Ladders and Buildings

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Our society is driven by status, appearance, and achievement.  Checking all the boxes in the right order at the right time and climbing to the top in every arena is revered.  But what happens when the goal is to be king of every mountain?  We certainly can’t stretch that far and I certainly haven’t met someone with that type of breadth.  The truth is, that person doesn’t exist.  Achievement becomes about ego and power and dominance.  The other side of the coin is when we make our lives about checking things off the list, what happens when the lists run out?  We essentially run out the clock with meaningless actions for the sake of proving our worth to others.

Conveniently what we don’t talk about is inherent worth.  For most of us our worth is still determined by what’s on the outside, what we can show the world we’ve done.  We forget about the worth we are born with merely by being here.  That worth never disappears but we learn to put it to the side in favor of rules, expectations, other people’s beliefs all before we even learn to express ourselves.  For those who know their inherent worth, it’s easier to rise above the games.  It’s easier to see alternatives to the story we still try to engrain in this society.  When you know, you know—it’s no longer about proving. Proving falls to the background because you are merely doing all you can do with what you have—and that is enough.      

To be completely fair, perhaps that conversation on worth is growing more these days, but it isn’t something we have fully integrated into our beings.  As someone considered mid-life, I struggle with certain aspects of the younger generation.  There’s a dichotomy that feels so big.  There are kids who embrace who they are and shout it to the world while others seem stuck in posting and social media and vapid distraction.  The truth is we were probably the exact same, it just felt different, or it wasn’t so widely advertised.  But one thing to give the younger generation credit for is their persistence and creativity.  They stick with what they know and they have this ability to take their talents and find ways to make it off the traditional path.  That is a strong sense of self.  Those of us on the precipice between the two still struggle between what we are “supposed” to do and what we want to do.  We haven’t gotten fully comfortable with making it outside the norm, through our creativity.

There is a time and place for achievement.  There is a time to shoot for the top.  It can be said that achievement isn’t the problem—alignment is.  Because when achievement in itself is the goal we get lost.  Or when we are climbing a ladder that isn’t for us.  Or when we climb the ladder on the wrong building.  Fine it may be an accomplishment to finish something.  But what good is it if it doesn’t mean anything to us?  What good is it if it wasn’t our goal in the first place? So when we go for a goal, make sure it’s our own because then the path to the top means something.  Otherwise we are playing a game of tag that we can’t win because the goal is always moving.  It’s kind of like spinning plates on too many sticks at once—we can’t keep them all moving.  They are eventually going to fall.  When we are aligned, achievement comes naturally.  There aren’t plates to spin, we spin with the natural course before us.  The ladder is still there, but the goal is different.  It isn’t about getting to the top, it’s about following the steps on the journey. That is an achievement well worth it.

A Sense of Self

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We talk a lot about ourselves here.  Some may call it selfish or self-absorbed.  In reality the goal is foundational.  It’s about creating the best version of yourself so you can bring the best to the world, so you can ignite yourself and those around you.  So your cup can overflow to others.  In order to do that we need to know confidently and completely who we are.  We can’t let external influences determine that for us.  We need to connect to what we are called to and that means knowing without a doubt what our purpose is.  We can’t tie our identity to things, people, or what we do like a job.  We need to know what makes us who we are, what our values are. 

When we know what we value, the answers are clear.  We can lean on those values during change.  We create levels of awareness of our patterns and habits and who we are and who we are meant to be and that allows us to close the gap. Self is a tricky, fluid thing.  We aren’t stones and we do need to adapt over time.  I’m not talking about habits and routines—although they can become part of who we are—I’m talking about the driving factors, the voices that scream, “STOP!” when something feels off.  That is the indicator that we need to realign.

Who we are called to be presents itself when we listen.  It isn’t like it’s completely hidden or anything, far from it.  We are just trained to keep it quiet for so long that the voice gets pushed to the back of our mind or ignored every now and then.  In order to be who we are, we need to listen loud and clear and take action aligned with that deepest sense of who we are.  It’s then that we learn life revolves around the heart.  Accept that our purpose is to love and have compassion for each other.  When you are firm in who you are and when you allow that identity to expand into your life, your creations will expand (Ashmi Path).   A sense of self isn’t a selfish thing, it’s a necessary thing.

