Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent last year - Can I get you to tell me your secrets...

Lent is upon us and in thinking about what I want to do for Lent this year my mind wandered back to last year.  

Last year my Lent project was huge. I had resolved to conquer my fear of people by making myself hold a conversation with a random stranger everyday for the 40 days of Lent. I did not make it that far. I think I only hit about 10 people last year. Goal – fail… Though I think my ultimate objective behind the goal was met.  

Since this Lent project last year talking to strangers has become a habit. I now regularly chat with people in stores. I hold meaningful albeit short discussions in lines everywhere. I deeply discuss religion and science with random strangers in the Barnes and Noble.

Everything started out as a means of over-coming my social anxieties and phobias… At some point I forgot about those anxieties and people/mankind won me over. People are so interesting and genuinely want to connect with and talk to others. I have found that the more I reach out to others with sincere interest to connect they reach back. Talking to strangers is now more about discovering what makes a given person tick than about over-coming fear. 

Can I make this person laugh? Can I make this person smile? Can I give this person something they need today just by talking to them? Can I get them to bear their soul to me in five minutes of conversation? Do I get to “see” this person?

I get embarrassed by these conversations sometimes and really only engage strangers when I am alone. My friends don’t generally get to witness these discussions.These discussions with strangers are sacred in a way. Talking to people you don’t know almost automatically causes some filters to go away. They don’t care what you think of them, not really. You don’t care what they think of you. You are simply sharing a moment and since there are no strings attached and no relationship involved you get to be really real with no fear…

This being real with strangers has spilled over into my life though. It has helped me be more real with people in my life too…(Not that I was ever fake on purpose... Really what I mean when I say being "real" is being brave enough to open up more. Talking more. Saying important things. Striving to truly connect...)

Last year’s Lent goal was ultimately a success… What do I want to take on and conquer this year?

12 comments:

  1. Well, I'm pretty strange and you can always talk to me if you want.

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    1. I love strange! I will have to get to know you Jono!

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  2. So glad last year was a success! I don't know what you really want to accomplish for this year, but I will gladly share mine! My goal is to overcome fear of success. Mine is to work through a series of smaller goals in both my professional and personal life, taking on What I Really Want with fearless abandon. So this will be the year all of my excuses died.
    And the year I want to see what I am made of...
    :)

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    1. I love the phrase "fearless abandon". I think my goal may actually be the same as your's this year. Attack it Steph!

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  3. I figured it out. I have 2 Lenten projects:
    1) Show my love for someone daily. It can be an act of service. It can be words or a message, but I think that it's important to show my fellowman (whether family or friends) that they really are loved.
    2) my healthy thing: I'm going to do yoga everyday.

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    1. Both of those are soooo good. Maybe you should blog about some of your acts of service as you see what happens.

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    2. That's a really good idea! I want to do a lot of random [anonymous] acts of kindness too because I REALLY like doing that.

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  4. in excitement for gat tuesday tomorrow I am eating homemade sweet popcorn.
    i eat too much refined sugar. it will kill me one of these days...
    last year at lent i gave up refined sugar conpletely- and rather sucessfully, but then Lent ended and I went back to consuming lots of refined sugar. I calculated that if I do not eat any sugar for the 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter that would mean I would cut down on my yearly sugar intake by only 12.6%. And I thougt it would probably be healthier and better if I just ate 12.6% less sugar on a daily basis rather than just obstaining over Lent. This Lent I am going to try to cut back on refined sugars with out cutting them out all together. Hopefully in a way that will be sustainable too. BUt I tend to be an extremest. It is easier for me to go to an extreme than only part way, so I fear this year might be harder because the lines of what is allowed is blurry.

    Your Lent goal should be to eat an apple every day or to fast from electricity or to create a fun and memorable experience for each of your students or to always take the stairs, never the elevator, or to do a crossword every day, or to always eat with other people, never alone, or to keep your house clean or to get a pet pterodactyl... oh, clearly I don't know what your goal should be, but I hope you think or something right for you.

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    1. I soooooo agree. I have been eating way more sugar than normal lately... It needs to go away.

      I love your list of random goals. Certainly ideas I had not thought of yet.

      I have nothing solid so far in mind... Time is tick-tick-ticking away... MUST set goal...

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  5. I love what you have said here because I can relate to it so very well. I am an introvert and very shy but I love striking up random conversations with strangers in public. I don't think i've ever read a clearer, more eloquent description of what I feel when I talk to someone like this.

    Very cool.

    Congratulations on being successful at your goal last year!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that does this. Sometimes it just feels safer to talk to strangers...

      Thanks for the compliments.

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  6. I really like that idea, and I've had the same experience sometimes.

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