Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Expand your territory

Whenever my sisters and I get together we make brain stew. We dump our thoughts into a common vessel and swim around in it, collectively chewing for a minute or two on a piece of thought and then, still starving, dive back in for another nibblet.

On a recent trip to visit my parents in the concrete jungle of Phoenix, my sister Amy and I took a coveted kid-free walk. A few miles in, baking under the high sun as we walked towards the McDowell mountain range, we started the inevitable sister stew. We ended (as I often directed conversations at that time) to my recent single state. I was stuck in too many months of post heart-break, betrayal and divorce.Amy's contribution was this: "expand your territory." I remember the moment. I locked in. "Remember these words," I told myself.

"Expand your territory" for me reads: open up, get dirty, wallow around in the muck, take risks, MAKE CONTACT. What is most profound for me about this idea is the inherent potential. Anybody can expand their territory. There are billions of people in the world. There are infinite moments of contact between each of us and those billions. The hand gestures with the woman in the Lexus SUV who insists on letting me cross the four-lane busy street with my snail-paced 5-year-old in tow- contact. Negotiating which lane to swim laps in with the profoundly weird man in the purple speedo- contact. Making eyes with the exhausted pony-tailed single dad on the plane who is sitting two rows in front of his nine-year-old daughter because no one will switch seats with him- contact. Cyber-stalking a cute guy from a cafe and emailing him- contact.

The possibilities for expanding your territory are endless. Thanks for the inspiration sis.

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