“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel like I’ve known you so many years?” “Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451
Perhaps it was because I was exhausted. Between leaving Los Angeles late yesterday afternoon and arriving home after midnight, I had a lot of time during which I chose to just watch and listen… to random travelers, the sights within airports, the sounds of others voices, and to my heart. Following a good night’s sleep, I retrieved my dogs from the kennel this morning and intentionally, created space to be and play with them before heading off to a business engagement.
This afternoon I reflected on the past several days, during which I was in the amazing company of a Mastermind group to which I belong. And I realized that so many of my recent, conscious experiences (the Mastermind, traveling, random people, my canine companions, etc.) were about relationships. Creating new and growing relationships with people I know and appreciate; introductions and interactions with strangers; fleeting conversations with airplane seatmates and; being reunited with loved sentient beings. All of them related, somehow, to connection.
Many of us, I believe, tend to not always consider life’s weavings as connections. Yet we know the intense feelings of awe, power, and gratitude that we have when we experience nature, our bodies, change, emotions, and responsibilities. Being in relationship awakens us to a willingness to be joyful, in service, supportive, open to learning, inspired, and to the creation of meaning and value in and for all.
Intellectually I get it, yet this intentional pause still wowed me. To know how interconnected we are and how easy it is to relate, impact, and resolve challenges that face us – individually and collectively – was an appreciated humanistic reflection.
I will conclude with three ways to create and/or strengthen a connection, if this is something to which you aspire:
Celebrate each other. Say something kind to another person, whether you know them or not. Nourish the (potentially budding) relationship by letting them how they have affected you – as a friend, a colleague, or even a passing acquaintance. Kind, honest expressions are always appreciated. Be generous with compliments.
- Listen carefully. Let people know that their thoughts and feelings are important. Good listening encourages relationship building. Be “present” in conversation and demonstrate a heartfelt desire to understand what is being communicated.
- Maintain your Sense of Self. Try to honor your own needs and boundaries so as to sustain your healthy, individual identity. At the same time, don’t be afraid to open up and develop friendships – recognizing knowledge, interests, and experiences that others may want to share with you. Balance your needs with those of the other person.
There are times and experiences when I am grateful for being exhausted. They afford me opportunities to put matters into perspective and appreciate what I’ve seen, heard and recognized. How often do you create these moments?