At a seminar, I’m sitting next to someone who at first glance doesn’t seem very interesting. I quietly curse the fact that I’ve ended up by chance on this particular chair. After about 10 minutes’ conversation, I realise that the person is absolutely charming, has loads of good ideas and is bursting with energy and common sense.
I tell him that it was completely by chance that I sat next to him, and that I find him very inspirational. He replies: “There’s no such thing as chance or luck, only meetings!”
But before a meeting, doesn’t there need to be an invitation? Usually yes, and then it depends on me agreeing to go along!
I could quite well have stuck with my first impression, and turned and chatted to the person on the other side of me. End of story. But I was curious as to why the man was actually there.
When I look at it from that perspective, all encounters however unlikely, become opportunities to challenge my preconceptions, to learn and be inspired.
What invitations would you like to transform into meetings?
We were having dinner with a friend who told us that he found perfectly shaped fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs boring. He insisted that he liked and was drawn to imperfections like wonky tomatoes and twisted carrots.
I joked that that must be the reason why my husband loves me – because of my imperfections!
Isn’t it our imperfections that make us different? What if they really were the thing that differentiated us from others? All those unfinished life projects that we’re always working on? Those ways to try and better ourselves? Those challenges that we take on?
Anyway, could you really love a “perfect” being? There’d be no surprises. Wouldn’t life and the people you met along the way be pretty dull?
I say loud and proud that I’m imperfect. What about you?
17 years ago we met a man called Charly, our tour guide in the United States. He was professional, patient and certainly knew his stuff, and we soon struck up a friendship with him.
Every 5 years or so, he sends me an email telling me he’s going to be in Paris. Each time he comes, we meet up for a meal or go for a walk together. The conversation always starts just where we left off 5 years earlier. I enjoy listening to him tell us about his latest travels and how patiently he deals with stressed-out clients.
He always comes across as very kind. He never sounds aggressive. His tone of voice is as gentle as his words. It’s very relaxing to listen to him telling his stories.
He is the epitome of a truly wonderful person. I’m sure you know some truly wonderful people too. But have you ever told them? I’m telling you about all this from inside a bubble of happiness – Charly would definitely be pretty embarrassed about it if he knew:)
What about you? How are you going to tell the truly wonderful people that you know just how lovely they are, and encourage them to continue making the world a gentler place?
Somebody asked me recently who my favourite character is. I immediately replied: Mary Poppins. Explaining why was a bit more difficult.
Is it because her songs are catchy? Her teaching methods amusing? The hilarious penguins? A bit of all that, but most of all I love her way of seeing every challenge and obstacle as an opportunity, as something interesting and fun.
She suggests taking a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Isn’t the bitter taste of a particular task often altered by the way it is presented or even by our own attitude?
After thinking about it, I know why Mary is my favourite character. I would like to give the world a spoonful of sugar to make it a bit sweeter!
What about you, who is your favourite character? Why are you inspired by him or her?
People who have had face lifts are easy to spot. Their skin is a little too smooth, a little too stretched but most of all it is out of sync with the age of their body.
Their new youthful face is not in harmony with their body, their life experiences, and what their eyes say about them.
Sometimes I resent the wrinkles that are starting to appear around my eyes and on my forehead. But every one of those fine lines is the result of a fit of the giggles, a minor irritation, smiles and other experiences that made me who I am today.
So even though I feel that my body is less “fresh”, it tells the story of my life, the good times and the bad, and of that I’m proud!
What about you? How do you approach all the signs of these life experiences on your body? Do they bother you or do you see them as shaping who you are today?