“We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Growing up with my six siblings, the phrase we often heard from my mom as we navigated various life circumstances, was “How do you think that makes him (or her) feel?”
Whether it was extending kindness to the harried checker at the grocery store, stopping to share a friendly word with the overworked postman or offering food to the immigrant family of eleven we met through my father’s work—my parents were always challenging us to feel what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes, and ultimately to feel how connected we all are.
Last Saturday, I attended defensive driving for a speeding ticket. While sitting in a room with men and women of all ages from all walks of life, I challenged myself to find our sameness. I’m sure we shared many things, but in the moment, our strongest bond was that we all wanted to be somewhere else rather than sitting in this classroom on a Saturday (but we made the best of it!).
This past week my son and I volunteered at a local shelter preparing and serving a delicious meal to hundreds of homeless people. When we left at the end of our shift and walked through the long line of people still waiting for food, my son and I talked about what we all have in common: enjoyment and nourishment through lovingly prepared food.
On Thanksgiving morning, my husband son and I headed down to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and hiked along the banks of the rushing waters through the quiet green paths—nodding hello to the occasional fellow hiker and feeling our kinship through our obvious appreciation for nature.
And during this past holiday, as we gathered with my extended family for our holiday meal—acknowledging our various food and lifestyle preferences—it was clear what we all desired: meaningful connection with one another.
Having coached thousands of men and women from all life stages and socioeconomic backgrounds– including the JC Penney salesman who made $8/hour and the 300K/year software executive—I have witnessed people’s collective and deepest longing: to be heard, to know they matter, to make a difference and to feel recognized for their contributions. (I’ve also seen this in our hundreds of Personal Renewal Groups.)
I know in every fiber of my being that we’re much more connected than any of us realize.
Have you heard the analogy that we’re all droplets in the ocean–we just don’t remember that collectively we are the ocean?
I’m going to keep challenging myself on a regular basis to seek out our sameness, our connectedness—even in the most bizarre, uncomfortable or unlikely circumstances.
And, I’m going to do my best to remember that even though our surfboards might look a little different, we’re all cresting and falling in the same sea.
AN INVITATION: Interested in experiencing meaningful connection with others and tapping into the power of self-care? Learn how you can join or become trained to lead a self-renewal circle for women. Our introductory offer for PRG Facilitator Training ends Dec. 1. And, view all upcoming events here.
Also, visit Live Inside Out to listen to our Nov. 17th Live Inside Out class on Building a Support System or sign up to receive weekly tips on how to live more intentionally through our Live Inside Out Facebook Community.
The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.
Video: Renee Peterson Trudeau. The Gulf of Mexico, spring 2009.