I have been thinking about my “word” for 2013. Apparently, it’s not the cool thing anymore to do resolutions. The “in” thing to do is to think of a word that you want to guide your year, and focus/meditate on that.
I will admit, when I heard about this concept a year (or two?) ago, I thought it was just plain lazy. One word? That’s it?! Haha. But earlier this year, I started thinking about using words as touchstones in my life. For awhile I was using the word: Clear. As in, I was clearing out my house, organizing, getting clarity (CLEAR) in my priorities. It was a good word, but I didn’t feel like it was the one.
So, life went on and I decided maybe Compassion is my word. I sat with that word for a month or two, but again, it just didn’t feel complete.
Then, last night it dawned on me. The word. THE WORD. And that word is Connection. It’s the idea and concept that links together everything I hope to do with my life. Connection. So simple, yet so powerful.
Mr. M has been editing nights on The Ricki Lake show. We usually have a few hours together in the afternoon before he goes off to work. These hours are so precious and fleeting. The other day, I really wanted to go together to the beach while Paprika was at school. Mr. M wanted to get the tires rotated. Mr. M is sensible and responsible like that, and I am Carpe Diem and party till the wheels fall off spontaneous. I realize we can have “together time” at Tire Barn just as well as the beach, but frankly, I didn’t feel like Tire Barn that day.
So, he took Ginger with him to get the tires rotated and I took Violet to the beach. Violet and I had the most glorious time at the beach. I carried her in the Ergo. We walked out onto the pier just as a pod of dolphins was jumping and splashing underneath us. I pointed out the dolphins and she laughed. The sun was shining, and we were connected. I wasn’t distracted or talking on my phone. I was with her. It is a memory I will always cherish.
During my little hour of joy with Violet, I lost track of time and realized I had to rush to pick up Paprika from school. As I was hurrying back to the car, a group of people walked in front of me – all smoking cigarettes. The smoke was blowing straight into Violet’s eyes. She made a face and started to cry. So, I decided to jog ahead for the sole purpose of getting in front of these people (away from the smoke). At the same time, I called Mr. M on the phone to see if he was close enough to pick up Paprika at school. That was the first time I’d picked up my phone all day, except to take a quick picture at the pier.
As I jogged the ten feet past these people, I heard them making fun of me. One of the guys said: Ohmygawd! I like, need to lose two pounds! I can’t even pay attention to my baby because I am on my phone all the time. I heard a girl say: Running and talking on the phone. Does she even know where her baby is? Talk about checked out.
Five years ago, I would have turned around and told those people what’s what. I would have needed to set the record straight. To tell them that they got it all wrong. That what they saw was just a snapshot, and out of context, and not the true picture of who I am at all.
But I was in a hurry. And their limited view of what was going on with ME was a lesson more than anything. How often do I jump to a conclusion, make a snap judgement, and put up a wall between myself and others? How do these stereotypes perpetuate fear and keep me from connecting to people?
Connecting is a a scary concept. It means making ourselves vulnerable by putting aside the impulse to judge. When you decide to give someone the benefit of the doubt, to approach with an angle of compassion and connect with someone, you can get: disappointed, hurt, rejected. Or, you might just find: love, joy, happiness, fulfillment. Without connection, there is no possibility for amazing things to happen. Without connection, there is no depth – no soul – to interactions. Connection is worth the risk.
Needless to say, about 15 feet ahead of these people, I stopped running (they probably realized right then and there I wasn’t a runner – haha) – and I hung up my phone (Mr. M couldn’t get to school, afterall). I was grateful for their judgements, and happy for the unexpected insight they brought me.
And personally, I wanted to turn around and thank them for saying I only needed to lose TWO pounds! Yes, thank you for that, too. I think that lifted my spirits most of all. Haha! 😉