A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Connecting


If you popped your head through the door of a certain coffee shop on the Chiltern Hills last Saturday morning, you'd see a bunch of ladies gathered around the bar, sharing coffees and a chat.

If you looked closer, you'd spot that other than all of them being in their yoga gear, they were all very different. A range of ages, attitudes, accents and levels of make up! Yet, over lattes and freshly brewed tea, the chat was relaxed, heads were leaning in from time to time to share little pieces of private information and then back to smiles, seemingly not a care in the world. Perfect, Nancy-Meyers- movie-worthy moment, really.

How did we get here? Let me tell you a little story about making space and connecting.

About nine months ago, I decided to make space for yoga again in my life.
I found this yoga class that suits me. I like the teacher, she's got a sharp sense of humour and doesn't take herself too seriously. I like the studio, it has two skylights that look straight up into the sky when you lie down for shavasana. And most importantly, I like the class, it's hard enough and forces me to concentrate if I want to keep my balance.  
 
So I made a start and I am looking forward to my yoga classes. They provide me with space away from my daily routine of 'train into London, work, train out of London'. The move to the suburbs was meant to lead to this perfect balance between suburban bliss and buzzing London professionalism. Ha! It worked for a while, but lately this routine was just turning to a rat race. I simply had taken too much on. Once I finished a paper I was working on - on top of work and commute and all that - I promised myself to start taking it easy. Enough with the glorification of being busy.
 
So, I made space for coffee in my post-yoga Saturday morning routine!
Ground breaking? It was for me, at the time! 
I look forward to my yoga classes and my Saturday morning café routine. I started exploring the different cafes around the Chilterns... Twelve Twenty in Old Amersham, The Grocer at No5 in Gerrard's Cross, the Yurt at the Wild Strawberry Café in Great Missenden... cosy little spots with great coffee and brunch. 
 
You'd be surprised how easy it is to foolishly guilt yourself to rushing back home to do the chores, go to the supermarket, cook a decent meal and ultimately spend precious time with your partner. All worthy tasks, but so is making space for yourself. An hour is not going to break your day or let anybody down!
And then, what about sitting there for a coffee by yourself? We have these images of French and Italian women, dressed to the nines, having a coffee alone and we deem as daring and mysterious creatures ... I am not French nor Italian but I'm the kind of person who goes for a coffee alone if the sun is shining and no one is available to join. Are you?
 
The ladies in my yoga class have always been chatty and friendly. I eventually, decided to ask two of them, who I'd been chatting with the most, if they wanted to join me for a coffee on a Saturday morning. I couldn't help trying to sound chilled and you know, 'whatever', whilst I was rolling my mat away.  They couldn't that day but they said they'd love to next week. To my amazement they kept their word and next week, they came up to me after class and off we went!
 
Long story short, the word spread and we started inviting the whole class along. 
We made a choice to connect.
To my amazement - still - even some of the ladies who are normally quieter, or too well-put together, or might initially look out of place in a yoga class and you wouldn't think they'd stick around, have been keen to join in our little café routine. Last Saturday was the first time that one of the mums, who normally has to run back home, came up to me and said, 'do you have time for a coffee'?
I can't tell you how flattered I felt. That made me happy.

Don't underestimate the power of asking someone for a coffee.
Even if they turn you down, you've put the signal out there. Chances are, they won't leave you hanging for too long.
I made a choice... and then we made a choice together... and I've now met this bunch of powerhouse, accomplished women, who'd otherwise go about their day quietly, trying to cram it all in. It's a privilege that they all choose to spend some of their precious time chatting over strategic marketing and teenage behaviour, time management and commuting, yoga styles and relationships and sharing thoughts, concerns and (yes) favourite restaurants.
 
There is no major preaching moment here. When I drive back home, my day feels a bit lifted.  
 

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