This weekend I attended a conference and it was arguably the best conference I’ve attended. And not really because of the content of the sessions, which was excellent And also not really due to the people I met there, who were wonderful. I think it was me.
Let’s back up a bit first. Lately, I’ve been working on working on, for lack of a better description, changing my view of and how I interact with the world. To ignore all the mental distractions, the constant chatter in my brain, the automatic negative reaction to things. To achieve a focus on the moment, the now, but also be aware of that focus and what I am thinking and feeling. This is right in line with mindfulness. Mindfulness. It’s amazing. Tell your friends.
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone, maybe discussing some heated topic, and you’re so anxious to get your words out and respond that you don’t even hear (or listen to, for that matter) what the person is saying?
Yeah. That. I was that person.
I’ve come to realize that when I shut the hell up (in my chattering brain) and listen to what the person says, look them in the eye, given the 100% of my attention and truly appreciate what they are saying, that I seem to come out of it enjoying it more.
Oh, and it’s not easy to look someone in the eye. Really. Go through your day and see how often you really look at someone. And I’m not talking about all creepy stare at them and never look away. And I’m also not talking about glancing at their eye every now and then, but when they are talking to use it to show that you are paying attention.
That is a powerful thing. It shows respect and understanding. Even if you dont agree with the person, you can do this. I do this now. I found that with some effort that I can do it, with men or women, people who annoy me or people I honestly love. Doesn’t matter. And it’s amazing.
One evening, I met someone and we started talking, just chatting at the bar. We found we had something in common, something had happened to both of us that changed our lives. And I was able to listen and connect with this person. Setting aside all the distractions in the restaurant (and there were quite a few) and I truly and honestly enjoyed talking to this person and it really set the night off well.
Obviously this didn’t happen to everyone I met over the course of the weekend, but I found myself open to it and I like to think that I made some very good friends this weekend.
All through the conference, I was walking around with this stupid smile on my face. Walking up and talking to total strangers. This may sound like I’m making it out as being so easy, but it’s taken me a long time to get here. Years. Decades, maybe.
So that’s it. This is what life is all about. You want the meaning of life. This is it. Honest connections with people. Bringing us closer using the things that we have in common rather than how we are different. Finally, there was this tweet that came across last week. It’s relevant. :)
[tweet //twitter.com/jergason/status/254641697328336897 align=’center’]