It is refreshing that in a world of fast speed internet communications that the most profound connections still happen in person. Maintaining your happy-nets, or relationship support network connections can help bring you more happiness in your life, as I discovered meeting the old man of Lefki.
Whether it is the moment you meet the love of your life and your eyes connect and the smile melts your soul or meeting a total stranger with a heart of gold along a walk 2600 kilometres from where one started…
Talking To Strangers
A few days ago after a day’s rest we began a short 20km walk on our walking pilgrimage from London to Jerusalem.
We were walking to the town of Xanthi, and as we made our way from a track between fields onto a country dirt road an old man began to chat with us.
Old Fashioned Connection
I didn’t fully understand his words as he was speaking Greek and I knew very little, yet it is incredible how a warm smile can quickly create connection. Connection breaks boundaries, destroys walls beyond communication.
He walked along with us through fields as we made our way to a road. As we were about to head off down another track he gestured us to continue into his little village where we could find coffee.
We all decided to follow him into the village of Lefki and I entered the local cafe which was totally bare of any food. There was local men sitting outside with a priest over coffee and I greeted them before entering the cafe.
I ordered Greek coffee for everyone to a fellow who was sitting at the men’s table who spoke a little English. As I finished the order I asked if he could include an extra coffee for the old man who had guided us to the village.
I was surprised to hear the gentleman say that the old man was his father. I then saw the family resemblance. We had our delicious little cup of hot Greek coffee and I went in to pay for them.
The old man was sitting inside and he gestured that he had already paid. I was so taken by his generosity.
Here we were, a group of strangers walking between fields, he couldn’t communicate with us successfully yet the heart knows how to connect without words.
I thanked him with hand to my heart, truly moved by this act of kindness.
These moments fill me with immense gratitude and joy. It is ironic, that we can be almost in a state of panic sometimes when we don’t have wifi connection, yet these moments along the walk make me realise what true connectivity is all about.
While we were enjoying our coffee one of the men who was sitting down produced a handful of apricots. When we expressed our appreciation he went down the street a picked a bagful for us to take on our journey.
These were the apricots of appreciation, the fruit of gratitude. I was told by a fellow walker that these fruit are ripe for picking and ready to eat for only two days of the year. So rare is this window making them more precious to share their goodness.
Kindness and appreciation need not be so rare a fruit, windows exist all the time if we open our heart and minds to new experiences and to the bounty of goodness that exists in this world we may usually see as full of chaos and strife.
I think that we need to be very mindful of ensuring that we don’t lose connection in our lives.
I see unhappiness, loneliness, and many mental diseases as results of losing this connection. This connection can be losing connection with ourselves, others or the world.
Maintaining our relationships with ourself, others and the world through having real time non-digital connection is vital to prevent loneliness and despair.
Re-connecting can be as simple as spending time alone to get to know oneself. Many find being alone as challenging, as if that emptiness will envelope them. Others revel in having time to themselves, to slow down, to reflect.
Re-connecting with those around you is equally important. It is important to maintain relationships with others. They become your support network.
In fact your level of happiness I believe is commensurate to the quality of your relationships and networks you maintain. These are what I call your ‘happy-nets‘.
They are important to help you from slipping through the net when you are going through difficult times and you find feeling isolated, alone and wanting to disconnect.
Your happy-nets help you maintain your happiness. Your relationships help to support your emotional well being, yet they are also a two way street and you need to be there for others equally when they need to be held.
Meeting the old man of Lefki and having that real world connection was important for both of us. We were both strangers, from different lands, language didn’t unite us, yet the experience of human kindness did.