It’s a universal custom. One that needs no explanation. It transcends language. Whatever the location. Whatever the quality of establishment. We simply know what to do.
And yet, there is always a card explaining.
Hang them up and use them again. On the floor and they will be replaced.
The card not only informs us of the required positioning for laundering, but helpfully reminds us of our green credentials by complying. We have done our bit for the planet, we are energy efficient and we can feel good.
You probably knew that though, before I said it. Up to reuse, down to be replaced.
What if emotions were like this too?
When we’ve done with an emotion, we could hang it up to be used again. Emotions tidied away on the rail. Folded neatly and shelved for the next time they are demanded. Hung with care on the hook. Drying, ready to be doused in human interaction once more, as needed.
If we didn’t want them again, or needed replacements, we could discard them on the floor, willy-nilly. Cast them asunder as we go about our business. Drop them where we stand. Pile them up, like a well formed trip hazard. Toss them recklessly, in heaps of soggy emotions of various size and shape.
Oh hang on. We already do.
Flashing amber lights are a familiar sign of the need to proceed with caution.
On the roads at junctions, near schools, at points for pedestrians to cross, in roadworks. On the back or top of vehicles, as warnings or indications of intended direction. At building sites, airports, stations.
What a shame we don’t have them at the junctions and intersections between human beings. Alerts to slow down, stop, be wary, proceed with caution.
I read something today, where someone listed what they are passionate about.
It seemed a useful exercise, so I thought I’d try it…
I’m passionate about human beings being the best they can be, Wycombe Wanderers football club, chocolate in the evening, freedom to choose, Strictly Come Dancing, doing the right thing, stationery, just being in the moment, the sound of running water, coaching, being authentically me, Pink Floyd, honest conversations, being there for someone, the film Pretty Woman, sharing, systemic constellations, the musical Les Miserables, being heard, steak and kidney pie with chips, social justice, storms, avoiding ego driven politics, RSA animates videos on YouTube, treating people as adults, driving, nice shoes, learning, respecting people’s difference and right to be, coconut ice cream, clothes with bold colours, being curious…
How about you?
As you move through the world you will have touched people. Some you will know. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Loved ones.
These people will recall you. They will feel connected. Your life and theirs inextricably linked through a bond. Maybe the bond is tangible, physical. Maybe it is emotional. Maybe it is transparent, maybe it is just there in the system, felt in the ether.
Others you have touched, you may not even realise it to be so.
In the midst of your own hectic, muddled life, you may have inadvertently dropped little traces of you on your journey. Like a dusting of you, cascading in your wake. Equally you may have deliberately acted, not seeking gain, not cognisant perhaps of the lasting impact or significant consequences that result for that person, or those close to them. You may have done this through…
An impromptu smile
A comforting word
A timely glance
A small act of kindness
Listening when someone needed to be heard
Witnessing someone’s truth
A small but critical thank you
A heartfelt hug
A positive thought
With fairy-like footprints, we invisibly stand in people’s lives, often unaware of those we have touched.
But they remember. They know. They thank you.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill
When we take on too much, something is lost.
Sometimes sufficient is all we need.
“Some people put walls up, not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down”
Notice someone today. Really notice.
See them. Really see them.
You might be surprised.
They might see you too.
We all want to connect.
To be seen, for who we really are.