This post is a part of our weekly email called “Presence+Practice”. You can have early access to this weekly content by subscribing to our newsletter.
You are made for relationships.
Research reveals that when we are isolated, our cognitive and physiological health declines significantly. So why is it so common to know lots of folks, but feel close to very few? In our culture that prizes independence, it can feel risky to even pursue new or deeper relationships.
But, as this month’s “Meaningful Friendship” series highlights, the benefits far outweigh the costs. When we have connected relationships, the health benefits are numerous: sharper memory, reduced stress, and a longer lifespan (just to name a few).
In this week’s “Practice of the Week,” we return to one of my favorite stories about surrendering to relationship. As Thomas Merton stood on a street corner in Louisville, Kentucky, he stopped and surveyed dozens of strangers buzzing around him. In that moment, he described feeling a Divine connection with each one of them. Merton wrote:
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . .
This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
In this week’s featured practice, we invite you to intentionally picture yourself and others shining like the sun.
As we do, we create space for the Spirit of God to gently open our hearts to new or deepening friendships and give us the courage to risk intentionally pursuing authentic connection.
This week’s featured practice is the first practice in our 5-part series titled “Meaningful Friendships.” It creates the space for you to see life with fresh eyes and relationships with new hope.
You can find the “Meaningful Friendships” Series Spotlight at the bottom of the Second Breath app home screen.