I looked at over 2 million people before I found myself.

by | 22nd January, 2014 | being present, love, thoughts on life

It’s lovely to be back from our summer holiday. I mean that in more ways than one. It’s simply terrific to be home and back at my desk. We were grateful to have spent a very memorable Christmas in New York City. It was a once in a lifetime event, and a memory I will treasure as special time with my children and husband. I was excited we were able to show the boys one of the largest cities in the world. However, it wasn’t all carols and cavorting about town!

There are 8.3 million people who live in New York City, and over 50 million tourists visiting throughout the year. I reckon I personally walked past, bumped into, looked at or spoke to about 2 million of them during our stay. The place was jam-packed!

TS 2013 1There is nothing more precious than to be given the opportunity to see yourself in the eyes of others, and I realise now that the universe provided me with this trip so that I could learn more about myself whilst in the company of so many strangers. It was a revelation to me to notice that I felt  disconnected from myself amongst so many  people. Please don’t think that I didn’t enjoy the trip, I most certainly did, but it took a visit to the other side of the world for me to appreciate the person I am becoming.

New York City is filled with things – lots of things, and the USA is a model of consumerism at its finest. The more things we saw, the more I realised that none of them were important. All of them were interesting, but none were important. What I valued most was looking at these things with my family. Sharing a moment. I realised I didn’t actually need to be anywhere to make the moment special, I just had to be present to them. At an intellectual level I have always known this to be true, but I needed to provide my ego with this lesson. Thank you bustling New York City for the chance to truly learn this from the inside out.

thingsIt was ironic that in a city of millions it is easy to feel so alone. Those who have read some of my earlier posts know that I believe we are all connected (you can read more about this here if interested), however when I’m too busy gazing outwards; rushing to get somewhere; or lost on a crowded street corner, my sense of connection weakens. I spent so much time worrying about where we had to get to, and how we would get there that I missed many of the moments I was already in. Once again, on an intellectual level I know I do this quite often in a day, regardless of the country I happen to be in. However, The Big Apple provided me with the gift to see how amplified this becomes when there are so many connection opportunities lost with steps taken along a city block. I’m proud to say I have arrived home a deliberately slower person.

Why are connections so important in life? Because they provide soul food. Connections can validate our sense of self, they help us to grow, and they are a universal elixir when times are tough. There is something magical and healing about connecting with others. The more we give out – an unexpected smile, a cuppa with friends, a compliment to a stranger, the more fulfilled we feel within. The more fulfilled we are, the greater the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Our trip taught me that I can be in the busiest city in the world, surrounded by thousands of people (yes, thousands!) but that doesn’t guarantee strong connections with others. It’s up to me to seek out this soul food. To make the time to deliberately reach out to others. Otherwise I risk feeling alone in a sea of people. More about this in another post. In the meantime, I hope you had a fabulous holiday season and I can’t wait to continue our journey together throughout 2014. Thanks so much for giving me the gift of your time, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. xx