But, just as martial artists cannot will her victory,
we cannot will a realization.
Just as martial artists can only practice to increase her probability of victory,
We can only practice to increase our probability
Except our end isn’t mere victory,
This is a Janusian Art,
as Martial is from the Roman God of war, Mars,
and Janusian is from the Roman God of transition, Janus.
is only a conflict between
Our feeling of what reality
ought to be.”
I define tension
as a conflict between
What we have
What we need or value.
When I noticed
the remarkable similarity
between these two,
that we can either
judge tension as “bad,”
so as to frame it as a “problem.”
We can let it evoke
our curiosity and wonder
so as to frame it
as a “paradox.”
“What has happened since our last session?” I asked.
He’d been feeling bad for his employees.
He felt like he was failing them.
With guilt on deck,
underperforming employees fueled his resentment.
He was spending so much time and effort trying to be a better leader,
being understanding and supportive of them. They, on the other hand, were not.
“I confessed my guilt to my employees.”
“What do you feel right now?”
“What did you learn?”
“That all this time I was hyper-empathizing instead of empathizing.
That to empathize,
it’s not enough to understand.
I also have to be honest with myself and others.”
Empathizing is not merely about others.
It’s about the relationship between ourselves and others.
Let us not forget ourselves.
Some of our tensions come from sitting around hunched over a computer screen.
Go running. Do a few burpees. Stand up and write on the whiteboard. If you’re breathing shallow, breathe from your belly. Stand tall, look up at the ceiling for a few seconds and smile. Submerge your face in ice-cold water for a few seconds, a few times. For a period of time, walk around holding a frozen water bottle in your hand. Receive emotional support. Get the help of a professional.
Whatever you do, may we remember there exists the option to choose to take the first step to relieving our tension.
Whether we do it ourselves or ask for the help of others, may we make the choice.
I hope Ravit gets the recognition she deserves. I can’t remember the last time I met a check-in agent so vivacious and, dare I say, fun to interact with.
While my trip to Israel had been inspiring, I was tired nonetheless. I could not wait to get back home. Until I encountered Ravit, my energy was low. I was also grumpy that I could not check in at the kiosk just because I wanted to check a bag. From the first interaction, Ravit joked with me in a tone so playful and warm that I could not help, but laugh along. Her presence was like an oasis to an otherwise dried-up state of mind. So much so that I was grateful that I did not check in at the kiosk. I felt restored and refreshed after our interaction. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that.
Facing people as an agent at the check-in counter while being true to a personality so vivacious and playful is not an easy thing to do. Especially when everyone else in the airport seems so serious and stern (This is not a criticism. I know it is well warranted given how serious the security situation is in Israel). Not only that, but given the kinds of struggles many people experience at the airport, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has experienced people who respond to her energy in negative ways. All this means it would have been much safer for Ravit to express no emotions and instead focus on getting her task done. But no, Ravit was willing to be vulnerable enough to be herself and treat me as a human being, not merely a task to be completed.
Thank you Ravit for your willingness to bring brightness and positivity to a world that is often biased toward darkness and negativity. I consider your actions a good example of the kind of micro-innovation I hope to see more in the world. May you continue to bring joy to the lives of people with whom you come in contact.