Twenty years ago, my mode of communication to call up and down the coast of the Mexican Caribbean was a marine radio. There were no phones. I drove to people’s houses if I wanted to talk to them and we had conversations because we had not seen each other in days, weeks or sometimes months. I left notes on the door if no one was home. Once a month, I made a collect call to the good ol’ US of A to let my parents know I was still alive.
Three years later, I stood huddled around a CRT screen at a “caseta” (a room with public phones) watching the internet immerge and I remember how amazed I was at how the green characters on the screen almost suddenly appeared on another computer as an “email”. This new thing called the internet made electronic messaging, information and business all happen for me. I learned to write web pages to give information to people about this area I loved, the Riviera Maya. It started as a hand full of web pages and daily emails, driving to Tulum each day to connect to a blessed phone line.
At lightning speed, a few web pages turned into hundreds and I spent my days answering people’s questions and connecting with them. A world of communication that spanned the globe allowed all of us to touch one another.
Communication now is a status update on Facebook, 140 characters on twitter, text messages by phone, no need to hear a voice or be heard. We send out messages that many can see, but is anyone listening?
My profession is communications, yet I can sometimes feel alone in this connected world as perhaps others do. The geek in me loves the speed, ease and technology of communication. However, what I am trying to do now, when I do connect with someone (especially if it is face to face) is to be present and look at them in the eyes and smile from my heart.
I have used the electronic gadgets as my shield to protect myself from allowing people to get too close.
Yet ironically, I want nothing more than to be able to be authentic, open and truly be me around others.
My question to you….are the messages that you’re sending just part of the millions of other messages floating around in an electronic sea in hopes of making a connection with someone?
She wouldn’t accept my offer of a bracelet.
She wouldn’t let me make a crown for her.
She refused to come closer.
She was one of the 200 or so students in one of the orphanages that my clown group visited.
There I was sitting on a step, making crowns from pipe cleaners. The kids were lined up for their crowns….girls, boys, small, big, some young and some older.
I am not sure when she decided to come closer, but there she was and ready for a crown.
I crafted her crown carefully and with an extra dose of gratitude for trusting that I would not harm her.
When the pipe cleaners were finished, I started making beaded bracelets for everyone. I made hers first and she carefully selected her beads from the small baggies that sat precipitously on my lap. As the kids realized that something new was being given, they quickly swarmed and began demanding their bracelet. She became my helper and as kids requested the color of beads, “rojo, verde, azul, blanco”. She quietly and efficiently fished the correct bead from the baggie and gave it to me to thread on the multi-colored string.
I hugged her and said, “Adios” and thanked her for her help. She smiled and her eyes twinkled.
The magic of this connection was that she did not know if she cared to connect or even if she trusted me. I did not base my success that morning on whether or not she would accept my gifts. I was there, loving and giving without thought as to what her role should or ought to be.
Should she be grateful that I had come all the way from America to visit that orphanage?
Should she care that I had spent money on these pipe cleaners and the baggie of beads?
Her only job was to be herself.
My job was to be loving and present and joyful.
We both did our jobs well.
Now if only I can remember to practice this giving of myself in a pure and unattached way. A way that says, I am here for you, if you’d like to come closer.
A way that allows me to KNOW that chasing you or begging you or demanding of you to be a certain way is just unacceptable.
A way that tells me you are responsible for whom and what you accept from me.
A way that shows me to stay true to me and allow you to stay true to you and hope that in our separate trueness we can still share love, peace and harmony.
Thanks Olga, for these big lessons.
I will hold your smile in my heart forever.
May you be well.
May you be happy.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be free.
Love and light,
Give to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your support will be used towards covering the costs of the free one-day or two-day, in-person training the ILF Team provides to the advocates at domestic violence organizations across the United States. Your support has already paid for training in Texas, Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Illinois.