I went to Starbucks today at lunchtime. I go there often and have a coffee or tea and read. It’s the break I need to get through my day. Today I was reading Tricycle which is not a magazine for people with poor balance but rather a Buddhist magazine…or perhaps it is a magazine for people with poor balance (Buddhist joke). Normally I read Shambhala Sun but I felt like a change this month. One of the Buddhist basic is connection. We are all connected and you don’t have to be a Buddhist to realize that. If you are a Kevin Bacon or Will Smith fan you are probably familiar with the six degrees of separation theory which essentially states that everyone is connected within 6 degrees. For example, I know my sister, she knows john Henry, he knows Matt Damon therefore there are three degrees of separation between me and Matt Damon. I actually know John Henry so there are technically two, but I extrapolated for the sake of example. With Facebook and Twitter I bet we’re probably down to four degrees or maybe even three degrees pf separation between everyone. To the Buddhist acknowledging the connections helps breed compassion and understanding.
At Starbucks, I was sitting at a little table next to two women. The women each had laptops up and running and were well dressed in very fashionable and expensive business attire. Their makeup was perfect and had highlighted hair to match. One woman had a large Louis Vuitton bag by her side. When I sat down I could help but hear their conversaion, “Kathy can get you in to see Steinberg; Steinberg can get you in with the orthopedic group but your goal should be anesthesia.” Drug reps. I’ve worked in healthcare long enough to pick them out a mile away without my glasses on. They spent the next half hour going back and forth with whom they knew and who could connect them with other people. One of the women had noted in her contact list a physicians’ wife and children’s names. As she passed then along she told her co-worker to make sure she asked about his family because he loves to talk about them and “he can get you into that anesthesia group.” Alot of people spend alot of energy scheming to network creating loose connections and little compassion.
We all have connections to our families, friends, co workers, book club members, bowling teams and so many others. Some connections are stronger than others and more natural than others. Sometimes the connections are surprising. I like these connections. They are more genuine and honest. I work with a guy the same age whom I most likely ran into as a young child. One day he mentioned that he was visiting his mother inGuilford,NH. I spent most of my childhood summers going toGuilfordBeach. My grandparents lived in that tiny town and we had a summer house in the area. Guilfordbeach was great. There was a dock to swim out to, a playground with a metal merry go round that go so hot from the sun that you had to sit on a towel to ride it. There was a snack bar that sold Nutty Buddies and Astro Pops and there were kids everywhere. Well the guy I work with grew up inGuilford, we’re the same age and he spent his summer days at the same beach. We also knew alot of the same of the same kids. We probably played together at the beach at some point. Small world. It’s nice talking with him about that little town, the general store and the sand pit and the Big Banana. I like those random connections. During the great Christmas of 2010 we realized that my boyfriend’s mother grew up with my brother-in-law’s cousins. These connections are everywhere and if you pay attention you find them. Who are you connected to?