Earlier this week, I was feeling depleted of energy. I’d been placing a lot of energy into my work and seemed to have met a dead-end with a project I was working on, all the while knowing that what I had written wasn’t the final product and that I’d have to dig deeper. There were interruptions to my flow and the weekend hadn’t been particularly relaxing either. Finishing work, I felt worn out, utterly exhausted and was suffering from a throbbing headache. I needed to sleep. I needed to find energy.
As I walked home from the local train station, two young girls with beautiful flame red hair (presumably sisters) were passing in the opposite direction. One was happily walking along and the other was carefully pedalling her bike. I smiled to greet them, when the girl on the bike said, “Hello! Have a nice day!”
“You too!” I replied.
It was such a short interaction and yet that heartfelt hello seemed to awaken me and give me back some of the energy that I had been missing all day and could not even find in meditative silence.
It made me think about human interactions. No matter how small the interaction, we continue to pass energy from one person to the next, energising one another. It also made me think of how we have lost some of that positive exchange of energy in recent years and noticeably more in cities. What once were opportunities to interact and perhaps even learn new things has been replaced by keeping to ourselves or living in our own world through our mobile phones.
I once enjoyed a meal with my partner when on holiday in Sri Lanka. Near to us was a table of fifteen friends. For the entire meal they barely looked at one another, focusing instead on the contents of their phones. This is probably an extreme example, but shocking nonetheless that an entire dinner time lasting over an hour had been spent with these group of friends not even exchanging a word.
Some of the most energising conversations can be ones that were never planned. I love attending conferences and usually go alone, not knowing who I will meet there. More often than not, I will end up connecting with a fellow attendee, talking about the contents of the day and sharing viewpoints on the various topics. Even if we have differing views, the exchange is refreshing. I begin to learn more, broaden my understanding, strengthen my existing beliefs or challenge them. Connecting with others is fundamental to our growth and wellbeing.
I feel we should share more when we have something positive to say. Don’t underestimate the power of saying something positive (or negative) to another person. I once complimented a stranger on her Super Mario Vans shoes – they were spectacular. Sat opposite her on the tube to work, I couldn’t resist telling her what great shoes she had. Up until that point she had been sitting as serious- faced as all the other morning London commuters, but she immediately broke into a smile upon the compliment and we both began chatting. It’s a shame that in certain areas of the world, chatting to others in your community or vicinity isn’t deemed the norm.
One example of more widespread positive exchanges between strangers that I can think of is my recent trip to Aberdeen. I was blown away by the smiles and chatter from the cashiers at the supermarket and the welcoming hellos from fellow shoppers. Even the pace of walking was slower; people were clearly enjoying their time rather than always rushing to be somewhere or to do something else. The energy I felt was so pleasant. I found myself thinking that if more places had that type of atmosphere, perhaps people would feel happier, more connected and less lonely. Depression is a real problem within society. Whilst some do require medication due to chemical imbalances, others end up requiring medical support that I feel could be avoided if communities were more welcoming and had a sense of collaboration. I know at a long period of time when I suffered from quite severe depression, this certainly would have helped.
Some random thoughts for the day, but I really hope that this encourages everyone to share a smile, or perhaps even a heartfelt ‘Hello’. 🙂