adventure

City Sounds

Ah the sounds of the city. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the city without distractions to just soak in the sounds of the city.

It was a Monday morning. I don’t have an alarm set but I was awoken by the church bells. A very distinct sound. A sound I just had not heard in some time up close, early in the morning. Shortly after, the jack hammer started. Then the car traffic. The city was awake and so was I.

The city sounds are so very different from my home setting. I wake to birds chirping. I almost never hear a car pass at the time I rise. I definitely don’t hear jack hammers. What a difference on this Monday. I continue to hear the sounds of people in the hallway of my hotel in clusters. No sleeping in for this girl. Hammers are starting to bang. Leaf blowers are going full force. Air conditioning units are making sounds. I think I even hear the pipes flowing water in neighboring rooms. Large trucks are shifting gears in the roadway.

As the day turns into night the city sounds a bit different. The sounds of the horses on the cobblestone paths. The sounds of tourists navigating a ghostly tour. The sounds of a wedding taking place in the hotel. The cars passing by. The walkers giggling on the street as they go towards the ice cream shop.

The church bells continue to ring. As I focus on the sounds of the city I can’t ignore what lies beneath within the city. The poverty. The homeless community that appears in both day and night. Looking for something, anything. A side of life I again hadn’t seen in a while because Covid has kept me out of the city for the most part. My world is so small in comparison to what’s largely going on elsewhere. 

So much activity in the city today.

awareness, mental health

Universe Whispers

There are days when I feel the universe is whispering to me. Subtle little hints that I’m in the right place, at the right time with people who are meant to be in my path.

The path could be a connection at the grocery store. A person I meet through work. An interaction with a stranger. The person next to me on a plane ride. An attendee at an event I am hosting. The list goes on.

I spoke to a woman recently about an encounter with her child. A chance encounter at that. In my path for no other reason than chance. I knew neither mom nor daughter before this date. No common denominators. The paths crossed unexpectedly. The timing was right. Crisis averted.

Our chance meeting led to outcomes. Outcomes led to more interactions. Actions, smiles, cheerleading of sorts. The relationship may not blossom past this point but that is okay. The universe wanted a chance encounter at that moment. The rest will fall into place as it should be. Below is a message I received weeks later to confirm my universe whisper:

The impact made shows the importance of my timing. My active listening to know there was a need at the moment to be present for somebody aside from me. The importance is I was there when needed. A universe whisper of sorts. There are many examples I can think of yet this one rings true today. In the now. Everyone needs a pick me up from time to time and kindness matters. How you treat others will come back to you in time. Some call it karma. I call it fate.

I hope my post makes you think about how you treat others and how a chance meeting may be olive branch of life or even hope to get through tomorrow.

awareness

The Chance Encounter

I met a girl.

Her name was Val for short.

Life had her down on her luck.

Valentine was sad. Mascara running down her face from her bloodshot eyes. Disheveled attire. Jittery all around. I could see her emotional pain from head to toe.

She spilled some of her story. Sad to hear. She was ready for a fresh start. Fate brought us together. A chance interaction.

I listened. I didn’t pass judgment. I passed a smile or two. I thought about my recent journal entry I wrote challenging myself to meet new people this summer. I did just that. A chance encounter. As random as it gets. I made conversation. I listened. I learned.

Today I thought about my chance encounter when I sweated a heart at the gym. Made me reflect on Valentine. Hoping her days ahead were going to be on the upswing. May sound corny but I took the sweaty heart as a sign that our paths were meant to cross on a chance encounter. As random as the heart on my shirt made from sweat.

Before the final proof read on this post, I had another chance encounter. I was making a purchase off an online marketplace. I met a cool dude. His name was Eric. He had a husband. He collected interesting items. One of which I wanted!  An old timey outhouse. I’ve been fascinated with having an outhouse for yard art. I’ve been waiting for the best looking yet vintage one I could find.

Can’t wait to put it to use. To think my chance encounter led me straight to the crapper. What are the odds?

I love meeting new people. Hearing their stories. Living my best life includes chance encounters. Loving my day today and the randomness it involved. 

inspire, perspective

Curiosity

I remember an old saying of curiosity killed the cat. Yet I feel curiosity inspires so much learning.

I often tell people to listen with curiosity. Intentionally listening to others is important. Not in the nosy sense but rather In the loyal and trusting sense when dealing with human interactions.

Listening with curiosity when learning new things is smart. Traveling to new places, one should always listen with curiosity. Maybe it’s a restaurant review or even a tourist stop off the beaten path. Just listening to the sounds around you. Sounds could be peaceful in nature such as bird chirping, cow mooing amongst others. Sounds of a big city may tell a different story. Cars, trucks, buses or even trains are part of city sounds. Listen closely. Listen with a curious ear.

Staying curious in life has helped me so much. Asking why many times. Or maybe asking why not in other situations. Staying curious is a way of life for me.

Curiosity has inspired me many times and I’m sure it will in the future as well.

What are you curious about?

What will you do next to listen with curiosity?

Get inspired. I know I am just writing this.

perspective

We Interrupt This Program…

I had a conversation with a friend recently about active listening. I don’t remember how the topic came up, but I do know listening is a weakness for me. I am just bad at it. I find it very hard to focus at times. I have a restless mind. I can be easily distracted by the ping-ponging of things I want to check, need to do, or am just curious about. It’s a challenge for me to maintain eye contact and just focus on what other people are saying.

I’ve worked on this weakness several times in my adult life but eventually I stop paying attention. Well, this conversation with a friend brought it to the top of mind and I naturally started monitoring myself and how I behave in conversations.

Just in the first morning of paying attention I noticed that I interrupted people three different times. It happened twice at the gym and once at my job. This was in the span of a couple of hours.

First, at the gym, my coach was telling people something funny I said and I had to jump in and talk over her. Like she wasn’t saying it right, I guess. I don’t know.

Then at the end of class I wanted to give a friend something and they were in the middle of an informative conversation. So I stared at them and waited for them to stop talking so I could do what I needed to do. They did the right thing and ignored me so I just left pretty annoyed. Thinking back, what did I expect her to do?

Finally, the end of the school year takes interruptions to a whole new level. I don’t have a work partner to help manage them this year and my personal workload has increased as well. Time is always on my mind. I try to stay positive but I am sure people can read my frustrations in my body and voice. When colleagues take a long time to tell me what they want and I think I already know what they’re going to say, I jump in and finish their request for them.

Sigh. Here’s what I said to myself after this realization:

Seriously, what the heck?!?!? Interrupting over and over again? Geez. That’s pretty obnoxious.

It truly is. I know that I hate being interrupted and here I am doing it to people. And often.

It makes me think of the book I am currently reading, Ego is the Enemy. The need to jump in and tell my version of the story, add my details, tell someone what I need to say, or speed things up is ego jumping in. My time is more important. My version is better. My needs take priority. My life is always the breaking news. Me, me, me. What am I losing by not listening better? If I claim to care about others, listening is a big part of that.

It’s embarrassing to admit all of this but sharing it can start me on the path to improving it (again.)