Being connected to people makes me happy. I remember someone telling me, upon the birth of their second child, that your heart just gets bigger. Love is infinite, but life is not. Most of us don’t spend enough time growing our hearts.
Facebook and other social networking sites can certainly bring out our competitive edge – who has a better job, a cuter boyfriend or girlfriend, a more adorable kid – but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to for Metta, the Buddhist practice of loving-kindness.
Jack Kornfield, a Buddhist thinker and writer, has a simple and wonderful loving-kindness meditation:
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.
Is the connection to Facebook clear yet? For me, learning about the ups and downs of people’s lives is a wonderful opportunity to practice loving kindness – to send compassion to people near and far, close friends, acquaintances, and even random Twitter followers.
But I said that this post was about you, and it is. I thought you should know that I’m paying attention – and sending you good vibes near and far – and care and am fascinated by all the things you do in your life. Your stories and photos have gotten me through long nights with the baby, early mornings, and boring commutes. They fill the spaces of my days and weeks and months and remind me that we aren’t alone, that there are more things that unite us than divide us, that our senses of humor will take us further than our politics, and that it’s fun to like people and things – and not just on a birthday.
I wish I could shout out to all of you individually – I thought about it – but instead, here are a few things that make me happy and proud to share a community with all of you:
- *The talented musicians and creatives rocking the Boston music scene – I might not be at the shows, but I’m cheering you on from home!
- *Watching the babies of the amazing couples in my birthing class – and a other friends who had babies around the same time as my son was born – have first smiles, first finger foods, vacations, and other fun milestones
- *Moms and dads who are facing the challenges of premature birth with grace and courage. Thank you for sharing your journeys and I’m rooting for you.
- *Three sets of twins who have arrived or are arriving this year, and several more experiencing the joys of first – and second – pregnancies. I love the creative announcements, the non announcements, the belly shots, and the food references.
- *A handful of bloggers and thoughtful article sharers – even if I don’t always comment, I usually read. Thank you for curating my life better than Arianna Huffington ever could.
- *High school friends and acquaintances and former crushes who are living full lives – some in the suburbs with families of their own, others in the city still partying up a storm, and some whose lives have taken unexpected twists and turns (too many to list – but I do mean all y’all CHS grads!)
- *Road warriors – for work and for fun – who have traveled to or lived in Crete, Aspen, India, Alaska, Napa, Nairobi, Spain, and lots of other places I’d love to visit. I’m always thrilled to discover when friends who don’t know each other end up in the same place!
- *Those who have lost loved ones – parents, siblings, friends, and pets – where I know that grieving outlasts the online flurry of sympathy and kind words.
- *The number of people in my universe who run marathons, 10ks, and triathalons makes me think that my 3x a week spin-at-home routine needs to get shaken up a bit.
If I didn’t list you here, please don’t think it’s because I’m not sending you loving-kindness! As I made this list, I realized that it’s so easy to make it a habit of sending good vibes to friends and strangers alike. And it makes spending time on Facebook a heart-growing practice. Try it!