Do you ever notice how rare it is for people to acknowledge one another as we go through our days? Yet, we are all members of the human family, co-inhabitors of the planet, neighbors, branches of the same Tree of Life. So why do we not acknowledge our shared humanity?
My daughter and I used to make it a point to smile at other people in their cars as we drove, to really look at people and see their eyes and smile. How fun it was when they'd smile back! It would lift our hearts and we'd see them continue on their way, still smiling. Hopefully, they then shared that smile with the next person ... and so on and so on ... passing the smiles forward ...
When I'm paying a cashier for a purchase or talking with a server, I make it a point to look at them and make some small-talk comment; often it leads to a short, happy conversation, a human connection bridging our lives for a few light-filled moments, as happened earlier today when I was chatting with the Target cashier as she rang up my purchases. My granddaughters always laugh; "Nana! You're always talking to strangers!" They find it - and me - a bit odd. We went to Disneyland recently and I spoke to strangers throughout the entire day: a couple having an impromptu picnic in the grass, a group of young men who asked me to take their picture, people standing in line with us. They were thoroughly amused at their crazy-friendly Nana.
I was shoe-shoppping recently and had a completely delightful conversation with another shopper, a friendly, light-hearted woman about my age, with a beautiful light about her. We talked about which heels to buy, which lead to a discussion about dancing, where she and her husband go, about salsa and Latin men, about the other items she was purchasing - oh, we had the best time two strangers in a store could have in ten minutes!
Sometimes Bug and Li'l Bug will try to talk to me while I'm paying a cashier, and I gently remind them not to interrupt, that I have to pay attention to the person with whom I'm currently interacting. Long ago, I used to work retail and when I'd be ringing up a sale, I'd make it a point to pay attention to the shopper, to acknowledge them and thank them. Sometimes the shopper wouldn't even look at me, vaguely handing the money over in my general direction, taking the bag and mumbling a "thanks" as they walked away, their head in some other place far away. Sometimes in a place of business, I'll wonder if I've suddenly acquired the super-power of invisibility - (proclaimed in an announcer's voice) Invisible Girl! - as I try to get a server or sales associate's attention.
These days, I see people all the time rudely yakking away on their cellphones while the cashier or order-taker is trying to help them, sometimes trying to get an answer to a question while the shopper is entirely oblivious to the person's existence. Lately, I've seen signs in a few shops asking people to get off their cellphones while placing their order. This always makes me smile - and I then have a nice chat with the order-taker about the sign and we both laugh.
Simple politeness would tell one not to be on a cellphone when you're conducting a transaction with another human being. Simple politeness would suggest that we acknowledge one another as we go about our days, to smile or nod a "hello" as we pass. Simple politeness would compel us to engage with one another using good manners, looking the other person in the eye, speaking in a friendly voice. It lifts up both parties when we do so. And it shows your mama raised you right.
"The Christ in me recognizes the Christ in you." Instead of being a thousand miles away, we can be Here, in the present moment, present to the other people in our immediate energetic field, exchanging that energy with one another, acknowledging their simple humanity, influencing one another in a positive way, maybe brightening someone's day for a few moments. We can recognize the Divine in one another when we take a moment to simply and fully be present to each other, to see the simple Goodness within and smile and offer our Light.
Today's simple pleasure: the CD of her own beautiful music compositions that my yoga teacher gave to me this morning.