I was standing in Central Park at sunset a few Saturdays ago. Standing to honor my best friend and his brand-new marriage. I have given a few speeches in my life, but not too many carry the significance of a best man toast, and I deeply wanted to honor this celebration of love in the right way.
So I spoke from the heart. Speaking from the heart is an act of service. Sharing our truth enables us to connect more deeply. That’s true when delivering a wedding toast or during a conversation with our significant other. Sometimes it’s hard. Often it takes practice. During my toast, I shared a short sentiment on love from one of my favorite teachers, Don Miguel Ruiz:
”To become masters of love, we have to practice love. … To master a relationship is therefore about action.”
Ruiz wrote a beautiful book called “The Mastery of Love.” In it, he defines the meaning of love as an “equilibrium between gratitude and generosity. When you practice gratitude and generosity, you see that there is love in everything around you.”
This is a beautiful way to see the world. I also believe love and connection are precisely what the world needs more of right now. That notion was deeply reinforced to me by the overwhelming response I received to the recent Goalcast video on Pouring Happiness.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are likely familiar with the story of my original meeting with barista Lily Olson in the Minneapolis airport on Christmas Eve. Now, thanks to Goalcast, 33 million more people know her story. It’s a story that has been my privilege to tell, and today I better understand its resonance.
In a world where loneliness is now considered a health epidemic, we are suffering from a crisis for connection. Forty percent of Americans report regularly feeling lonely, up from about 20% in the late 1980s. The good news is we each have the opportunity to make a difference. That was clear from the thousands of messages we have received in response to the video. Some of those stories included detailed accounts of suffering, loss, tragedy and the hardships of the human experience. But inside each of the messages lived a light of hope, healing, help and redemption. So often, in the darkness, that light gets re-ignited by someone who cares.
You simply never know what someone is going through or when someone needs you to be your best.
We are wired for love and connection. It’s where we heal. It’s clearly how we must lead. The #LilyEffect is a philosophy and a practice that anyone can embrace to build relationships that move beyond a transaction and connect us to something more.
Thank you to all of the people who reached out around this message. Please know you poured happiness into my heart in a way that changed me. I am grateful.
I am also going to keep practicing love. I hope you’ll join me.