Change The Inner Conversation

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The person we speak with the most, the person we listen to the most, the person whose advice we seek the most is much closer than we think.  It’s ourselves.  That voice follows us throughout our days, it guides our thoughts, our actions, it permeates our sleep, it allows us to day dream, it helps us plan.  The inner voice even helps us remember things.  Part of me was terrified to share this piece because there are a lot of things that run through my head.  The truth is, my mind isn’t the kindest place to be.  I’m incredibly hard on myself, I have extreme expectations, and I truly have a tendency to think of worst-case scenarios—logically I know it’s ridiculous, I know there is no chance of it happening, but I can’t seem to stop the thoughts from popping in. For example, my husband and son went out today and I had been feeling a little on edge before they left and the thought popped in my head that I was going to get a call that they had been killed.  I mean, that’s absolutely ridiculous. There is no in between in my brain—it’s either really positive or super negative. 

While it’s embarrassing to acknowledge how crazy it feels in my brain some days, I happened upon a meditation that spoke about the positive side of an inner voice and how we can channel it through encouraging reconsidering things.  The positive to an active mind is that there is limitless energy and creativity.  I mean, yes, the thoughts I have can be pretty macabre, but it takes a pretty imaginative person to get into those scenarios.  Active minds tend to run on their own, sometimes with multiple tracks all at the same time.  There are stories and ideas always floating around up there and when that can be channeled, it’s pretty cool.  If a mind is that creative, it needs an outlet.  We don’t have to sit and stew in our own fear or misery.  We can acknowledge it’s just a thought and we can use our thoughts in other ways.

A good step to this is to see the thoughts as they come and allow them to pass.  I actually love this one even though it isn’t natural to me yet and I don’t use it that often.  The idea of a thought floating through and being allowed to pass gives me a huge sense of relief because it seems like it would simply float away, unattached to anything.  Another way is to learn to talk to it.  This one I use quite a bit more.  When a truly far-fetched thought makes it’s way in my brain and feels a bit obsessive, I speak out loud with, “STOP!”  And then I take the inner dialogue and tell it that the thought is just a thought, the chances of it happening are almost zero.  I also like the technique of simply finding a flaw with the thought.  If we can logically see where we went wrong, that the thought has no ground, it’s easier to find another route of thinking.  We spend a lot of time in our heads, it’s important to remember that we have a say of what goes on in there.  Make it a nice place to be.

Other People’s Feelings

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One of the habits I’m trying to break as a people pleaser is protecting other people’s emotions, or what I think their emotions are.  It’s not up to me to manage how people feel.  There has been some scuffle between a couple friends of mine and I’ve repeatedly told them they need to take it up with each other.  I’m trying to maintain a relationship with both of them and that has meant turning down one friend if I already had plans with the other.  Recently I was smack in the middle of the two and one found out the other was hosting an event.  I asked the host what I should tell the other friend and she flat out told me to tell her the truth.  I panicked because I didn’t want to be the one responsible for hurting my other friend.  I told her we were going to the host’s house but I didn’t tell her for what.  Within seconds she heard the full truth from someone else.  It made me look like I had been full on lying.  I flipped out and told my husband I was exhausted looking like the asshole when I’m protecting people and he told me, “Stop doing that!”

A light bulb went off in my head as soon as I heard those words—he’s right.  It would have been so easy to blame the other person for telling the full truth—why wouldn’t you want to protect our friend?!  But the blame fell on me.  I should have told her exactly what was happening.  We are adults and the issue is between the two of them.  To keep it squarely between my two friends, I should have just told the entire story.  Regardless of my intention, what I told her came across as a lie, and I completely understand that.  They always say the truth is easier to remember than a lie (yes, I’m including half-truths, white-lies, and omission) and it’s true. We all know first hand what it feels like to be excluded and I don’t want people to feel that.  Ironically it’s become a compulsion and I feel responsible for not letting anyone feel excluded, even if it’s appropriate or if they’ve excluded me.  The friend I was protecting responded at length that the host would never have been friends with me had their issue not started in the first place. 

Another light bulb.  If someone is that willing to blatantly berate or belittle me when I wasn’t even involved, then how close are we?  What type of friends are we?  Sometimes telling the truth reveals more than we anticipated—like someone’s true intentions or place with you.  That’s fine.  We aren’t responsible FOR people but we may have a responsibility TO people.  The difference is that we aren’t obligated to make people feel a certain way—we don’t need to hedge our emotions or the truth to protect them, we are responsible to tell them the truth.  How they react is up to them.  Sometimes protecting is overstepping and it just makes you look like a jerk even if your intentions were good.  Sometimes the truth is ugly but it puts you right where you need to be.  Anything else keeps you in the middle.  So the moral of this story is just let it all out.  I’m not advocating for intentionally hurting people, but I wouldn’t suggest hurting yourself either for the sake of someone else’s comfort.

