Be Fully Alive
By Patti Wood
Each day I look at the little black and tan furry face of my dog Bo as I say, "Walk outside?" and watch him grin. Yes, lips pulled back, squinty eyed, he smiles. Then his whole body wiggles and fills with glee as he leaps and dances around me. Once the door opens he walks beside me, nose sniffing and tail wagging enjoying each grassy smell, happy for each fellow dog, or child who wants to pet him. He is in the moment, as if this walk were the first walk, the only walk, the best walk ever, not the walk we take each day, not the walk we have taken for years. Being with him, watching his body language, I feel what he is feeling. We were connected in joy.
Yesterday in line at the grocery store when the cashier said, "How are you?" I noticed she seemed stressed. I told her I was great and then, because I was not distracted by my cell phone or concerned about getting home in traffic, I looked her in the eye and smiled and asked about her day. Her hand froze in midair and she tilted her head obviously surprised that I should ask and then smiled a true sweet smile and said, "I am doing well." And we in that few seconds we were connected and real.
Recently my good friend's daughters did a little show for me; a medley of songs, some made up on the spot and little dance routines. Morgan's chin went up and her voice got louder and Madison stood on tip toe, her little hands turned palms out. They looked at me beaming and their hearts opened as they each realized they had my full and rapt attention. We were connected in our happiness.
A few weeks ago I was talking to someone about movies. I said, "I don't like all of Will Ferrell's movies, but there is a movie..." and I looked into my new friends eyes and raised my eyebrows as I searched my mind for the title. He looked into my eyes, raised his brows and said, "Stranger than Fiction" and I nodded and exclaimed, "Yes, and there is a scene in it that is amazing..." and my chest lifted up and my heart opened remembering the vulnerability of that scene. My friend smiled and opened too and he said "The guitar scene" and I nodded and smiled as did he. Then our voices and breathing and gestures sped up and matched one another as we listened to each other share what made that scene wonderful. We were absolutely in the moment connected. We "got" each other.
So many times we are distracted, by to do's and TV shows, by our own worries and wants, that we ignore the being right there in front of us. We become too weary, and so we close down, become automatic. We think if we push through the day, ignore this or that person, and get quickly through this interaction, we can avoid any pain, that at the end of the day we will have some peace. I know that noticing someone's body language gives you so many gifts. By keeping you fully engaged, authentic and connected you share the pain of others and you share their joy.
So today, choose some being, be it a child, sweetie, coworker or spotted pet and notice them, feel what they are feeling, be present with them and fully and completely alive.
Learn to more fully connect and understand people with Patti's program on Caring Concern (great for hospitals, medical offices, physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, dentists and any medical practitioner looking to optimize communication with his or her patients):
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