Simple, elegant, and a delight to fully embrace. Connection brings us together, as sets of eyes and big ‘ol beating hearts, to love and respect the gifts we bring to this world. Look around and everywhere you will find living creatures interacting, bouncing energy off each other, and communicating on a multitude of levels. At times it may seem as if we are self contained, but an open understanding allows us to see our interconnectedness with the surroundings and others who touch our lives. It is a ripple effect into the community: the man walking his dog outside at 7am this morning as you left the house who gave a friendly nod, the bus driver on her daily route, the guy sitting next to you on the bus listening to his iPod, your boss at work who handed you a stack of work and and an early deadline and your mom, who has left you two voice mails already today. Some seem more significant than others, but all leave an impression we carry with us.
I have been thinking a lot about our interactions lately, perhaps because I am back into the Spring semester at school. The closeness of the environment and the ties I am making with fellow students and faculty is an interesting dynamic of professional, casual and sometimes totally goofy. The experience of graduate school is full-on immersive and one that can consume your day and night due to information overload. More often, I am aware of the close community of colleagues we are creating in a newly emerging generation of public health. We are all growing, learning, expanding our views of our passions and desires; using each other as support to learn from as a safe way to explore our skills. It’s really a unique experience and one I enjoy fostering.
Another powerful way we have been cultivating interconnection within our own home is to extend the connection to our friends and neighbors. I have been made increasingly aware of how easy it is to let the city actually hinder our correspondence to fellow neighbors, despite their proximity. We live in our house, you live in yours, give a wave over the fence and call it a friendship. Or how about your friends that live on the other side of town that you see twice a year? That’s the same amount I see my dentist! Friendships enrich our life, bring us joy and laughter, a shoulder to lean on and teach us about ourselves. Getting together with friends, old and new, does not have to be a fancy ordeal that entails serving a gourmet meal, having a perfect conversation starter or a even frenzied vacuuming binge at 6:25 before guests arrive at 6:30. Welcoming people into your home is good enough, and is a true sign of your genuine desire to form a connection. Yes, clean up a bit, but keep your priorities in check. If having friends over seems like a lot of effort, keep it casual and have others bring a beverage or dish to pass. A visit can be as quick as ten minutes or an all night party. The point is to make it happen! It’s all about the spirit of opening your home to those you love and the experience can perhaps bring far more fond memories than a night at home with Netflix. Send some texts and make some phone calls to new friends as well as a rally cry to the old. It’s something I crave in my life and I bet you do to.
The question remains, how do you influence the people in your life? Reciprocal experiences between individuals is happening constantly. How are you impacting these experiences to be positive for all of those involved? We are far too sensitive of creatures to go about this world numb and out of tune from our fellow men and women. Go ahead; look up when you walk down the street, smile at your neighbor, invite them over for a chat, shovel their extra sidewalk if you are out before they are, and pay attention to the people around you for they can positively impact your day. Surround yourself with those who care about you and we will all benefit from the reciprocal good will, love and joy.
If you like this thought and want to think about it more… check out this documentary we recently watched: I Am. The Shift is About to Hit The Fan.