Recently, I hosted focus groups for a client that wanted to learn what the market could bear, and what consumers are looking for. The answers were surprising. The company assumed certain things about their business focus, while potential customers were looking at it a whole different way.

Isn’t this the theme in all relationships? Not just business. At home, in the workplace, among friends, everywhere we go. I think one thing, you think another. How do we ever come together?

Of course, we do. Somehow we bridge the gap. Or we do our best to muster through to a workable resolution.

Are we ultimately alone, though? Braving the harsh winds and the echoes in solitary fashion?

If you think about it, every problem we face arises from interaction with others. Mismatching assumptions, conflicting efforts, ego stand-offs.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that, without other people, there would be no commerce, no love, no hate, no fulfillment, no exquisite enthusiasm.

So what’s the answer?

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ― Herman Melville

“This time when we kiss, I feel it in the pit of my stomach, I feel it in my heart. And I realize love isn’t about sex. It’s about connection.” ― Ellen Hopkins

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” ― John Lennon

Life is to be lived in concert with others. The very fabric of living comes from the intersection of souls, of efforts, of paths colliding, of people connecting. It is the weave of this lifetime to live among others and understand their words, and their hearts.

So our job, then, is to listen carefully and look full-on into the eyes of another. To be present. To stop and ponder and take into account the experiences, dreams, wanderings and frustrations of all the people we come into contact with. Or at least the ones we deem important.

Several years ago, I learned a new definition for love: universal relation rather than preferential attachment. Imagining what it must be like to walk in your shoes is the real definition of love – and coming from there, accessing that compassion and connection, before I interact with you.

The conditional kind comes and goes with the wind.

It’s funny to think that we must learn how to let go of the ego and judgment in order to truly connect with another. Babies and children don’t have this impediment. They don’t see age or wrinkles or skin color or all the things that cause us to erect walls. If someone is kind, they respond in kind. If someone is not, they put up defenses and rightfully so.

I think even business would benefit from getting clear and operating from that space of consciousness. Meditation, daily, is a start. Not making the mistake of thinking we know what we are doing. Being open to suggestion and to the way things flow.

My client was so smart to do focus groups. They thought they knew but knew they didn’t quite. They made a grand effort to gather people and listen carefully. It’s a skill, an art, a strength.

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