I also want to acknowledge the difficulty for people who are trained to always consider others before themselves.  That group in particular seems to struggle with boundaries as well as taking on responsibility for how others are feeling.  The world doesn’t rest on your shoulders, my friends.  We don’t need to be the hero in everyone’s story to make them like us.  We just need to make sure we take responsibility for our own tale, that we hold the pen, and that we do the work that we are meant to.  How others respond to us is far more telling of them than it is of us.  If they put the onus of their feelings on you, that’s unfortunate and that’s a boundary you have to be comfortable setting.  But do not go into any type of relationship with the expectation that your actions result in the happiness or disappointment of someone else.  In the end, the things we do to make other people happy can be skewed if we aren’t careful.  So make sure you take care of you.  The rest will fall into place.

Fish and Flying

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt totally misunderstood.  <Raises Hand>.  Raise your hand if you thought it was your fault and needed to make people understand you. <Raises Hand>.  We live in a judgy world that tells us we need to meet others expectations before our own, that we all have to live the same way to fall into the “normal” or “successful” categories.  Even the opportunities that fall outside the norm have their own set of rules and expectations.  We live with very real but often unspoken limitations and expectations on our lives.  We just aren’t told they are real in our mind.  Anyone can judge the external experience of others without knowing the background.  That’s easy.  It’s superficial and based on nothing more than what we see. There’s no foundation there, there’s no real understanding of what people have gone through.  So why do we allow those people who haven’t lived our story to dictate how we feel about ourselves?

Our first mistake is assuming we are all the same and that we all want to be the same.  That assumption removes the creativity and the knowing we are born with as soon as it hits our ears—and this is fed to us as normal.  Crushing the dream and the spirit starts as soon as we enter school because we are meant to conform to the prescribed standards of what success is.  No matter it’s about regurgitating information instead of creating, if we don’t answer a question correctly, we are wrong.  We never consider that we are judging people unfairly—or that we don’t need to judge them at all.. The truth is if we judge a fish by its ability to fly, it will always look like a failure, and if we tell it so, it will feel like a failure.  We’ve been judging fish by their ability to fly for far too long.  That doesn’t make them wrong, it makes them what they are and they are allowed to be what they are—they have no other choice.  So the matter is really about context and understanding what we are seeing.  And even further back, understanding whether or not our judgement is really necessary.

We’ve been talking a long time about the paradigm shifting and the systems breaking.  I’ve said it before that there was a time and place for the system but it NEVER worked for everyone, so that in itself should have been an indication that the system needed to break a long time ago.  So many of us still cling to it because it’s all we know.  But look at the world.  Look at how things are changing and how rapidly we are progressing into new territory.  Schools don’t work, healthcare doesn’t work, the economy as we knew it doesn’t work, the government certainly doesn’t work.  We’ve spent so much time corralling the people and making them fit in boxes that we never looked at breaking the damn box as a collective.  What happens when we remove the self-imposed barriers to the lives we’ve been trying to live?  No, I’m not talking anarchy and destruction, there is need for some type of order.  I’m talking about creating a system that is truly for the people, that supports the people and allows them to flourish.  Fish get to be fish, birds get to be birds and they are all allowed to be who they are AND to flourish.

It’s not so crazy.  I’m pretty confident in saying that we all feel the need to change the behavior anyway.  I look at 20 year olds now and the opportunities they are taking and creating for themselves, things that people nearing their 40’s or older wouldn’t consider because they are afraid.  There are absolutely ways to make the life you want, the life that fits and makes sense for you.  It doesn’t have to be like everyone else.  It’s a matter of simply going with it and deciding that the pain of being who you were is greater than the pain of becoming who you’re meant to be.  It’s time to spread those wings and leave behind the restrictions you felt were mandatory, leave behind the doubt.  Get comfortable in who you are and step forward.  The more we can show the world we are embracing who we are, the more the world learns to do the same for themselves.  It’s about spreading light and not darkness, it’s about removing limitation not creating a new box, it’s about loving ourselves enough to be who we are meant to be instead of berating ourselves for not being who we were told.  Small steps make a big impact and the more light we can spread to the world, the better it will be.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for a clear space.  I spent a ton of time organizing and cleaning yesterday.  I completely finished organizing my bathroom and what a difference.  It coincided with a card I had received about cleaning and clearing the space for a new beginning.  For taking care of myself.  The bathroom never really bothered me—I mean, I didn’t like certain areas that always seem to be dirty—but seeing the difference with a clutter free, cleared space made all the difference.  A few simple changes and it feels like an entirely new space.  I started wandering through the rest of the house to do the same thing in other spaces and my limits kicked in.  I didn’t want to weekend warrior creating a more harmonious area, but I am grateful that I started working on getting things together.

