The other day, my therapist texted me to ask if I could reschedule my appointment with her because she was having child care issues.
It worked out, and I was able to come at one of the other times she was available.
She sent me back a text message that said “Thank you! I want to acknowledge my gratefulness and your flexibility again”
I immediately started to reply with something quick and generic, like “No worries, I know how it is to have a child”
That would have been a perfectly fine response. There’s nothing wrong with it at all.
And I would have totally missed the gift the she had offered me.
Something made me pause and reflect more deeply on her words. She acknowledged me. She saw who I was being in that moment. She honored the part of me that does understand that life happens, and is more than willing to be gracious in the face of that when I am able to.
And on top of that, she fucking thanked me for bringing that aspect of myself to our relationship!
Wow… she had gifted me with this beautiful reflection of myself and the impact I had on her. She had handed me this gorgeous package wrapped exquisitely that she had chosen JUST FOR ME… and I almost did not accept it.
How often do we do this in life? Skip a moment of connection or intimacy with someone we know ( or even someone we don’t ) because we are too tired, overwhelmed or so used to engaging others with our habitual responses?
I believe there is an even deeper truth in why we do this: True connection involves touching a place in ourselves that often feels tender, raw and endless. We are so used to either not having it or pretending like we don’t need it that the moment it’s offered, we turn away, It’s too much
It’s almost like living in a desert and fearing that if we have even one drop of water that we will never be able to stop drinking.
Can we stop for a minute and admit ( if only to ourselves) that we are actually parched?
Then, and only them, will we be able to start opening to all of the oasis’ that are available to us.
A smile from a stranger directed only at YOU because something in you touched something in them and evoked that response.
A compliment from a friend speaking to something they love or admire about YOU. A gift that maybe nobody else but you possesses, or if they do, they don’t offer it exactly like you.
A picture drawn for you from the heart of a child using colors and images that only YOU love.
I believe there is an epidemic of loneliness in this culture today. I also believe that the anecdote to this is connection. And if you really pay attention to the world around you, there is ample opportunity for these moments of relatedness throughout your day.
So I say, drink, friends. Drink up. There is nourishment all around.
How do you prevent yourself from seeing the gifts others offer you?
What would change for you if you accepted them?