I have felt for years that I was supposed to blog. I have known it is part of my personal journey towards becoming a deeply free, wholehearted person. However, even in the midst of so much writing and words….I could never push the publish button. There was always this subtle voice saying, “this is a pile of crap and nobody really cares”.
Then, this lying seed would take me down the rabbit hole of wild horses (perfectionism) and self serving justifications and I would cave. Regardless, there is a persistent knowing deep inside that there are those that desperately need the encouragement and perspective that is uniquely mine to give. And here is the real truth….THIS is true of all of us who choose to walk forward into the brave lands of freedom, less and hard traveled roads and are still choosing to wake up, fix our eyes and press on. Others need us and this is the point of this first “publish”.
Here is THE thing and the main thing. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances of our life are right now. We need others and they need us. There are those we are standing, sitting, and living right next to that need our brave, courageous effort (usually in the form of intentional words and actions) to intersect their lives.
I mean, if we do not follow that prompting or urge inside us to either reach out for our sakes or theirs….life will not have that piece of the puzzle of hope THAT connection could bring. Instead, it will be one more moment of choosing our supposed safety and comfort at the expense of our deep aloneness (in our unique struggles or joys) and theirs.
Why am I writing about this? Well, I’m in a country now that is culturally unyielding about their acknowledgement and greeting of EVERYONE. I’m in this almost daily reality where the language stands in the way of deep conversation yet I AM ALWAYS acknowledged and seen. I always get kisses and hugs. On average, if the whole team of parents are at a particular event (for example)….I will get 48 kisses on the cheek (one on each side). Everyone is acknowledged and greeted. This may ebb a bit where the greeting is more general but it is unacceptable to sit in your car or stand away from the group for too long. Even and most importantly as a FOREIGNER…an outsider. This simple act has had this incredible power to ease loneliness, bring laughter, connection, perspective and seeds of community.
The guys will congregate sometimes alone and toast a beer (there is a bar with food and drinks at every facility) and the ladies will join or sit apart and chat about the silly and the serious. Regardless, they will save me a seat and struggle through my bad Spanish and WE WILL CONNECT.
Mostly, I do a lot of listening. Sometimes I want to just be alone because of the noise of my life that day…this is ok too but I will always always be reached out to. This small but powerful act helps halt my momentary “insanity” about whatever seems to want to bother me that day and I come up for air. It disrupts the runaway thoughts and persistent lies if I’m having an off day or shadowy season. It brings laughter and seeds community. Yes! This small act of acknowledgement has that kind of power.
How much more if we CAN speak the same language and we can use our shaky words (written or verbal) and risk being perceived as ____ (insert your own word) and reach out and engage? Even if awkwardness ensues or rejection is your first vibe. Who cares? We are the better for it and so are those we find on our same path.
***As a side note…it is imperative that if we cannot get uncomfortable for our sake that we consider the next generation. Especially if you are a parent or have influence over someone younger. The young DO WATCH and they learn and our getting over our debilitating judgments, fears etc. towards ourselves and others and stepping out in simple human kindness…This teaches those that watch us. This will be a huge determining factor in whether they reach out to the ones in their class or on their teams who are on the fringe where acknowledgement and being seen are everything.***
Because of the difficult story in the background of my life…I have been wired to see others differently. Orphaned in America at the age of 13, forges you in a certain fire. The way you see is from the other side of the glass often wishing your reality were like those on the happy side. This changes you.
I ultimately emerged (am still emerging 🙂 with the sadness changing me in empowering ways. I was compelled to see others. I have ignored this at times and certainly don’t set myself up as a bright and shiny example. I have fallen into the ridiculousness and the powerful trap of jealously and judgements based on my own insecurity, etc.
When we are self focused (not in the healthy but habitual, stuck sense) it is easy to succumb to the huge lie that “they” have it all together and “they” are probably even judging me. Haaa and they probably ARE!!! AND hence, the circle of isolation and non-community continues. The power of being hurled backwards into junior high thinking and behavior cannot be understated.
Regardless, this breeds a cocktail that is the opposite of where most of us actually desire to head…the direction of connectedness, support, safe relationships and freedom. I’ve learned that most of us are so hard on ourselves that generally we, nor others, need a pistol whipping or “stank eye” when we are already on the hunt for our own, long lost oxygen mask!
So, today I’m pressing the publish button and here is to all of us being mindful and brave this coming year (in Spain the year starts in September 🙂 ! Cheers from Barcelona to those reading this who are starting a new school year, adjusting to our “babies” heading to college, at home with babies, juggling work and family, meeting the new parents on the team or building life in a new place, new country or job.
It doesn’t matter…the most important tasks are often hidden and the most lasting are personal and simple! Risking that hug or awkward foreign kiss (not awkward anymore 🙂 or whatever simple words of intentional connection….it matters and we know it. I believe that this one simple thing causes our own lives to brighten and cracks the doorway for hope and connection to return to others. It is, at least, a more human, more loving way to live.
* This first blog is dedicated to my lovely friend, Lidia, who welcomed me from the first moment we arrived here in beautiful Barcelona!
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