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The Joy of Connection

women-using-laptop-picture-id508128526 The Joy of Connection

“When the world is complicated, the simple gift of friendship is in all our hands.”  — Maria

I’m so happy May is upon us because it’s a month that feels like spring. It feels light. It feels joyful. It feels full of possibility. Everywhere you look, you can see nature unfolding, blooming and becoming.

I’m feeling joyful myself this week because I feel centered and grounded in my life. My work brings me meaning and I have a mission that feels larger than myself. My children are healthy, kind, thoughtful and hard-working. (A day doesn’t go by when I don’t thank God for them.) I’m also feeling blessed that I get to meet so many inspiring and amazing people along the way. This week was no exception.

At the beginning of this week, my travels took me to a summit in Las Vegas to talk about women’s health and Alzheimer’s (I was the first woman to ever speak there!). Then, I traveled to San Francisco for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards ceremony, which honored 21 incredible female entrepreneurs who are driving change through their development of impact-driven businesses around the world.

I was blown away not just by these women’s ground-breaking ideas, but also by their confidence and their faith in themselves and their visions. These women’s stories filled me up, and their enthusiasm for making a difference motivated me to do even more. I’m sure that their drive, imagination and relentless pursuit of their goals will benefit us all.

As the week came to a close, though, it wasn’t my work or my travels that brought the most meaning to my life these past few days. Nope, it was my moments of friendship.

My week started in conversation with three friends from grade school who had trekked across the country to visit with me. Then, a few days later, I attended a lunch where another 40+ year friend received an honor for empowering women and people of color.

“How meaningful is that?” I thought. How wonderful is it to have friends of 30 years, 40 years and 50 years? How amazing is it to be able to sit down at a table and pick up with a story from grade school, high school or early career adventures?

Meaningful friendships are the bedrock of a meaningful life. I’m at a place in my life now where I know that these connections are some of my most valuable assets.

I hope my children can also have these kinds of connections as they get older. When they are my age, I hope they can sit around their kitchen tables with life-long friends and have deep, meaningful conversations about life, love and loss. May they also know that a healthy dose of laughter will help them handle it all.

That’s what a meaningful life looks like and feels like. It’s a table of people who know everything about you and who still love you, no matter what.

I wish that for you, too. If you don’t feel like you have enough people to invite to your table, then I encourage you to widen your definition of friendship and family. Think about who you know that could benefit from the chance at conversation and kinship. Reach out. Connect. The truth is, we all benefit from shared connection, and we could all use more of it. It’s vital to our well-being.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s as good a time as ever to focus on one’s mental and emotional well-being. (If you feel like you need resources to help, start here.) It’s also a good time to focus on what’s meaningful to you.

Over the years, I’ve learned that a meaningful life is one steeped in purpose. It’s also one grounded in relationships with family, friends, a higher power and community. Yes, you may face failure and hardship and pain along the way, but be brave enough to keep dreaming of new adventures and climbing new mountains. And, also be sure to bring people you love along with you on the journey.

Connection is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other on this path of life. So, don’t hesitate to ask for it or offer it to someone else. The joy you’ll feel will brighten your mood and give you a spring-like feeling that will carry you forward.

Love,

Dear God, thank you for the gift of the people in my life. May I love them, cherish them, and let them know that they are appreciated. Amen.

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