For three days last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Master Your Influence training seminar from 3 Key Elements. It was a fabulous experience. (My readers who were there too, go to the comment section and shout out a WaHoo! and an inside joke!) I learned some energizing empowerment techniques, how to know what messages people are sending through their body language, and just really got to know myself on a deeper level. Although there was some awesome information presented, my favorite thing by far was interacting with the people there. I went by myself, so I didn’t know anyone, but it didn’t take long to connect with people in that environment. Kirk Duncan, the presenter, really knows how to bring down the barriers between people and unify the group as one. I never thought I could feel connected to and unified with 1,200 people all at the same time!
Those of you who knew me as a child and teenager might remember: I used to be scared of people. I tried to be invisible in my classes, and every time I got called on in class was a huge ordeal. When I had to give presentations in class, I really thought I might die. Adults were particularly scary to me. One time in second grade, I was so scared to ask permission to use the restroom that I ended up peeing my pants. I still remember it clearly: I was in the library in a reading group in an orange chair at a round table, wearing white denim pants. The teacher was talking on and on, and I knew it was rude to interrupt. I squirmed until I couldn’t hold it anymore, and then didn’t even tell anyone what I had done, and just hoped no one would notice! I really hope no one sat in that wet chair after me! (I’ve never told anyone about that–ha! It feels good. I have no shame!)
Even just a few years ago, I didn’t like meeting new people, unless some common ground had been established first. It’s only been lately that I’ve really looked forward to getting acquainted with people I’ve never met before, and have even been excited about getting to speak in public! I think the difference is the way I feel about myself. For most of my life, I didn’t feel comfortable being who I am. I didn’t really think I had much to offer people, so I didn’t see why they would care to know me. I didn’t want them to see the weaknesses that were so glaringly apparent to myself, and didn’t think people would accept me if they knew the real me. All that has changed now. I finally love myself, so why wouldn’t anyone else want to meet me and be my friend? I know I have flaws and weaknesses, but so does everyone else, and I’m continually working to change and put out newer, better versions of myself. (The current model is Bonnie 7.2!)
I found it fascinating how, with all of the people I met last week, small talk didn’t happen, or at least was gotten over with in 30 seconds or less. Small talk is very draining of my energy and feels like a chore. Instead, right after I met people, we would start talking about things that were meaningful, personal, and deep, and after an hour and a half it seemed as though we’d known each other for years! This is the kind of interaction that really energizes me. And it almost never happens like that out in the “real world.” Why is that?
I believe it’s because people think that the invisible boundaries they put up around themselves keep them safe, protected, and comfortable. While that may be true, just look at that they’re missing out on, trapped in their little bubble of isolation! For me, seeing the divine spark in people inspires me and brings me a delicious burst of energy. I wish I could thank all the people I’ve met for sharing their essence with me. I felt honored and humbled by each interaction. And I wish I could thank them all for being able to see through to the real me. It helps that I was open and allowing them to see it. One young man, just minutes after we started talking, looked deep into my eyes told me I was curiously investigative. I thought it described perfectly what drives me!
I can’t help but feel a little sad, though, at the same time. I felt a deep connection with so many people who were recently strangers and entirely unconnected to my life, but I can’t say the same about some of the members of my family, even some of my very nearest relations. Why is it so easy to connect to strangers but so hard to connect with those who are a huge part of my past, present, and future, whom I interact with so frequently? I would love to hear your thoughts on this, readers. I have a few theories, but I’m quite stumped over it.
I just love people, in all their complexities and unlimited variety. I’ve become aware of a wonderful phenomenon: when I love myself, I love other people more, and then I love God more. When I love God more, my capacity to love myself and others grows and grows, and it creates a beautiful upward spiral. It is through other people that I truly become acquainted with the nature of God. I believe that someday our connections with other people will be perfect and full and will never dim. I can’t wait for that day, but will keep striving for it, within the limited confines of this mortal existence.