Friday, November 19, 2010

Intentional Gratitude

I believe that the energy of gratitude fills the empty spaces between us and strengthens the connection linking individuals thus creating a deeper sense of community. That energy is magnified when we are present and intent in the expression. Even worse; insincere or empty gratitude weakens our human connections.

How many times a day do we say “thank you” without realizing it? During a busy day, saying thank you to people is second nature; like exhaling. I suspect that if you don’t remember saying it, it couldn’t have meant all that much at the time. We float through our days in an emotional fog expressing a shallow, unmemorable sense of gratitude that demeans any verbal example of the gratitude we actually might be feeling.

I spend my days working with and around all kinds of people with whom I have reciprocal work relationships. All day, every day, most of us regularly interact with the people in our lives in symbiotic ways in all aspects of our lives; work, family, personal relationships, and more. In our relationships with the people we know and with those we’re merely crossing paths with, we have opportunities to express gratitude for numerous reasons. But if there’s no intention and depth to the gratitude, it doesn’t have the energy needed to fill the space.

And, yes, I believe that even the smallest generosities deserve intentional gratitude. So tomorrow; maybe even tonight, while you’re out and about in your world, in your home, in your office; and you have the occasion to say thanks to someone take the time to look them in the eye. Give the moment your full attention. Even if you’re just thanking a cashier at your local grocery store; be present and let the energy of gratitude flow from you into the person you’re interacting with and outward into the environment.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Magnetism or Gravity


Magnetism is the force that cause objects to be either drawn to or repelled toward each other. We all know how the opposing poles of magnets attract each other. That’s where the phrase “opposites attract” comes from. But that’s rooted in the behavior of positively or negatively charged iron or steel; not in humans. Feeling magnetically drawn to someone means also feeling magnetically repulsed, right? So why is it so good to feel magnetism? The idea that opposites attract seems a bit out of whack as applied to human interpersonal relationship; not considering sexuality which in the whole opposites attract mentality would have to be considered in a completely different manner.

What about gravity?

Now that’s something to consider. Gravity is the phenomenon in which objects with mass attract one another. Gravitation causes dispersed objects to join together. This makes more sense in human relations than magnetism. After all, gravitational pulls work to create satellites; symbiotic relationships. That just sounds better to me. It’s not magnetism that is responsible for keeping the planets in orbit around the sun; it’s gravity. It’s not magnetism that generates the waves in the ocean; it’s the gravitational pull of the moon. The earth and the moon; they’ve been together a long time, yes? The sun and the planets; they’ve been hanging out together for a while. Surely commitment is a factor.

I’d rather feel a gravitational pull toward someone than feel magnetically drawn because of the semantics of the words and because, by definition, words create meaning in our language and culture.

If we are pulled in one way or another, is it more gravity than magnetism? Sure, opposing ideals and personalities can find balance, but I don’t really see that as magnetic connection. That kind of attraction is a precarious thing; to say the least. Magnetism seems temporary and fleeting to me while the observable gravitational attractions around seem to have a bit more staying power.

Aren’t we all just satellites of each other anyway? Even from the tiniest atoms spinning around a nucleus, to the planets around the sun the gravitational pull is more consistent.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Through Portals; Humbled

Hovering midair and looking down on the world offers a beautiful perspective of geography and community. Rushing out over the Atlantic in the balmy Florida sky, the white foam of the crests of waves breaking dot the azure ocean and scatter the eye. Looking through a small portal, and under the wing, the coastline transforms slowly into a loosely tossed and rippled picnic blanket ocean floor visible in the shallows as we motor through the air. Massive freighter ships weighted by hundreds of containers each as big as a semi trailer seem from this height nothing more than flees on the hide of some great blue dog as they trudge along in pursuit of the next port. People in speed boats, sail boats and fishing boats meander about without a care in the world as we ascend through the cloud line, out of the muggy air, and into a comfortably cool cruising height.

The small window offers a glimpse of clouds from an angle that is other than earthbound. The tops of clouds look like thick morning fog lifting off the lake; or like snow-carpeted plains in the moments before golden sunshine breaks the blue dawn.

Descent back into the underbelly of heaven brings into the view through my portal shorelines vaguely familiar from viewing maps; harbors, capes, seaports and beaches all famously named. Moving overland like a giant seabird in search of a roost, the vision changes to neatly blocked and patterned expanses of earth that resemble a great green and brown patchwork blanket cut through with ribbons of roads and rivers.

To see communities from above is to look down on them as giants of long ago and to understand more fully than ever the fragility of our man-made world. Abandoned docks sinking into a river, parking lots nearly lost to the re-growth of grass and buildings once revered standing half-crumbled and turned to dust as the wilds take back what we so willfully captured and enslaved reveal without words the real power of nature.

Through portals, the world reveals herself as the true power and this small human is once again humbled.