Today I am grateful for signs.  I have a story I will share in the coming weeks about the cycles of life.  I’ve struggled with trust and faith lately, to the point of nearly denouncing any faith I had, but there is always something that keeps me coming back.  There have been signs about things that nothing other than divine action, divine connection, fate, whatever you want to call it could have been responsible for.  There are things that are more than coincidence that go beyond explanation and I have to accept that there is some purpose, even amidst confusion, anger, and frustration.  There is purpose that we may not see in the moment, especially when we are hurt.  But I’m grateful that the signs keep coming—and I’m trying to be patient while waiting for the lesson, the reason.

Today I am grateful for reclamation.  I am so grateful for the infinite patience of the universe because I’ve been back and forth on my identity for years.  I thought I was so firm in my sense of self only to realize that I have no clue, that I’m just repeating patterns.  I started doing the work diligently and have seen that there is always more.  I treated so much of my life like a destination, a check-list of things to do, expecting moments to define me.  Life is a journey and if we spend it doing the same things repeatedly, that is a life unlived.  When we step into who we are, when we are given the opportunity to really find who we are, then we reclaim a pert of ourselves.  I’m so grateful to be in that stage, to reclaim who I am.

Today I am grateful for presence.  We didn’t have much to do today aside from continuing to clean and organize the house.  So we took some time to sleep, to eat, to play.  I watched some car videos with my husband, I played video games with my son, and I spent some time doing the spiritual work with my son.  Each moment only required my attention, my being there.  It wasn’t about doing anything, it was about being in the moment and enjoying the task.  We need more moments like that, more time spent right where we are instead of worrying about where we have to go or what to do next.  Just breathe into where we are.

Today I am grateful for joy and new experiences.  My husband and I agreed this was going to be a year of experiences over spending more money on more things.  He surprised us today by taking us to a new coffee house.  I was able to try boba for the first time, my son was able to try a smoothie for the first time all for under $20.  We were able to do something new.  When we got home, my husband worked on his car for a bit and my son and I had a dance session on the driveway.  We also spent time reading today and playing video games.  I am not a gamer by any means but we’ve found a game that I can play and my son is thrilled.  I love sharing the experiences together and it is something new for me.  It definitely opens up new perspectives on life and creates new opportunities for bonding as well as creativity.  All from opening up to joy and allowing things to be as they are.

Today I am grateful for boundaries.  As I’ve shared numerous times, boundaries are an issue for me.  It’s one I am well aware of but seem to blast right past whenever they come up, or when it’s time for me to enforce them.  Today I spoke with I team member whom I have a lot of respect for but I haven’t always set clear boundaries with her.  One of the things I’ve been working on is realizing that I’ve said yes to too many things.  Even if they were wonderful opportunities, it was still an overcommitment and I realize that I can no longer put my priorities on the back burner for someone else’s gain.  I need to have enough time to follow through on what I commit to.  Today I exercised a boundary about time, stating that I wasn’t ready for the overwhelm of the team and she respected it.  It’s going to take practice but it takes time.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

Simmer Down The Emotion

I talked about my witch the other day and how she made me realize that I can’t be so demanding or hold an expectation for what I want right now.  As it happens, right when we are ready to give up, there comes a sign to either keep going or that makes the pieces click.  For me, it was the former—a message to keep going in spite of being seconds from madness.  Between the conversation with my witch and a timely message about simmering down the emotion, the realization about time hit me: life runs its course no matter what we do.  We can’t always prepare for some of the things that happen or the resulting (potential) trauma.  We can’t prepare for the consequences or even the delights of the paths we choose.  The whole point of this life is to find a way to share joy and happiness and love with the world.

