The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

~Frederick Buechner~

We are a week away from our American Thanksgiving. The stores are already decked out with holiday decorations, and the Christmas movie schedule is in full swing.  Everything about this time of year focuses on connection.

But we live in a world that seems more disconnected than ever.  Divided opinions and beliefs are part of it, no doubt.  But what about the choices we make to keep people at a distance?  Do you text instead of call?  Do you replace personal connections with digital ones because it is easier?  I know I’ve made those choices, especially when things are tough.  It’s easier to wall yourself off, rather than allow people to see the mess that is NOT shared on your Instagram or Facebook page.

I’m not saying that online connections are not valuable.  Our entire global JOLT family is online, and it is beautiful.

But we are meant to connect on a personal level as well.  If you look at numerous studies around the globe, loneliness is on the rise.  It was worrisome pre-pandemic and now has only grown.

Meaning, we can be “connected” to friends all over the world, but still, be sitting alone with our hardships.

That’s what I’m thinking about today.  How can we connect on a level that allows us to truly see each other?

I received the answer at a recent retreat with Suzanne Giesemann at The Art ofLiving Center in Boone, North Carolina.  The entire weekend was incredibly inspiring.  But one exercise truly spoke to me.  Our group stood in lines across from each other.  Slowly we moved from person to person, holding our hands to our hearts. We looked directly into our partner’s eyes and simply said, “I see you.”

It was remarkable and quite emotional.  Some people could hold eye contact, while others looked away.  We all arrived there at different points in our journey.  Some were ready, and some were hesitant but willing to try.

To be seen.  It’s truly what we long for, and that feeling cannot be duplicated online. 

We want to be seen and accepted just as we are.  Perfectly Imperfect, beautiful but a little broken, willing to love and be loved without condition. 

The tough part with that deep connection?  It requires courage, to look that person in the eye, and let them see the true, unedited, filter-free self.  The truth is, not everyone will get you.  But the people that matter will, and that’s worth the risk.

And your willingness will inspire others to take the leap with you.

Otherwise, what’s the point?  We are here for a reason, but we must be willing to step forward to find that purpose. 

So, this holiday season, let yourself be seen and take the time to connect with people on a personal level.  Look into their eyes, and without words, show them “I see you.”

Take a moment with that cashier at your local grocery store or restaurant to pause, make eye contact, and say thank you.  Stop for a chat with your neighbor. Bring some cookies to someone special. 

Listen to truly understand.  Invest time to reconnect with friends you may have lost touch with since the pandemic. Find the common ground in our collective humanity. 

Gestures that may seem small to you can impact someone for their lifetime.  Think about that.  Your kindness can be the healing balm that someone needs. You have that power.

Give the gift of being present.  No wrapping required.

I see you.  And I’m so grateful you are a member of our JOLT family. 

With love and gratitude,