Monday, October 1, 2012

Treasure and Grow Relationships

This is the sixth in a 10-part series of posts on some simple actions that always lead to happiness!  Read the original post that frames this discussion HERE.

I believe people come into our lives at a particular time for a particular reason.  There are no coincidences in life.  Some people are just better at slowing down and appreciating and being present for what is happening right now.  Sometimes people come into our lives because they are supposed to teach us something we need to learn or experience as we move forward in our journey.  Other times they appear so that we can give them a gift of some knowledge, experience, or perspective that they need in their journey. 

Sometimes that interaction is very brief.  That person may pass you like a ship in the night if you are not paying attention.  It could be a two minute conversation in the check-out line at a store or a cross-country flight sitting next to them on a plane for four hours.  One never knows where inspiration might come from.  The key is to be present enough to appreciate these opportunities when they present themselves.

Where the river of our lives merged back in 2010 in Denton, TX.

Here is a great example.  In 2010 I was driving to the airport to crew a friend at the Badwater 135 across Death Valley.  As my car moved 70 miles per hour down the freeway I whiz past a guy on a touring bike that is loaded down with a sign on the back that said “Coast to Coast”.  I was on my way to a sweet little adventure, but I thought to myself that this guy is really deep into one right now here in the middle of North Texas.  I could have continued on my way, but something told me to stop and find out more about this guy’s story.  I pull over a few hundred yards in front of him and greet him with a smile.  Almost an hour later I am back on the road.  Turns out this guy was one of the most interesting people I had ever met.  Frosty Wooldridge.  He was placed alongside that road at that moment in time because I was supposed to learn some things from him relevant to my journey in life and the transformation I was going through in my life at that time.

Frosty’s Walden Pond of the Rockies.

Frosty and I remain friends to this day.  A month ago my brother and his family moved to Golden, Colorado.  Guess who lives 300 yards away in the next neighborhood?  Frosty!  Coincidence?  I think not!  Serendipity.  I was there to see my family and reconnect with my friend Frosty just 2 weeks ago.  We went on some bike rides, shared a meal and great conversation in his home with his amazing wife Sandy, and did an overnight hiking/camping trip with him and a friend to his favorite place in the Holy Cross Wilderness.  The place was Whitney Lake at 11,000 feet elevation.  This place is Frosty’s Walden Pond of the Rockies.  It was pure magic with the fiery quilt of color Mother Nature had spread out for us to traverse during our journey.

Was it coincidence or fate that hot summer day in Texas a few years back when our paths crossed?  I think not.  I have learned many things from this amazing man who has truly lived a remarkable life.  He continues to inspire me and encourage me to live my life in that same robust manner.  I also feel I have given him some gifts in our friendship as well.  I look forward to many years of inspiration and additional shared adventures with my friend.  The point being this:  What if I had just whizzed right on by and not taken the time to follow my gut and instinct and take the opportunity to meet this person? 

It is all happening Here and Now!

I want to make one other point about building and nurturing relationships.  One has to be fully present and engaged when we are interacting with all the people in our lives.  Sometimes we are too busy multi-tasking or thinking about work or other things in our cluttered minds.  We also allow technology to get in the way.  In some ways technology like cell phones, Skype, FaceTime, etc. can bring us together with people that are important to us that may not be in the same place at a particular moment.  I also believe that it has led us to become insulated and isolated from many of the people right in our immediate presence.  Texting or playing a silly game on an electronic device while at a table in a restaurant is more common than meaningful conversation.  Next time you are in a line waiting anywhere notice how many people are head-down lost in their device(s).  Here are a few reminders about how to be more present and engaged:

  •  Turn off devices and all electronics
  • Take a 30-minute walk with someone (No devices!)
  •  Share a meal or a cup of coffee outside in a sunny spot (No devices!)
  • No multi-tasking physically or mentally.  Focus on the one thing you are doing with the person right in front of you at that moment.

One of my favorite places to Be Present….Pendl’s in Teton Valley