So, following up on yesterday’s conversation about being self-ful, it’s important to dive deep into how we do that.  Again, I want to clarify that being self-ful isn’t a selfish act.  It isn’t about getting what we want when we want it.  It’s about creating space for joy and happiness a majority of the time.  We are fed this lie that we have to earn our happiness through sacrificing a majority of our time toward someone else’s end, someone who gets to go out and enjoy the world on their own terms while we fit in their prescribed boxes.  We believe that lie because we are told it’s rough out there, that life is hard.  We are never told that we MAKE it hard to satisfy the needs/wants of the few, to keep the system happy, not the individual. 

The first step to being happy again is to take a step back.  When the emotions are heightened and we are overwhelmed by everything or even if we are more sensitive, it’s time to stop.  We need to understand what’s happening in our bodies and know that we are in an elevated state that won’t allow us to process information correctly.  Once we understand what’s happening to our bodies, we can begin the process of course correcting.  Start filling your time with things that bring you joy, things that make your body feel good.  Then it’s the tricky part: stepping back and allowing things to fall into place.  Control freaks shudder simultaneously—I know I did.  The process of allowing is about trust and when we take our hands off the reins, we are trusting that things will be ok.  But this is where mindset comes in: if you let go and something you expect to happen doesn’t happen, the first reaction can’t be, “Why didn’t this happen for me, I did what I was supposed to.”  The reaction has to be, “It wasn’t the right time or something else is coming.”  And patience isn’t always easy, but then we wait.

There is very little that has anything to do with us or our behavior, it’s about our frequency and our role in the universe.  It isn’t a personal thing, it’s a practical thing and we can either fight our position or we can learn to accept it and take up the mantle of who we are supposed to be.  It can be terrifying because we all have ideas about what life should look like or what we want it to look like and sometimes the reality is quite different.  Accepting the gap between the two is the difference between trust and control—as is learning how to close the gap between the two when it’s aligned with our purpose.  Take the emotion down to understand what’s happening and try to trust it isn’t about you.  I never said it was easy, but it definitely helps put things in perspective.  We are responsible for our own happiness and fulfilling our purpose.  Keep your spirits up and your heart and mind open.  Fill your cup first and allow it to overflow to others.    

If I’m Not For ME, Who IS?

Scrolling through IG the other day, I came across a post from Jade Tailor (The Magicians—IYKYK).  She talked about the love she has for her parents and she shared a quote that her father shared with her: “If I’m not for me, who is?”  She shared the most amazing story about what the quote meant to her and how she learned from it over time, how its definition changed.  She said that initially she thought it was selfish but she learned how it applied to the necessity of life as time went on.  My initial interpretation was a complete click, a resonance for the circumstances I’m in right now.  I fully own and acknowledge my sensitivity and hyper awareness (and even reading too much) into some of the things that are happening in my life, but this quote and the timing of events made it crystal clear that there are simply times when we have to stand for ourselves because no one else will.  It isn’t about being a lone soldier or going rogue and becoming narcissistic.  No, it’s about boundaries and necessity of understanding and feeling our worth—and having no shame in standing in our worth, in our identity.

If we aren’t for ourselves, we allow others to walk all over us.  While that can seem like an exaggeration or a generalization (and it may be to a degree), people are inherently wired for survival so if we aren’t vocal or clear about our place and who we are, then that gives them grounds to take the path of least resistance, which is their needs trump yours.  As frustrating as it is, if we don’t know our worth, others will set the bar pretty low.  This isn’t to say that people are evil and think everyone else is beneath them, it’s just to say that if we don’t help each other learn our priorities, our priorities will always come last to others.  That’s when our wells run dry, when we look to outside sources to give us meaning and worth. So here is the beautiful part of this idea: self-care as self-preservation

When we fill our cups completely, they will start to run over, and that is when we can share and give the most to the world.  It truly becomes a matter of selfish versus self-ful and it’s a very important distinction—especially for those people pleasers.  Selfish tendencies imply that we are only out for our own interests.  Self-ful tendencies are about meeting our needs so we are able to give back and to meet others with care, kindness, and compassion.  This is about meeting all needs and understanding tapping into the endless supply of energy and love that is this world.  This is an abundant world and we will always be taken care of as long as we know how to care for each other—and taking care of each other means knowing how to take care of ourselves first.  The selfish activities are draining while the self-ful activities are fulfilling and energizing. 

