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Dolphins, Horses & Subway Riders

Lately I’ve felt stressed out by being around people whose energy is polar opposite from mine, who seem to be living on a whole other planet even though we’re on the same crowded subway. I naturally practice compassion all the time in my work, so why does a random encounter with a different energy throw me off? As soon as I asked the question, the dolphins came to play.

The other day a friend sent me a video filmed by a woman riding a horse in shallow ocean waters. It shows three dolphins joining the fun—splashing and playing very close to her and her horse.

The video took me right back to my trip to Bimini where I swam with wild dolphins in the open sea. Every day for a week, Captain Al would take us about an hour off the shore, and we’d wait for the dolphins to appear. Apparently, the dolphins knew the sound of Captain Al’s boat, and knew there would be cool people there ready to play.

It was super exciting when a pod chose to swim around our boat. After the signal from Captain Al, we’d snorkel up and slip into the water to join the fun. We’d watch the pod frolic with each other below the surface and then amazingly, they’d swim up to us, getting super close and personal.

Twice, two dolphins passed right in front of my face and made eye contact with me while a third swam parallel just below me, close enough to touch (but I didn’t, as that’s not wild-dolphin etiquette).

So here we were, land animals invading the home of these sea creatures and how did they react? By coming right up to us, inviting us to play, and showing us the magic of their world. I see the same thing in the horse video, where the dolphins must have initially been like, “Wow, who is this guy with these four stomping body parts hitting the ocean floor?” Then the next thought must have been, “Let’s introduce ourselves and show him how much fun we are!”

As if that weren’t enough of a dose of dolphin magic, yesterday I saw a video of how a pod of dolphins guided Filipino divers away from the tsunami in 2004, saving them from certain death.

And then I realized how dolphins view the world—we’re all one, we’re all on the same side. They choose not to judge those different from them, not to fear new encounters and adventures. It’s clear they love and appreciate those around them, even if the horse or human happens to be in their home (watery) turf.

So on my next packed subway ride, I decided to view the crowds with acceptance and understanding. What did I get? I felt relaxed amidst the rush, distractions, and short fuses—and at the same time felt compassion for the other commuters. We don’t all have to be the same—in fact, that would make the world a very boring place. Everyone is on his own path but we’re all in it together, in the deep sea of life (or in mass transit). Ok, so I may not make a splash and ask others to play on the 6 train, but I’ll choose my NYC-version of the dolphin way any day.

It’s all about the magic. 🙌

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