Maggie Lyon

By Maggie Lyon

mbg Contributor

Maggie Lyon is a mother, writer, spirit practitioner, and meditation teacher based in New York and Hawaii. She has a Masters in English Education, has taught high school and college English, and edited manuscripts. She also sits on the host committee for the Stanford PACS Philanthropy Summit.

A couple smiling and unpacking paper bags with food in cozy room in contemporary apartment

Image by Sofie Delauw / Stocksy

June 16, 2023

Ever wonder why dropping the dry cleaning, picking up a prescription, or grabbing a loaf of bread at the local bakery can feel so satisfying? Errands can mean so much more than crossing chores off a list if we allow them to. In fact, they can be opportunities for surprising micro-connections that evoke feelings of belonging and camaraderie.

When a conversation in the grocery line jumps from innocent to revelatory in minutes, or the whimsical chatter with a barista builds day by day, we are reminded of the power that lies in community. Here’s why errands present a unique opportunity for connection and how to show up to them for maximum upliftment, joy, and enrichment.


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Why errands can be opportunities for connection

Errands are opportunities for connection for two clear reasons. The more overt one is that errands are so regular and routinized. They never really end—one gets crossed off the list only to be replaced by another, and we simply can’t escape doing them. So by their very nature, errands hand us a number of chances to converse and relate, again and again, to a regular cast of characters in our neighborhood.

The second reason is more discreet. It is not about what defines the errands themselves, but about what describes us while we are running them. When we are focused on getting chores done, we are not nearly as particular, intentional, preplanned, or self-conscious. We forget to care so much about how we are seen or what others think of us. Instead, we are engrossed in the tasks of the moment. We simply are.

In this innocent state of nonchalance, we are simultaneously more peeled back, effortless, and authentic. Sans the artifice, we are more approachable and unwittingly receptive to actually being seen, known, met, and spoken to. This can unwittingly attract easeful connections.

How to show up for your errands

With all this in heart and mind, let’s talk about how you can show up more for your errands, mundane as they may be, and transform your worldly chores from tedious transactions to vibrant interactions:


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Open yourself up to joy.

First, might I suggest an initial reframing of how you actually feel about your errands? Before stepping outside, sit with your thoughts and attitudes toward the tasks themselves. Namely, drop the grumpy drag factor so typically linked to chores, and open instead to the possibility of enjoying them. Change your point of view, turn the boring on its head, and alternatively make your stance on errands fanciful.

To build on this initial shift into self-connection, try musing on your errands as potent possibilities for outward interaction. Trust in the mystery of the human contact that may occur. Our desire for connection is downright rudimentary, so why not let your errands satisfy this tender, basic need? Connection is indeed a balm to suffering.


Check in with your body as you move.

As part of your willingness to rethink and feel differently here, begin to consider errands as acts of quirky self-care, as walking meditation, where you commune and connect with yourself as you rhythmically step along. Check your posture. Is your heart open; is your gait strong? Say a mantra like “I am living well, I choose to live well” to yourself as you walk. Seriously, try it. Drudgery, be gone.


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Practice kindness with yourself in others.

Next, relax into how freeing it is to (for now) be only loosely recognized in a sweet dance between being known and unknown. This balance will afford you a sense of wonder and curiosity as you start to engage with the people on your path. 

When you do interact, commit to honoring those whom you meet as genuine beings with real lives and stories. Broaden your vision, acknowledge them, and see them as much as they see you.


Reflect on the experience.

Last, once you get home, check in with yourself. How did your errand engagements make you feel? Absorb the stability, the playfulness, the confidence that may have arisen inside as a result of you making your rounds. 

No matter what, be grateful: Grateful to yourself for what you’ve accomplished, grateful for the cosmic swirl of your day-to-day landscape. Take comfort in the connection that takes shape when you allow for it—primal and divine at once.


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The takeaway

The micro-connections that occur as part and parcel of our daily errands create a feeling of singular community. They remind us of the unique layers of bonding available to us as humans, and they can give us an appreciation for our humanity in all its oddity and foible. The delight derived from these surprising human contacts, however trivial they may appear, is real. Our health and well-being benefit greatly when we embrace errands as a total win-win.


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