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.)

dare to be different

On the Mic

10:00 am, day before the break. A little girl, longer-in-the-back bob hair, white knee socks pulled up around her plump calves. Green jumper dress with the criss cross candy canes on the front. White blouse with a ruffled collar. Rows of kids sitting on the floor on lines, criss cross, looking up at me. It was the first grade Christmas program, Mrs. Bellamy had chosen me for the solo in “Jingle Bell Rock.” I stood, shaking, right up near the mic, stepped forward to belt out the bridge, clear and strong as I could: “what a bright time, it’s the right time to rock the night away…”

I’ve been singing and speaking into the mic for almost as long as I can remember. Solos, speaking parts, conference presentations, even karaoke. For me, it does not feel weird to be in front of the mic.

These days it’s in the press box at my daughter’s lacrosse games. It’s not a hard job, really. Just saying names for the rosters and goals, reading a few paragraphs. It doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just time and willingness to be there. Still, as several people have told me, no one else wants that job. No one.

What is it that people fear with the mic? My biggest fear is not remembering to turn it off (which has gotten me into a bit of trouble once or twice!) I’ve heard some say they’re nervous about reading names. As a person with an easy-to-mess-up name, I get that. I’ve heard every variation of my last name, both near misses and far-fetched. People giggle. But my daughter said people commented to her that “no one ever laughs at the way your mom says the names.” Her response: “My mom reads for a living.” I laughed. Touche from the daughter of a librarian who loves reading aloud.

Really, it was singing in many different languages as a little kid that gave me some comfort with unfamiliar words. I do hope I at least come close to the correct pronounciation!

I still don’t really know why people avoid the mic. For the time being, it’s what I can do to help the team.

Just a little wondering and wandering for your Wednesday.

perspective

One Stormy Night

A rumbling sound. A light flicker. I was awake. A loud thunder. More light flashes. All seemed to get quiet but I was already startled and stirred.

I lay idle. More flashes. Flickers of lights across the back windows. One side window. The other side window. Then all on the back windows lighting up like a Christmas light show.

Rumbles that shake the house. More thunder. Now I’m wide awake. The sound of rain is constant. Now I hear the clock ticking. I hear sirens in the distance. I wonder what has happened at this wee hour.

The thunder shifts to the distance but the length of rumbling thunder and loud booms within are ever so disturbing. The sound is just blah on many levels. It’s kept me awake far too long.

I try to fall asleep but the distant flickers and thunder are preventing a full restful state. Oh how I need my sleep to rejuvenate. I wonder how many others were bothered by the storm?

As an irony, the storm is not the worst I have endured in life yet it’s doing a good job keeping me awake.

Maybe life is shaking me in other ways and the storm is just how I’m relating to life’s stormy days.
Thoughts in the dark to ponder.