asenseofplace: (Queens View)
So I'm one of those people who takes my social media seriously. Yes, I do goof off on here a lot. (I do that in person too.) I share cat photos, dog photos, memes, half of what George Takei posts, and cool random things I find. Not to mention anything fun and sciencey, medical, nature orientated, and photos of Scotland. And inspirational quotes. And anything that raises our awareness, or inspires us.

But when I comment on threads, especially groups i'm active in, I make a point to take a moment, pause, breathe, and write what comes to mind and what I mean in that moment.

Sometimes I erase what I write and write it again. Sometimes I repeat this process so many times for the same post, I put it aside for a few, and come back to it later. (Occupational hazard of being a writer?)

I've tried the other way and it just doesn't work for me. The, "OK, post something, say something, make a throwaway comment. What does it matter if you're not saying what you really think? Just say something."

Well, it matters.

It matters to me, and, depending on the nature of the post I'm commenting on, it may matter a whole lot or just a smidge to the original poster of the thread. Or to anyone else reading it.

It's everything from, "Get well soon." to, "I'm sorry for your loss."

Which is what I just posted on a community I'm a member of. I don't know the guy who lost his gran. I didn't know his gran. I've never talked to him before, or shared any connection with him except that we're both in the same group. But as I was reading the prior comments to him, I felt it was important, when I wrote, to use his name along with what I felt inclined to write.

Two minutes later, he commented back. He thanked me personally, using my name in the post, and said I am, 'very kind.' I don't know what prompted that as I didn't say anything much different from anyone else who'd commented. I just took a moment, breathed into it, and decided that this guy had just lost someone important in his world, and even though I'd never been a part of his world before, and I didn't know him, he deserved a genuine reply. And he deserved someone to use his name. So I did.

There was a connection there. He felt it and responded. I felt it necessary and wise to make a connection and acted on those instincts. I don't expect we'll ever chat again, that's not the point. I just felt the need to be there, and I think he appreciated that.

It fascinates me how opportunities and doors and even windows can open into new places and possibilities when we're willing to breathe into that space, when we're willing to trust our instincts, and take a moment and lean into it, and feel what comes next.

And we have a tendency to underestimate the power of using someone's name.

It's such a simple act, yet so engaging.

As is the act of taking a moment and genuinely being there for someone, even if it's a comment to a person you've never met before.

The more I've done this lately, the more I've seen it come back tenfold and seen the results. On another community, I took five minutes to write something to the effect of, "What you are doing is tremendously brave and takes a lot of courage, and you'll know if it's the right thing for you. And if you aren't sure, take a moment and pause, and notice how you feel. You'll know." I then told the OP I was proud of her for taking a leap of faith, and I shared my own story, briefly, of my last big leap of faith in leaving everything here and moving to Cali.

When I woke up the next morning and logged on, her reply was the first message I read. She thanked me profusely. She told me she'd woken up this morning, thoroughly confused, disheartened and unsure, and *my* reply was the first thing she'd read, and it brought tears to her eyes. She'd felt so moved, and said things had righted themselves a bit in her world. She said she was going to go be brave like me and see where it takes her, she now knew she could.

Now *that* made me tear up. I couldn't reply for a day, I was just sort of, "Wow, really? Can a passing comment affect someone that much?"

And it wasn't really a "passing comment." When I took a moment for myself to think about it, I realized I more meant a comment from a stranger. Someone who didn't know her. Someone who was just willing to take a moment, or five, breathe into the moment, and feel what needed to be said, and shared, and to do so. Someone who was willing to be real and authentic and present.

I've learned never to underestimate the value of being present, or of being real.

We all need that, and we all need to be that, both for ourselves and for those we see and connect with every day.

Take a moment, and breathe into the space. It can make all the difference.

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