So this morning, I'm at the dentist (YES AGAIN), getting my temporary bridge replaced (YES AGAIN, AGAIN) and wearing awesome hot-pink dental-light-don't-blind-me-glasses (FIRST TIME) when this thought struck me.
I was thinking about one of my favorite movies, Big Hero 6, and one of my favorite characters in that movie, Wasabi.
I love Wasabi. He's a neurotic perfectionist, with a plan for everything. He has outlines on his work desk for every tool, including the place he rests his coffee mug.
Wasabi hates surprises, doesn't like winging it. He's a man with a recipe to follow.
That's been his MO for a very long time. And for the most part, it's worked out for him. His plasma based laser technology is astounding. Long before Hiro gets a hold of it to adapt it for superhero use, it's pretty damn cool.
But, it does make Wasabi fragile in some ways. The reason Fred nicknames him "Wasabi" is because he spilled wasabi mustard on his shirt one time, a fact that drives Wasabi bonkers. During a really awesome car chase scene, Wasabi actually STOPS FOR A RED LIGHT, because he's used to knowing the rules inherent to a system and adhering to them. Wasabi can often come across as fearful or timid, because he just wants to have a plan, and stick to it.
But there's this moment in the film when he overcomes this, beautifully. During the climactic fight with the big villain, Yokai, Wasabi realizes that gravity is really getting quite goofed up by certain inter dimensional things going on. And instead of panicking, or complaining about it, he makes a key choice: to use it instead.
He pushes off the wall, and goes floating through the air. Then he activates his laser hands, and gets in there, chopping up microbots with a vengeance. It's like a form of parkour, and is awesome. In a way, he gets a new superhero skill from it.
So often when I read about (or have written about) mindfulness, it's filled with lots of "here's what you don't do." But there's another side to that, and Wasabi's little story is indicative of it. It's the magical benefits you get from embracing it.
I have one like that, related to recent events in my life. Just after Andrea's passing, a whole lot of folks reached out to me (wonderful) to offer their condolences (lovely) and help in any way they could. (problematic)
What's so problematic about that, you ask?
Well, in the midst of my grief , I barely knew how I even felt, never mind what sort of help I might need. I had a few cases of folks who, with the very best of intentions, offered to help me in any way I might tell them. But the problem was, I didn't have the knowledge, energy, or drive to come up with anything for them to do. Even the prospect of it made me kind of want to shut down a little. I was struggling to even get out of bed, I certainly didn't have the "emotional chutzpah" to offer guidance.
To make a food metaphor out of it, it was a bit like they were offering to take me out to dinner, but needed me to pick the restaurant. It kind of turns the situation and the assistance from being focused on the person needing the assistance to the one supplying it. Not great. Under normal circumstances, that's no big deal. But during grief, not so much.
I wasn't mad about it though. Instead, I saw it as an opportunity for mindful practice. I resolved that the very next time someone else I know was grieving, I would mindfully offer them ready-to-go assistance with something I already had to offer and which I knew they could use.
Sadly, such a situation has come up. Just yesterday. I won't get into the who or what of it, because that's private. But I was resolved that when I contacted my friends, this would be my drive. It worked out pretty well too.
And as I was sitting in the dentist's chair this morning, thinking on the contact I'd had, Wasabi and his change in attitude came to me, and I saw this was the same sort of thing.
I'm grateful for the reinforcement. Hey wait, I can use that!