I had my space all set up.
Computer. Donut. Coffee. Headphones. Notebook.
Ready to work at the local coffee shop and get down to business. I was nestled between a woman with her headphones on and her computer ablaze and a homeless man and his croissant and Coca-Cola can he kept adding some secret alcohol to. He wasn't very sneaky in even his sneakiest attempts.
And this is our modern day co-working space. Isn't life so interesting?
And my phone lights up. You know I don't have it on ring, does anyone every have their phone on ring anymore?
I answer. I listen. My face and my heart drop. I stand up, walk outside to take the rest of my call in private. I receive sad news across the line, my own tears begin to well and I pace back and forth in the couple of feet I have made my own personal phone booth.
As the conversation ends, I take a few deep breaths and come back to my 'office space'.
I take a seat back at my barstool. And I look around at the coffee bar and all the tables filled. Some people busy at work on their computers, some people in the midst of a meeting - who knows what for...a business deal, a friendly catch up or a job interview. My neighboring man hacking a terrible cough and eating his croissant so slowly as to stay a little longer in the warmth of the coffee shop inside. The woman next to me still tap, tap, tapping on her computer. This one guy lingering at the front to grab an open spot when it comes available, his eyeballs on scan and looking somewhat over-caffeinated.
And I wonder what they are all feeling today?
I know I feel weighted with the news from the other line of the phone. I feel sad and almost lonely in this space, working next to him and her and they. Surrounded by humans yet staring at a screen.
And it is such a perspective shift.
All these people. Sitting in this place. So close to one another. Churning and burning. And yet, what are they feeling today? I have no idea what news on a phone call they just got, be it this year, last week or earlier this morning. Is she going through a break up? Is he celebrating his new promotion? Do they like their job? Are they engaged...in their work, to a human, in their own life?
Such a simple shift in my own energy that morning at the coffee shop to realize and remember that we have no idea what another is going through. Unless they choose to share it with us in a sacred exchange that is communication. And we have no idea how their heart is?
So tread lightly.
Smile. Say hi. Be gentle.