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Absolute Intimacy

Thursday, February 14, 2008
“Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy.”
–Paul Auster

Dear Friends,

Obviously, I’m not a novelist (yet!) so this may seem like a strange way to begin this month’s newsletter. But I’ve been thinking about Valentine’s Day and that it is so much more than a romantic holiday. It can be a time when we remember all the people in our lives who have touched us, loved and appreciated us. Isn’t it wonderful to think of those people and remember special times or gestures? The note sent “just because I’m thinking of you.” The sincere appreciation of a co-worker for something you’ve done. The special smile when you pick your child up from daycare.

The interesting thing about being a “public” person and an author is that I have the privilege of touching people I’ve never met. It’s an “absolute intimacy” between two strangers. And I often receive wonderful, heartfelt notes of appreciation from them. They say “How is it that you know JUST what to write in your newsletters at the time I need those words. . .” or “You have no idea how much you helped me before my spinal fusion” or “I think you’ve got a cool message!” Of course, every time I receive one of these, my DHEA (the Vitality hormone) goes off the charts!

But what about those of us who are not “public?” Do we have any idea how we might have touched strangers around us? We may never receive sweet notes of appreciation (they don’t know where to find us!), but we can (and do) certainly touch those strangers around us: when we compliment the grocery clerk’s hair, or pause and let the car trying to merge into traffic ahead of us, or hold the door open for the guy carrying all the packages. Every time we do one of these small things, especially if it is done with a sincere smile and open heart, we have truly touched someone. It is a moment of “absolute intimacy.”

So here’s what I would like you to do:

Every time you do a small kindness for someone you do not know, imagine receiving a wonderful note of appreciation from them. “Thank you so much for noticing my new tie. I wasn’t sure if I liked it but now it feels great. . .” or “Thanks for pushing the elevator button for me. I’d had a rough day and your kindness made me feel better. . .” or “Thanks for picking up the change that dropped out of my purse. My back has been achy lately so I was very grateful. . .”

I’ll end this month’s newsletter with a quote from one of the special notes I’ve received recently: “. . .In the event that perhaps one day you are overwhelmed with the consequences of whatever you have created (and thus experience), I just want you to know that there is someone you have touched deeply and whose gratitude is immeasurable.”

And that, my friends, is how I feel about you. Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Adrianne Ahern, Ph.D.
Performance Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and author of Snap Out Of It Now!
P.S. If you find value in this blog and wish to share it with others, please do so!

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