This past week, I had the opportunity to meet an amazing woman. She is from California and is taking an online course with me. We were randomly paired up for an activity and from the moment we began talking, I felt an instant connection with her. During our time together, we shared stories about our lives as though we had known each other for years. After our class was over, we continued to email each other for the next few days. We shared our life experiences openly and honestly – both the good and the bad. But, the best part was that I communicated my innermost feelings without fear of judgment. We provided each other with a safe space where both of us could express ourselves. We honored each other and spoke our own truth. For me, that’s what connection is all about.
With yellow daffodils and red tulips blooming in my front yard these past two weeks, I knew spring was right around the corner. Punxsutawney Phil had predicted an early spring and I was ready for some warmer weather. But as it turned out, Phil’s predications weren’t exactly correct. Looking out my window this past Sunday morning, I discovered a blanket of wet, heavy snow covering my blossoming flowers. With the trees and ground cloaked in white, it looked like a winter wonderland. Cold temperatures and the news of another winter storm on the way made me wonder if spring would ever arrive. The snow was an unexpected surprise and for many, not a very welcome one. I guess that’s the thing about surprises. They come when we least expect them and alter our plans – at least for a little while. But, they can also be a whole lot of fun if we open ourselves up to their potential.
One sunny morning this past week, I walked along the beach with a friend. With the tide at its lowest point, the smooth, moist sand was perfect for meandering near the waves. As we made our way down the shoreline, we noticed several plump seagulls resting contentedly in the sun. They were healthy and stout. Clearly, nature had been kind to them this past winter. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a lone gull walking further up the beach with a small crab dangling from his beak. Leisurely, he sauntered away from the flock, content to eat his meal alone. Nature had provided him with a meaty breakfast. Watching him, I realized that seagulls live a life without worry. They don’t wander along the shoreline anxious about where their next meal will come from. Instead, they stand ever-ready near the waves. Watching intently, they wait for the perfect opportunity where they can catch their prey. Seagulls simply live in the now. They don’t plan ahead for their future or regret their past. It’s all about living in the moment and trusting that nature will provide for them. Worry is not a part of their existence. What a peaceful and contented life that must be!
The news was difficult to watch this past Tuesday morning. Seeing the smoke rising from the Brussels’ airport, watching eyewitnesses frantically fleeing the scene, and looking at a dismantled and singed subway car, I wondered how anyone could intentionally terrorize the lives of so many innocent people. Attentively, I listened to a reporter give a detailed description of the attack that had occurred at Maalbeek station. His face somber, he paused for a moment before explaining that Maalbeek station was the place he normally walked through each morning around 9 a.m. (the time of the bombing) on his way to Parliament. However, on this particular morning, he had chosen not to take the metro – a decision that perhaps changed his life.
On Tuesday morning, I was sitting in a comfy chair at Panera visiting with an old friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other in several years; our paths simply had not crossed. But as we sat together chatting and laughing, as though no time had passed, it reminded me of the importance of friendship, which plays a vital role in our lives, contributing greatly to our overall health and happiness.