The Sum of Us All

Have you ever sat and pondered the impact other people have had on you? Trace your story back in time, and you're a wealth of connections that have formed you into the person you are at this exact second.

There's the obvious one - your family. It could have been a good one, a bad one, an only-child one, or one populated with a myriad of siblings and relatives. Defining moments may have caused a hate of spiders (brother chased you with one), a love of rain (mom took you walking in thunderstorms), an appreciation of music (dad sang in the shower - made you appreciate real music more.. :-) ). A bust-up with your cousin may have left your nose slightly off-kilter, but it's likely that the person you are inside was formed more permanently by the interactions with parents, grandparents and others.

Add friends into the mix. I'm sure your mind immediately flashes back to friendships great and small. That boy that teased you unmercifully in high school about your crooked teeth - so that now you barely open your mouth when you smile. The best friend who helped you get over a broken heart. The other best friend who betrayed your friendship and told her new best friend all your secrets. There's friends who gave you the most wonderful advice - the stuff that turned your life around. And those that led you down the wrong path - nearly wrecked your life.

I've been thinking of some of the folk who have influenced me just recently, and got me where I am right now, this exact moment in time.

M has taught me the value of chilling, taking life as a great big adventure, and "mixed dorms" - in return she shouts out "LANDY!" every time she spots a Land Rover (sorry M.. :-) ). T has me eating better, matching my inner self-worth to my real value, finding humour in all sorts of things and considering birds in a new light. Daily chats with another M has given me insights into technology, web design, random nuttiness - and a friend who may know more about me than most. My son has transformed my life from heading-for-loser to responsible single mom (though slightly off-kilter compared to most). E has renewed my zest for my Landy, and determination to get the darn thing finally fixed and on the road as a daily ride - along with a few other things. G made me realize how short life is - that anything can happen, so you better darn-well enjoy today with all you have. K has given me an appreciation for seeing the funny side in everything - from your own misfortunes to the idiocy of others.

There are so many others. Small interactions with colleagues, clients, random strangers on the street, family and friends, bloggers and article-writers. Each one in some way forms the path I travel. It's pretty amazing to think about it!

Where I'm at now has a lot to do with living mindfully. That doesn't only mean acknowledging the world around me, fitting into it seamlessly and living lightly. It means noting the impact others have on my life too, and appreciating every encounter.

If you think about it, those mini-interactions are incredible! Miss out on even one, and you'd be a totally different person.