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As I flew home from my onsite class in NYC this weekend, I realized I was replenished in a new way. I love the city and have been uplifted by the city experience the past two trips. This time I traveled home with a sense of community in my heart. My fulfillment came from connections with people. I now have a community of friends in NYC.

I have learned to focus on peoples’ eyes as I talk, open my heart to give compassion and envision what their life is like. I practiced this in my conversations all weekend. I felt connected to more of my classmates this weekend than any other. I felt calm and at ease sharing my perspective and thoughts about the content. By the end of the weekend, I was bonded to my class in new ways.

I even felt this with the hotel staff. They know me now and asked more questions about my life and study program. Even though I know it is their job, I felt that to build community in a new environment, honoring people in their role creates a sense of value in the relationship. I visited the same little coffee shop and felt at ease in the area. This has expanded my view of the world and inspires me to do this more in my own neighborhood and spheres of life. Last weekend I said yes to an invitation to dinner with friends of a friend. Even though I had a hard day and was tired, I said yes to dinner and was uplifted by spending time with people in my own part of town. It also compels me to explore other communities in the world who may appear different, but in reality they are human beings longing for deep rooted connections with others.

This weekend my son shared a quote he wrote: “Your future is based on the ideas and opportunities you respond to in the present.” I can't agree more. My new little community would not be in my life if I had remained comfortable in my setting. I could have made excuses as to not spend the money, or it’s too much time away, or too scary. But keeping my eyes focused, my ears listening, my heart open and my feet ready to walk, I was able to embrace this opportunity. Now, I am reaping the benefits and know this is just the beginning. One opportunity opens doors to the next opportunity. They are all part of my journey. And it is a very adventurous journey indeed!

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