What do you really mean when you ask someone "how are you?". Are you asking about their physical health? Mental health? Busyness? What?
I often just resort to the answer "I'm good...how are you?". But then what do I mean by that? "I'm good"...my body may be healthy, but my mind may be scattered, my connection to myself way out of balance, but still I say that "I am good".
Have you ever answered the question with a totally un-normal, unexpected reply to "how are you?"? Like "I am absolutely fantastic, thanks for asking..." or "I am amazingly wonderful". If you have, you'll notice that people often stop for a second and look at you, perhaps a little envious, perhaps trying to figure out if you're on something or just not quite 'right' in the head.
Asking "how are you" seems like a quick, polite way to connect to someone, but then do we really have the time to hear if the answer turns out to be a long drawn out reply about how the person really is? What they may be feeling physically or emotionally? Some of our elderly neighbours love to do that, and I am happy to listen to them. I enjoy the time that we connect to these interesting women. My children get a little restless, but they get to see me being patient and kind to others and can choose whether they want to incorporate that into their lives. If it turns out that whoever I ask is experiencing some kind of pain, be it physical or emotional, that they want to share, I aim to be present for them in sharing that, and I try to project calm, loving energy to them to help them deal with that.
Asking the check out operator at the local store "how are you?" has resulted in one word answers, so in an attempt to connect a little more with those I interact with, I try asking different questions like "what's the best thing about your day so far?".
So many of us are so very busy...what would it be like if we all just slowed down a little and thought about really connecting with everyone we meet, even if just for a moment? Giving a gift of your time and your energy instead of a standard question that you may not even mean?
When I ask someone that I do know that question, I generally mean...how is your physical health / what have you been up to / what's new? These are all the "safe" topics we were taught to believe are the right way to start a conversation.
What I really want to know, is "what is making your heart sing today?"
I want to know where people's JOY is. I want to connect IN joy. I want to interact in a way that will encourage people to touch their own joy, even for a moment.
I am still working on ways to do this more often, working through old conditionings that I no longer want.
The thing I have found though...is that if I am not feeling connected to my own Joy, it is really hard to help others see theirs.
If you are not too busy, please leave a comment or send me an email rawmum at yahoo dot com...and tell me the best thing about your day today and / or what is making your heart sing...