I’ve been on vacation for the past month, traveling around the world to a variety of countries. Each was beautiful in its own right with its own culture and customs. In addition to sightseeing I spent a lot of time people watching. I found myself wondering about the lives of the people who I met, such as:

  • bon-odori-861632_1920The 30-ish year old woman in Thailand who peddled food, drinks and small knick knacks from her boat on one of the canals
  • The young children in Japan, dressed in traditional attire to receive a Shinto blessing at a local shrine
  • The shaman in Mexico who excitedly showed me a recently discovered cave that had been used for Mayan ceremonies many centuries ago
  • The breast-cancer survivor I met in Greece who was celebrating two years without cancer
  • The young man sitting in the streets of Venice, sitting with his head bowed, silently asking for a handout
  • The old man praying devoutly in a church in Salisbury, England

Each was dealing with the realities of his or her life. As much as I tried to put myself in their shoes and see the world from their perspective, I realized that I would never be able to, since we are all unique beings that perceive and respond to life and its experiences in our own individual way.

However, I realized that it doesn’t mean that we cannot connect with another person. As humans, we all share the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and a desire to be loved and accepted as who we are. We want our loved ones to have the best life possible. We stop to notice and appreciate beauty – however it is that we define it.

Connection comes through compassion and empathy, the foundations of love. Even a smile or nod can help us to connect with another, and open the door for deeper understanding between two individuals. And so I connected:

  • I shared a laugh with the woman in Thailand
  • I played a quick game of peek-a-boo with one of children in Japan
  • I matched the shaman’s excitement about the cave, and learned more about an indigenous culture
  • I talked with the young man in Venice about his life…and gave him a few meals
  • I acknowledged the old man with a polite nod and smile, which was reciprocated.

How do you connect with another?

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