So be for yourself all the time, help people be for themselves too.  The better we feel and the more we understand what we need and how to help ourselves, the more of a resource we can be to help others.  Whether this is about self-care (and self-care can look like WHATEVER you need it to) or about time, or about pausing, it doesn’t matter.  Make it about prioritizing what is important.  When we are firm in knowing what’s valuable, then we know what to say no to, and more importantly, we know what to say yes to.  The more “yes” we can give life the more it fills with what we value and that leads us to our purpose.  That is what makes us full.  Be for yourself. 

Talent And Time

Just a quick note on talent.  I’ve been afraid of time forever.  Yes I’ve talked about this before but I don’t know if I’ve ever described the depth of my fear.  From the time I was in kindergarten, I’ve been afraid of losing my parents.  I could never articulate what the exact fear was, but I didn’t want them to die.  I experienced a lot of loss and I immediately felt behind the ball coming into this world.  My entire family was a unit for nearly a decade on their own before I came into the picture.  That’s a lot of lost time.  I felt like time was slipping away from me from an early age and I had so much less time with my family than the rest of the group did.  I only got 11 years with my grandfather.  My siblings had closer to 20.  I felt like I needed to be where they were, to meet them at their level and I developed the habit of jumping ahead early on.  Meaning I wanted to skip over the part where I learned my lessons and lived my life, I just wanted to be included in theirs.  I thought I needed to make a name for myself super early so I could prove I was just as worthy as they were.  AS time went on and nothing happened, as I lost break after break, as opportunities seemed to fall through my fingers even if they were perfect for me, the sand in the hour glass feeling became more and more intense. 

I saw a video from Belinda Carlisle the other day and she still sounds amazing as ever.  In spite of individual and collective fame nearly four decades old, she’s still amazing.  And it hit me that talent never goes away.  While I can’t change the time I missed in my family or the fact that I got less of it, I don’t have to hold onto the fear that my talent has an expiration date, or that I will never make it.  I just need to get clearer on what “making it” is and what I want to do to get there.  Time does a lot of things.  It removes people, it ripens our experience, it connects us as much as it divides us, it shows us new things and reminds us of where we came from. It shows us an appreciation for life and the value of time spent well, spent together.  WE have no control over time, each second passes away without our consent.  We do have control over how we spend our time and it’s never too late to find who we are and to share that gift with the world.  The world needs our light, no matter when we let it out.  And when we arrive at that moment, that’s exactly when it was meant to happen.

Purpose and Joy of Connection

I’ve looked at connection as a means to find common ground with those who share the same viewpoint, as a means to be validated and to validate others, and a way to be heard.  There are varying forms of connection from understanding self, to friendships, to deeper relationships, to the work we do, and each of those connections has an impact on our emotional well-being and our overall outlook.  I have always believed in kindness toward strangers, but I never looked at that as anything beyond surface level.  I listened to a meditation the other day and it suggested forming a different level of connection with strangers.  This was based on the premise that the more connections we have, the happier we are.  To me, connection is something deep where we bond over something.  I don’t look at connecting with people I don’t know as a source of connection in that regard because we don’t have the time invested in each other. 

I write these words in order to connect with those they may resonate with.  Yes, those people are strangers, but the words that speak to us often hit deeper than surface level.  Plus this work is targeted.  I’m not trying to reach every single person in the world—of course that would be lovely if we could all get on the same page—but this isn’t for everyone, no one is for everyone.  But the meditation I heard emphasized that there is value in the day to day micro-connections we can form.  It has been show to boost your joy through a head nod.  When we open ourselves up to others we expand our outreach and know we are not alone.  The more people we interact with, the more opportunity we have to belong to something.  There is also joy found in stepping outside of our comfort zone.  Truth be told, it doesn’t take much to go from a head nod to a conversation and that is a chance to be seen as we really are.  We don’t need to rush through this world with our heads down in a phone.  We can learn to connect.

Research shows that a random conversation can boost our confidence as well.  The more we belong, the better we feel, and what better way to belong than joining the conversation?  We are all connected by our humanity, so sharing a common piece of ourselves isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be.  It starts with an introduction, a breaking the ice.  I’m not saying that we will automatically bond with people on a deep level, but there is likely something we have in common with most.  Take the time to expand our outreach and build relationships with people.  There is joy in connection, and joy is something we all need to connect with more often.  Not the “hunting for likes” joy we get from a social media hit, but real connection that speaks to who we are.  There are possibilities everywhere, we are just a conversation away from genuine connection.