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The driver picked me up first, so for a few minutes there was that awkward thing in the air.  You know, that thing when two people have met before, but don’t really know each other or what to say.  So there’s an uneasiness in the conversation.

We were on our way to pick up my friend, then off to a fun event on a freezing Saturday night.  He drives her to and from events in her very busy NYC life, so occasionally when I’m tagging along I’ll get a ride home.

He and I made some small talk.  I filled the intermittent silences by checking messages on my phone.  Then I decided to be present and forget the diversions and have a conversation like a normal person.

“So, are you married?”

I don’t like small talk.  I’d rather you tell me how you feel about things.  And, I’d much rather get right into your business.

“No,” he said in his Russian accent.  “Not anymore.”

We talked a little about how that marriage wasn’t for him, and about his current long-term girlfriend and how that relationship was good.

I asked him if she wanted to get married.

He laughed.  Then he said, almost wearily, “everyone wants to get married.”

This made him giggle.

“Well, I don’t know if I do,” I said.  “It’s never been my thing.  Though I suppose if I met someone amazing, I’d be open to it.”

The conversation turned to our crazy New York lives and, though making money was important, love and family are really what’s important in life.  I lamented how difficult cultivating a rich personal life has been, particularly when it comes to romantic love.

“Have you heard of the law of attraction?”

“Yes.”  Not exactly what I expected to hear from this seemingly macho guy from the other side of the world.

“Well,” he shrugged.  “Then bring it into your life.”

I hadn’t expected to be given the secret to life in the back seat of an SUV.  Unexpected wisdom in unexpected places.

Later, as he drove me home, he said something that has stayed with me.

“You really know how to handle yourself.”

Thinking back now, I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, but I do know that as he said those words, it felt like the highest compliment possible.

And just like that, I had my favorite conversations of the week.

I hope you find unexpected connections and surprising wisdom in the days ahead.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

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When my month of Grace & Gratitude ended, I felt a little lost without a means to share what moved me regularly.  There was a magnificent rhythm to living the day with eyes, heart, and mind open to the possibility of grace appearing.  As I published the last post of the series, I already missed it.

Grace of the Day (or Grub or Goodness of the Day) posts will allow me to keep the fire of presence alive.  I’ll still share Goodness, Grace and Grub posts, but these will allow me to concisely share what fills me with awe, maybe not daily, but more frequently.

For example.

Today I was having one of those conversations where I was trying to understand something.  I was in the space of why:  why did this unfold this way, why did I feel that way?  Why, why, why.

The very wise person I was talking to had been intently listening to me.  She stopped and took a breath before answering.  Then she very clearly and succinctly gave me an answer that brilliantly answered my whys.  Her answer gave me a perspective that I wouldn’t have thought of, and she answered in such a way that told me she fully understood me.

It was a moment where I felt completely connected, wholly tethered by the moment.

Moments of connection, where you are understood implicitly, are the epitome of grace.

I don’t meet strangers anymore…I only meet old friends.      –Jennifer Pastiloff

What has surprised me most during this month of gratitude is the things that stand out in my mind at the end of the day are usually not things at all.

They are the moments of connection.

As I rode the bus home this afternoon following a SoulCycle workout on a summer day off, I grew antsy from the heavy traffic on the avenue.  I picked up my phone, about to tweet an obnoxious observation about traffic and traffic cops (ok, so I’m not always in a graceful frame of mind), when the woman across from me asked, “Where did you get that?”

She pointed to the paper bag that carried my lunch.  It was from Juice Generation, one of many juicing places in Manhattan.  I usually visit the store around the corner from my class for a post-cycle lunch.  (They make a pretty spectacular vegan taco salad.)  She wanted to know where the store was located, so I told her.

“Oh. My son owns a juice place near there on 62nd and 3rd.”

We—she was also with her husband—proceeded to have the loveliest conversation about their son’s business, which turns out to be a growing chain of 13 stores called The Juice Press.  I’ve walked by it, as well as a newer one downtown, many times and have always thought that I should try it.

Now I can’t wait to stop in; I’m certain the products will be infused with love.

Time spent aggravated in a traffic jam was transformed by easy conversation about juice fasts, eating cleanly, and being crazy enough to take a risk on what you believe in.  Some conversations are effortless and make you feel embraced by the world.

I feel at home in the world.  

This was one of those exchanges.

And it turns out that they live in my neighborhood.  Who knows, maybe I’ll see them again, this time as familiar friends.

Connection, the essence of grace.

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