Human Connection: Living in a city that allows me to walk instead of drive, I am witness to human interaction, or as is too often the case, lack of human interaction. Urban living is conducive for getting wrapped up in our own world and disconnected from those around us. It is more true than not that we evade eye contact, refrain from smiling at one another; simply put we fail to notice one another. We fail to notice the pedestrian in the crosswalk, the cyclist approaching in the bike lane, the “no smoking” sign at the park. What will it take to look the homeless in the eye as we walk past them on the park bench? Smile at the elderly man walking alone on his way home from the grocery store? The mentally ill woman mumbling obscenities to the voice in her head? Why are we so content to hide behind the music flowing from our headphones, disconnected from the sounds of our beautiful city? Or are we? I contend that there is a disconnectedness in our lives, an underlying sadness, the only cure? Connectedness.
Personally, I have been the one failing to notice, the one holding back my smile and the one completely disconnected to what is my life. Though I have gone through periods when I have taken intentional steps to notice, and what a joy I experienced in those moments. In those moments I made a choice to be an active participant in my life.
A year ago I took the first step towards a life where I intentionally connect with others on a daily basis. I began learning the names of the small business owners, of my neighbors and those who live and work in my neighborhood. My life will never be the same.
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein
This is my task friends, new and old. What are we afraid of? Take one step. Smile more. Look at passerby’s in the eye. Walk more. Engage in your neighborhood and in your life. And as you do share what you experience. For I have no doubt that these small steps, collectively, can transform our world, one human connection at a time.
Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.
Yours truly, The Delightfully Urban Blogger!