Just Hello 2

I have been aware of the power of hello for quite a while now. While I was writing my book on small, I discovered that for the most part, I offered perfunctory hellos, pronouncing the word automatically, with little thought to what I was saying. When I began paying attention when a passer-by and I exchanged greetings, I realized that it made me happy.

I remember one day in particular, I was feeling my then-frequent amalgam of lonely and abandoned. Near the beginning of the long uphill block home from the Monterey Market, I saw a woman approaching. I kept my eye on her as we walked closer and closer toward one another. As we passed, we each sang out a hearty hello. And then I heard, “I like the colors you’re wearing.”

I was immediately aware of a pirouette of happiness rising within me. And this time, instead of briefly noticing then turning my attention elsewhere, I concentrated on the sensation of the pirouette for several minutes as I continued walking. Here’s what happened: instead of quickly dissipating, the pirouette began extending, the joy I felt expanding to fill my whole body. By the time I turned the key in my front door, I no longer felt lonely or abandoned. Instead, I felt seen and appreciated.

I had a similar experience yesterday. I was, once again, walking home from a local store, when I passed a woman walking in the opposite direction. Now understanding what I had to gain by paying attention to small, I focused on her face and felt myself opening to receive her greeting. As we passed one another, we each smiled and said, “Hello,” and this time—perhaps because of my attentiveness—I not only heard what she said, but felt the vibrations of her voice within me.

The sensation began in my belly, and as I focused on it, swelled, filling me with its gentle buzz, waking me up, from my skin to my smallest cells. Like a good meal, it nourished me, not with vitamins, fiber, and proteins, but with warmth and connection. I focused on this gentle vibration the entire uphill walk back home, a huge smile on my face. And by the time I opened my front door, I couldn’t imagine ever feeling alone and abandoned again.

Marakech


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