Are You Checked In?

I have been zipping around the world the last 2 weeks. Chicago. Frankfurt. Los Angeles. South Florida where I live. Chicago again.

I have engaged with many folks.

Here’s what stands out.

There are those who check in. There are those who check out.

It’s that simple. Forget about the personality differences we love to fret about.

We’re either in or we’re out.

New Year’s Day I go to an Open House. Other than the host and the friend who accompanies me I know no one.

It’s an enchanted gathering. Folks are checked in. Beam with curiosity. Move toward others. Toward me. Look at my eyes. Energy is exchanged.

Checked in.

The young lady sitting next to me during an 11-hour flight from Duesseldorf to Miami. Out. Does not see me. Slides into her seat and creates a barricade. In no tangible or intangible way acknowledges my presence.

How is that even possible, I wonder?

When we check in we energize the other person. We energize ourselves.

The owner of the florist shop in Bonn. Listens. Volunteers suggestions. Checked in.

The attorney in Ahrweiler who is handling a family inheritance. Babbles incessantly. Checked out.

My client in New York. Busy as heck. During a 15-minute phone call she inquires about my mom’s 90th birthday party. Talks about her impending visit to her aging parents. We banter about parenting our parents. A 3-minute exchange.

Checked in.

I, too, am one of those folks who likes to check out. Obsessively follow my twitter trail. Listen to my favorite playlists. Set up house in my head.

Forms of checking in, as well. But checking out of where I actually am.

It’s OK. But this I know:

Checking in with others feels better. Always. Every time.

When we are tired. When when we are cranky. When we long to forget the world.

Receive the energy of others.

Look at others as you enter a space. Offer a smile. Respond to a glance. Volunteer a kind comment. Act on your impulse to engage. Notice.

Check in.

It’s how we all energize each other.

It’s how we lift each other up.

It’s how we make the world a better place.

And it feels good.

Why not?