I give her a $5 because it’s the first bill to come out of my wallet. I wish I had more to spare. I wish I gave her more, but she said thank you and darted off the train as we were at the next station. I called out “Good luck!” after her, though I don’t know if she heard.
Last night I said prayers for her. As some of you know, we cannot send Reiki without someone’s consent. But we can send out loving light energy to anyone willing to accept it. When I looked into her eyes, I did just that. In fact, it felt like a lot more. In that very brief moment, the Reiki energy was on. I felt the heat and she was welcoming it! But it was fleeting. When I did Reiki on myself last night, I reached out to this young woman who’s eyes I saw fear and desperation in. I will continue to send out loving light and any healing energy she chooses to accept. It’s for me as much as it will be for me...because, since last night, I feel pretty haunted by her. I hope she’s safe. May she be safe tonight and every night. May she find her way. May she find more compassion and help from others.
We each have burdens and baggage to carry. Some of it is heavy. When we feel compassion for ourselves, we feel more for others. Even if we can’t afford to donate to charities or give out cash to people, a smile or compliment, it can change a person’s day! The eye contact felt like it meant more than the money yesterday.
Everyone of us is connected and deserves to feel safe in this world and loved by someone. I hope she felt that last night through that $5 and eye contact-energy I gave her...and any of the positive energy that comes her way.