Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers

Have you ever thought about your relationship with absolute strangers? Okay, so maybe you’ve thought about your relationship with strangers that you actually encounter during the day, but what about the ones you have never met? Maybe even those not even born yet?

You know how coffee commercials always target the romance of sharing a cup of coffee with someone you love―and know? These commercials have often been successful in activating the emotional tug of wanting to sit with my mom one more time, drinking coffee over a great conversation, like I see on TV. These commercials play on the power of our relationships to sell coffee and it works. How many of us have had a pleasant social moment sharing our hearts over a cup of coffee?

Well, now as The Sacred Garden is beginning to venture into coffee harvesting (yes, we’re aiming for Sacred Grounds!) and I am discovering how much work goes into coffee harvesting and production, I can’t help but acknowledge how many unknown strangers I’m involved with.

Now when I go for that morning brew, rather than just enjoying the ritual with my husband or daughter or friend, instead I’ll be forced to acknowledge how many strangers I’m actually sharing that cup of coffee with―the farmers who grew it, the people who picked, pulped, fermented, dried, packaged, and roasted it. How many people put energy into the single cup of coffee that we enjoy in the morning?

Have you ever thought back even further than that to the people who figured out that coffee (or sushi, or spaghetti, or whatever), if put through this intensive process, would turn out this way? How many people were involved in the trial-and-error process of discovery that led to our present daily routine?

Next time you are feeling like you are all alone in the world, consider how many people have contributed to the creation of the newspaper you are reading, the computer you work on, the building you are living or working in, the car that you drive, and the streets you drive on―the number of strangers we are in relationships with is mind boggling when you really think about it. Contributions made by others impact every aspect of our lives.

There is a great story about three men who were laying stone when a man came along and asked them what they were doing. The first man said, “Laying stone.” The second man said, “Making a wall” and the third said, “Building a cathedral.” Imagine how differently the man who knew he was building a cathedral would feel about his life than the one who was simply building a wall. He knew in his heart that his work was extending beyond the moment to impact thousands of people for centuries to come.

I had a similar shift in realities when I was teaching school. I didn’t like my job when I thought I was teaching math, English, social studies, and science, but when I suddenly realized I was teaching children, the whole experience changed for me.

Have you ever considered the impact that you make on others―including the strangers that you never meet and may never even know about? While many people sit around thinking that their lives don’t hold a lot of meaning, my guess is that they haven’t stopped to consider how many people’s lives they contribute to, or could contribute to, by just doing what they do for a living or maybe even by simple acts of kindness during the day. Have you ever thought beyond your immediate task to look at the “bigger picture” of what you do and the difference you make?

You can shift your experience and sense of connection with others by simply raising your awareness and appreciation of the contribution others make to your life and the contribution you make to the lives of others―even without meeting.

Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week: Who does your life impact―and how?

Love Tip of the Week: They say fingerprints can literally stay on objects for decades. Think beyond the present moment and know that your reach, your touch, is much further than the here and now.

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