There are many books written about connection with others. Lyrics in songs talk about the power of relationships. Among the primary relationships we have with parents, spouses, significant others and children, relationships with friends and acquaintances can not be underestimated.
I have been blessed with many friends with whom I can share and enjoy. I recently had a friend over for dinner and noted how attentive she was to what I was saying. She stayed with my explanations and visibly showed her care and love. As she was leaving I thanked her more than once for being there for me, listening, caring and truly sharing in my joy.
I think that what I have just described is a gift. This kind of connection with others is so important and something most of us need and want. When we get derailed somewhere in our relationships, it’s through our miscommunications, silence, not expressing our needs and feelings, not reaching out, and our fear of getting to close.
So how do we achieve this connectedness? Is it something we can actively look for and seek? I think we have to be it first. What I mean is that we have to know that we can have these connections, be open ourselves so that others will feel it and be drawn to us. The saying “birds of a feather, flock together” is an example of this.
Like attracts like. So if you seek rich and full relationships, connection with others you interact with on a daily basis or for the first time, then set that example out in the world.
In my book Pathfinding, my father tells this story about his powerful connection with a stranger who helped him:
“In the mid-30’s when I was in college, jobs were hard to find. One summer I was lucky to get a Saturday morning job from 6:00 a.m. to noon unloading banana boats in Boston. My first assignment involved carrying what they called a stalk of bananas from the hold of the ship up vertical steps to the processing area offshore.
The stalks were trimmed into hands for the bananas to be packaged for shipping. The weight of each stalk varied from forty to eighty pounds. They hung from the ceiling of the ship’s hold in rows. Each of us would wear a rubber shoulder apron and stand beneath the next stalk. The man standing there would cut the string holding the stalk and it would drop onto your shoulder. Then burdened with the heavy stalk, you’d walk up the stairs to the processing areas.
It was backbreaking work. But I’ll never forget the time it was my luck, or misfortune, to stand under an oversized stalk. I had difficulty carrying that load up the steps. I didn’t think I would make it. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a hand took me by the seat of my pants and pushed me up the ladder until I could gain my balance and carry the load to the processing room. When I turned around to see who had given me that wonderful helpful hand, I looked directly into the face of a huge African-American man. At the time he had pushed me up the ladder, he was carrying his own load. I’ll never forget the kind look on his face. It taught me to appreciate kindness wherever and from whomever I find it.”