By Cristin Cooper
Not surprising perhaps, the question returns: “Like, HOW do you introduce yourself to your neighbors?”
Interesting emphasis on the word how…
Perhaps a how-to answer will suffice.
“Well,” I respond, “I go up to my neighbors and say, ‘Hi, my name is Cristin. I live in apartment 4065. I just wanted to come over and formerly introduce myself. It’s nice to meet you.’”
Yes, I think, it is that simple of a gesture.
And, yet, is that simple? What makes it simple? It seems the repeated emphasis on the word how points beyond a tutorial. Plus, this is a recurring question.
I like what Benedictine Nun Joan Chittister offers: “Simplicity is the habitually relaxed grasp…a life without compulsion…a life without a need to control…”
With Joan’s insight in mind, perhaps, the simplicity of a shared handshake lies in having a relaxed grip. To expect a handshake to somehow validate our sense of self-worth, security, and place in the world is silly really.
Maybe the answer to the question, “How does one introduce themselves to their neighbors?” lies in setting our handshakes, and ourselves, free. Releasing any desire to wrangle an introduction in our favor.
Fear of such an exchange not leaning in our favor certainly chokes our assurance in crossing the street to say “Hello.”
Together, I'm interested in practicing engaging our neighbors with relaxed grips. Freely extending our hands and ourselves. It seems to me the gesture is that simple.