I spent this past week gathered in Toronto with people from all over the world and entered into conversations about many things. The main thread I immersed myself in centered around loneliness and connection. Our group, facilitated by Connie Lyle O’Brien and Lynda Kahn, shared personal stories of loneliness and isolation. This conversation quickly grew into a dialogue about what we are doing in our own lives to combat loneliness and isolation. What emerged was the idea of authenticity, or as I wrote about a few weeks ago, identifying our integrity gaps. It is paramount for all of us to truly live the values we speak about…something I strive to do, though not always well, everyday.
In this TED Talk by Benjamin Zander (whose talk was recommended by Lynda Kahn and Anne Mitchell during our conversation), he uses his gift of classical music, interpretation and passion to convey the importance of ‘who we are being’. I strongly encourage you to watch this piece. As someone who just spent a week “on the mountain top”, as Shafik Asante used to say about the Toronto Summer Institute, I am now charged with coming down from the mountain to the real world. At the end of his talk, Benjamin poses a question about his work, and then poses another, to all of us, that resonates profoundly in me: “Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining?” This shook me, because there are many times when I feel like I’m not being my best self…and I see it in my children’s eyes. I personally need to recognize when my children’s eyes aren’t shining, and change. But when they are shining…embrace them and dance with them like no one is watching!
So moving forward, let’s all ask ourselves these questions: “Who are we bing as we go out in the world? How many shining eyes do you have around you?”