I was at my local gym last week and chatting it up with a fabulous lady that happens to live in my hood. Some say that if I worked all my body parts like I exercise the jaw, I would be a competitive bodybuilder. This neighbor, Dana, has lived about five doors away for eighteen years. I knew that she had been to my Mom’s 4th of July party so the conversation began with her thoughts about the fiesta.
She said, “I had a really good time but do not really know your mom very well.”
I responded, “Dana, even though we live close and see each other on a regular basis, you really do not know much about me.”
Her immediate reaction was spoken with one squinched eye almost touching her raised cheek and the other eye wide open. Her face stiffness faded as she nodded affirmatively and replied, “I have many judgments about you based on surface level stuff like how you keep your yard. I know that you are single but not a clue as to why. I know you are retired but not sure if you are a drug kingpin or stock market genius.”
With laughter I stated, “Isn’t is funny that your entire perception of me could be shattered if I let my yard go to weeds. In one season, your self-programmed illusion of me would shift to a new narrative created in your own mind.”
Take a moment to think about the people that are close to you. Ask yourself what you really know about those people. Next time you have an opportunity to interact, go deep and start a conversation that will penetrate the surface level veneers. Ask about life philosophy, purpose, mistakes, accomplishments, struggles, regrets, favorite songs, dreams, and feelings about the unexplainable. If you stay on the surface level of life, you go up and down with each wave. Like an untethered buoy in the middle of an ocean.
After you have developed your own set of questions for others, take some time to ask the same questions to yourself. As they say in yoga, drop-in to yourself and learn something. Step into the deep end and you will find your true anchor.