Warning :: Pleasure + Connection Ahead

By Nancy Levin

Untitled3I’m at the tail end of a week in NYC. I lived here for 5 years a long time ago and come back often, but I was particularly struck on this trip – in a very positive way –  by a specific segment of the population that usually gets a bad rap: construction workers!

I made it part of my ritual nearly every day on this trip to go for an outing up on the High Line, which meant crossing several of the avenues west in order to get there. And there’s a lot of construction!

When I used to live here – and for many years after – I walked around guarded, closed off, uninviting. I’d scowl and practically bark if a construction worker even looked at me, let alone talked to me. And eye contact – never!

But on this trip something shifted…I found myself meeting the eyes of these guys. And truly taking in their expression.I began to experience them as connoisseurs appreciating beauty and I felt like a work of art in their presence.What if they were really just my mirrors, reflecting my own light back to me. No one said anything lewd, I mostly received lots of smiles – and I willingly smiled back. The best thing I heard was:  ”Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and eatin’ what you’re eatin’!”

Maybe it’s that I’m getting older – but I actually think it’s that I’m willing to truly connect now and be seen. For much of my life I was so shut down. I didn’t want to see myself and therefore certainly couldn’t handle being seen by others, in any capacity. The truth is that I didn’t want to connect.

And now that I’ve released those old protections that no longer serve me, I’m happy to walk down the street leaving little morsels of pleasure along the way while allowing myself to receive the same hit as well. And I’m grateful for a safe and fun way to play.

We tend to think that connection is so scary, but what if all it takes is simply letting someone’s eye contact and smile in, reflecting back the impact it has, and then basking in your own warm heart. It’s a start anyway…

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