Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feed and Water your Relationships

This is my gorgeous flowering cactus, given to me by a favorite cousin-in-law who now lives on the west coast and whom I haven't seen in years. When Karen gave me this plant 18 years or so ago it was much smaller and had just a few flowers. I don't remember the occasion, but it was a very thoughtful gesture and having the plant in my kitchen prompts me to think of her often.

My cactus has flowered reliably twice a year, usually right after Thanksgiving and again in the Spring, for many years. It's survived a move, a couple of repottings, lack of sun, overwatering, sunburn, and near drowning in June of 2006 when I left it on the back porch while we had record rainfall here in New England. It's been knocked over, had branches broken off by passersby, and hit with a football, a tennis ball and whatever other kind of ball my guys would play in the kitchen when I wasn't looking.

For the past year or two, my old friend the flowering cactus was mostly dormant, flowering sporadically if at all, and looked pale and unhealthy. I realized, at last, that I hadn't been paying much attention to this old friend and it was suffering from simple neglect. After a few well-timed doses of plant food, water and summer sunshine (but not too much), it's healthy as ever and blooming like crazy.

It occurred to me that relationships, whether business or personal, can suffer equally from neglect, and can be revitalized with a little TLC. Thank your spouse for the delicious breakfast, tell your child he did a great job on that math test, email a friend you've missed, call the customer you haven't heard from in a while and ask how she's doing. You know what to do . . . .


Kathleen Hassan said...

E... excellent article and oh so true. It's all about relationships. I attended a new church yesterday and afterwards during the social hour, a woman came up to me, handed me her business card and said "Hi, I'm a healer" and I replied "Oh, how nice to meet you, I'm a healer too!" And without skipping a beat, and having not even acknowledging the common bond between us, she launched into her "sales schpiel" of her services. She couldn't get her words out fast enough and it was clear that she had no desire to form a relationship with me.

OMG... I learned so much from that one encounter and it serves as a valuable lesson to me... and hopefully to others. No matter what you're selling, it's about, as you so eloquently wrote, "the watering and feeding of our relationships."

Thanks Elaine - not only for this article, but for our beautiful relationship that we've been nurturing all our lives!! Amazing, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Wonderful remarks from the two of you. Relationships that sustain the test of time are those to cherish.

Building a relationship starts from the initial contact. And as we all know initial impressions go a long way. If we don't do a good job at the beginning we have to work much harder to get over the hurdles.

And I'm a Healer too, Listening to all of what others are doing is what I enjoy the most. This allows me to see how we can refer others to improve our success.

Hope to see you all soon for "Watering and feeding". Danielle

Elaine Spitz said...

Thanks to Kathleen and Danielle for your insights - two brilliant women and dear friends who understand "feeding and watering". And special thanks to Kathleen for showing me how to spell schpiel!