Defensiveness kills connection

Shrinking myself as much as I could I squeezed my way down the aisle of a crowded train looking for my reserved seat.

I was tired, a little hungry and not really in the mood to talk. But it looked as though I would be sharing my seat with a middle-aged gentleman, wearing what looked like a very expensive suit. I was wearing my dirty dog walking boots, with messy hair & a scarf I bought at a charity shop for a pound.  Feeling slightly self-conscious I awkwardly sat down.

Soon a conversation started between the gentleman and myself and to no real surprise he told he was a lawyer from London. I was wary and reserved at first – admittedly this was due to the fact I had read too many books saying most lawyers are sociopath’s or narcissists – cue the paranoia!

In that 2 hour journey we exchanged so much about our lives, about love, divorce, bereavement, children, pets…. although we seemed like chalk and cheese, we in fact had a lot in common. We both laughed a lot and the chuckled conversations seemed to spread to the retired couple sitting in front of us. They then shared their stories of travels and how they had only been in Rome that very morning. The strong viking looking man, sitting to the side of us also joined in. Telling us how he had a busy week away from his family and was happy to be returning home. Then to my surprise another two women, a few seats down, giggling away and who kindly said I had an infectious laugh.

Before long a group of strangers were all in engaged in conversation. Something had shifted; we all seemed to have vibrated onto the same frequency of openness.  Which felt entirely right.

Saying my good byes, I stepped off the train and realised I haven’t eaten my sandwich. I was buzzing with so much warmth I forgot I was even hungry. Walking to my car while stuffing my very late (it was now dinner) lunch into my mouth a wave of something, exhilaration maybe, came over me.

 

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It was a bit like that feeling you get when you fall in love, like you’re transported to some other realm of consciousness. Your body feels light and every day spaces, like train stations on damp afternoons, take on some kind of enchantment. Everything feels magical, connected and blissful.

“Defensiveness kills connection. Curiosity deepens it”

How wonderful it feels when we decide to give to people, when we decide to open our heart and allow space for them to open theirs.

There was so much abundance radiating from that small carriage. What started out, for most of us I’m sure, as the usual sealed envelopes that we carry with us for protection, gradually became unstuck.

And that’s when the mundane become exotic.

~ Namaste ~

 

 

 


Barcelona

I stepped inside its colossal belly with reverential care – my mouth fell with admiration. I was not the only person left speech-less, the group of tourists behind me, who previously were yabbering loudly to be heard over the pandemonium of the city, also subsumed.

I hugged my best friends arm and pulled him tightly against my clammy dress. I stood still, apart from my eyes darting to every corner, desperately trying to absorb all the intricate details that were laden upon every pillar, wall, floor and ceiling.

The sweltering sun penetrated through the towering stain glass windows, rippling its heat into the church. Rose gold, turquoise, jade and indigo flirted with the gigantic pillars that stood erected, like a labyrinth of pastel candy sticks dancing in the light.

I am not a religious person but I felt a flicker of something within me that day. Maybe it was the Christ on the Cross, suspended above our heads under a umbrella of heavy gold, that looked like a parachute descending from heaven.

Or maybe it was the depiction of Saints, that were mounted high up, almost on the heads of the pillars, that from the ground looked like bright hard boiled sweets, with black inscriptions scribbled over them.

Or maybe, it was the magnificent construction and genus of configuration that felt so ‘God like’, all assembled so extraordinary; that it left everyone of its visitors astonished that such splendour could be man-made.

Whatever it was, I felt it. Along with a tremendous amount of gratitude for my dear friend, who bought me all the way to Sagrada Família.

 

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*Footer photo by Claudio Testa*