Jason* is one of the cutest three year olds that you could ever meet. He has eyes which actually twinkle brighter than Sirius and are constantly dancing with wonder like the Northern Lights. His smile is a mix of a hint of shyness, loads of what-mischief-should-I-do-next and tonnes of just pure happiness… a smile that hardly ever leaves his face (even when he is really sick too!).
Jason had been to his grandparents’ place. He had developed cough and had been brought by his father to the clinic. Homoeopathy is a customized medicine system and we have different sets of medicines depending on whether you fell ill after you had oily food, cold drinks, simply over ate, or… (you get the drift, don’t you?) With this in mind, I was asking Jason’s father if he knew what had triggered Jason’s latest episode. His father admitted that he wasn’t sure as he had not accompanied Jason, “Actually the kids had gone with their mother. And she couldn’t make it here today. It could be any of those things really, you know how it is with grandparents never saying no to kids!”
Jason’s sister who is five years old is quieter, more composed and it takes slightly longer for her shyness to thaw. She had been observing this conversation. You could see on her face, the ‘should-I-tell-or-should-I-keep-quiet’ debate that was going on within. Finally she decided that it would be better for Jason if she did. To keep it subtle, she whispered to her father, in her mother tongue (how kids possess such wise judgement is something that always amazes me!)
I waited as her father translated, “She said he had an ice cream there.” I turned to Jason to see his reaction. Will he have a guilt-ridden face? Will he be angry at his sister for ratting him out? Will he be scared of a backlash from his father?
Out of the blue
What Jason did next was totally unexpected… He jumped off his stool and held out four stubby fingers. “No, not one, I had two… no, no three three ice creams! One pink and two white!!” “Oh wow” I replied reflexively, “You enjoyed them, didn’t you?” Jason nodded with a dreamy smile and his wide Disney-character-eyes brimmed with excitement. You should have seen the sheer ecstasy on his face as he relived that delicious memory of having three ice-creams at a go!
Clean Glasses, not Kaleidoscope
What a beautiful state of mind, I thought to myself. To just see things for what they are, without any prejudice. To not think of it as my sister complaining about me, to not worry about my father scolding me or my doctor judging me. To just take things at face value. ‘I had an ice cream and boy, was it yummy!’ To leave things at that. No shame, no guilt.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we too could clean up our glasses of the colors of emotions and past experiences? Wouldn’t it be better to just view things as they were, rather than through a complicated kaleidoscope? No ‘she always does this to me’. No ‘he did it on purpose’. No ‘this always happens to me’. Just facts. What a pure way to look at life!
* Name changed to protect his cuteness from the evil eye (just kidding!)
“Wow, you just read my mind! How do you do that?!”
“Doctor I bet now you know me better than my husband of thirty years does!”
“Uff, one should never have a homeopath for a friend…. They know you so well they can catch your lies like that (snapping fingers)!”
If you have been a patient of homeopathy or have a homeopath for a friend, the above instances would feel familiar. I for sure, get a lot of that! And no, I have no mind-reading super powers nor do I have an extra ordinary IQ. It is because Homeopathy taught me to steal shoes…
How I learnt to steal shoes:
Homeopathy believes that when you have constant headaches, it’s not just your head that’s sick, but it’s you that is sick in toto. That’s why a homeopath will try and understand the entire ‘you’ vis-à-vis your headache – why you keep getting them, how you have been affected mentally or emotionally, blah blah. In-depth patient interactions over a decade is how homeopathy has taught me – to steal (ok, maybe steal was an exaggeration) – to borrow your shoes, walk around in them, and get how it feels to be you walking through your office, your home, your relationships, your dreams, your hopes, your fears and your lives.
Or so I thought:
Lost in my reveries last week, it struck me and I got off my high horse of being in the “high and mighty profession of homeopathy”. Isn’t this true of every profession? Whether you are a software engineer trying to understand the end user’s needs to give your software a user friendly UI, or you are a salesman trying to figure out why your customer should prefer your insurance policy over the others…. We all have to learn to steal people’s shoes and walk in them. Not just to sell to our customers but also to understand why our loved ones react in certain peculiar ways that they sometimes do.
The time I failed to steal:
All this stealing shoes business is easier said than done. Just yesterday, I found myself utterly exasperated by a friend who loves to gossip. (I did not have a problem listening to her gossip about others, until I got to know that she had gossiped about me too!) Let’s call her Reena (to be honest, she still is my friend, wears pointy high heels and could seriously maim me!) Coming back to the story… my frustration, anger and hurt had swollen up my feet so much, I could not get my feet to fit into her shoes! I decided to sleep over my options which varied from a heart – to – heart talk to pounding her to a pulp (puny people do tend to have obese imaginations!)
Today morning, I woke up with a clearer head. I realised that, I needed to get back on my trusted horse of homeopathy. I tried to wiggle my still sore feet into her shoes. Why did Reena gossip? Well maybe, she wanted the attention of the group… Maybe it was just an attempt to spice up a conversation… Or maybe it wasn’t intended to be hurtful gossip. But that was just who she was, and nothing I would say to her would change the person underneath. If I had that much of a problem, I could stay away. Or I could “get” her and let go off of the hurt.
And that is how homeopathy taught me to steal shoes.
You can steal too!
Whether a software techie or an insurance salesman, you are probably already doing it at work. If we could try to do the same for every loved one, acquaintance and even stranger’s shoes – we’d all suffer from lesser sore feet, lesser bruised egos and lesser hurt hearts.