We live in challenging times. In fact we live in a world that is divided, is full of greed and fear. In fact some may say it is broken. The world that we live in is not just made of the outside world, the natural world around us. It is made up of human connections and relationships. It is made up of you and me and a multitude of other interactions that intertwine and bounce off each other every single day.
As passengers on this journey called life, it is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t cause problems that could be avoided. It is our responsibility as both human beings and as a set of inter-connections to make sure that we are bound to both the world around us and its occupants with kindness and compassion. Today was just one of those days.
This morning I was presented with a choice that made me think about not only my own actions but how important ‘the other’ is.
I was walking Moss (the family dog) down the field, as I do many mornings and it was a lovely morning. Very peaceful and quiet. A perfect morning for some ‘me time’. I enjoy the morning walk (don’t tell my wife as she may expect more of it) and especially the solitude. I enjoy the opportunity to be with myself, my own mind and the nature that surrounds the area where I live.
More often than not I choose the least trodden route, just to avoid being disturbed. I will select a path in order to reduce the risk of unnecessary interactions. I see this as ‘my’ time and today was no different, well at the start.
I was particularly enjoying the early morning sun when I came across a neighbour of mine with her two dogs. She was also out walking and the way we bumped into each other there was little choice but to acknowledge her with more than the standard gentle nod. I knew instantly that she was going to walk towards the large area that all dog walkers gravitate to and I knew that there was no other off shoot path that could be taken to get there. One path, two walkers and three dogs.
There was little choice, no option but to walk with her. I couldn’t find any other excuse not to walk her direction and I felt the ‘pang’ of annoyance rise as I felt that my quiet walk was to be ruined.
We made our way to what is called ‘The Fields’ and that is where the magic occurred. Now before any minds start racing, this was the magic of connection. The connection of human-kind and we were setting aside time to simply engage.
We spent the next 30 minutes walking round and round in circles, dogs off somewhere causing havoc. We were talking about respective families, politics and careers. We talked about the weather, the other walkers and how we felt about a plethora of other topics. Too many fleeting ‘interactions’ to remember, but resonant enough to make a profound change in my mind-set.
People are like me. I am like them. We are individuals, yet we are connected. We are part of ‘a whole’ that can’t be denied and I had given the ‘essence of connection’ a chance to make its presence know. I allowed the moment to breathe and the flow of communication to transmit across time and space.
I am grateful for her time and for my own presence of mind to not allow frustration turn into irritation and ultimately a disconnection from myself and ‘the other’. It is an important lesson and one that I think in today’s world many people can learn from.