December 9, 2009

A couple of years ago I met a dude named Taro whom I’d describe as a “super hippie”.

He wore garish-coloured hemp pants, peasant shirts and sandals, had a pony tail, dreamy gaze and could speak as eloquently about environmentalism as he could about channelling spirits and realigning chakras.

Every fibre in my body wanted to dismiss Taro as a loony feral cliché but I kept bumping up against an intransigent truth: he cared about people.

He was also blazingly intelligent and refused to limit his thinking to the ”known”, so I’d constantly find myself drawn into earnest conversations about shamanic practice, kinesiology and reconnective healing …

One day, a mutual acquaintance of ours confessed his devastation about a break-up with girl.

The guy said he’d considered killing himself, that he felt like all the light had been sucked from his world now she’d gone and that he’d never find anyone as good as his ex.

He was at the bottom of an emotional mineshaft and he didn’t know which way to begin climbing out.

Taro, as was his way, took the guy aside and spent some time with him, listening to his story and offering sympathy.

Later, I asked Taro what they’d spoken about and he said “nets”.

Taro’s theory was that too many people plummet to rock bottom after a break-up because they let their safety nets fall into disrepair.

By safety nets he meant support-systems such as family, friends, health, fitness, community, spirituality and career.

“When people ensconce themselves in a relationship, the temptation is to put all their effort into that one part of their life and let everything else slip,” he said.

“But if you have nets, you can’t fall too far because you’ve got stuff to catch you.”

For Taro, his No.1 net was his girlfriend, then his family, but underneath them were his friends, then the people he regularly associated with and helped in his community.

“If all of those fail, then I have my job, and then I have my fitness and last of all I have my spirituality,” he said.

“Sometimes one or two or even five of your nets will fail, but not all of them,” he said.

The secret he said, was to maintain your nets, to keep them in good condition, because when you need them, they’ll be strong enough to arrest your descent.

Suffice it to say, it was yet another occasion on which Taro left me nodding and smiling at his mung bean wisdom and, ever since, I’ve consciously repaired and strengthened my nets, just in case the wind turns foul and I slip off my perch.

(via All Men are Liars)


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