photo 5I’ve been hungry for intimacy most of my life.  It’s more than a physical, sexual, or emotional connection.  I’ve been seeking the kind of a deep communion with myself and the universe, a profound experience of the present moment when time stands still and I’m fully alive.

I just returned from the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area looking for a new home.  It’s been great living in the Boston area all my life but the noise, traffic congestion, and weather have worn me down.   I want to spend the last third of my life where I can move around easier, spend less on necessities, and enhance my experience of communion and intimacy.

In Florida I often found that complete strangers were very friendly, saying hello as we passed by each other on the street.  Clerks in stores and wait staff seemed less harried than in Boston.  They saw me as a real person and not just a faceless client.  The young people especially impressed me.  They were so polite and well-mannered, eager to assist, and happy to converse, as if the human interaction were just as important as the cash transaction.

I guess this is what’s called “Southern hospitality.”  I admit the encounters were superficial, but on a basic social level our eyes met, and for that moment we belonged to each other.  However brief it was an experience of communion—of community.  It made life a bit easier for everyone simply by being less self-centered. 

Don’t we all fight our tendency to be self-centered?  I’ve realized that even though I’ve been generous with my time and talent, I’ve carried a subtle underlying concern for my own needs as well.  It’s often been difficult to be present to others without first counting the cost to myself.

Communion and intimacy begin with first being aware of my own infinite value and that I’ve got something to offer others.  Only then can I tip the scales just enough so that “I” gives way to “You”.

When I open up enough to acknowledge the existence and value of complete strangers I receive back more than I give.  And when I’m really present in communion with myself and others it’s easier to be truly grateful.  This gratitude helps me to recognize the Divine Spirit moving through me and the universe in the same moment in time, locking together all that exists as one.  It happens in the great “now” of time and space as we breath in and breath out.  In this moment I can let myself go to find the intimacy that is God in me.