I cannot be at Peace when I am unconnected. We live on a planet, indeed, in a Universe that is connected. Gravity. Symbiosis. Love. Yearning. Friendship. Seasons. Ideas. Values. All of these forces and feelings exist in connection with one another.
To be alive is to be connected. When we break those connections — or try to disconnect from these powerful forces — we lose our strength and wisdom.
For all we hear about teamwork, our society lifts up individuality and extols the virtues of ‘rugged individualism’. It pretends we are ‘self-made people’ and self-reliant. When you hear people say that, do you turn your head to stare, flabbergasted that they quite actually believe that this is true..
Recently, I quoted Alden Nowlan, a Canadian poet, who was talking both about connections in our lives to people and to understanding.
“The day a child realizes that all adults are imperfect, they become an adolescent; the day they forgive them, they become an adult; the day they forgive themselves, they become wise.”
We are intricately connected with each other and with the world around us.
The challenge with connections is that they demand trust. Sometimes our trust in others falters, perhaps due to their wrong-doings or different values from ours. At times, their trust in us and our trust in ourselves weakens due to our fears or our limited beliefs in our own capabilities. In either case, connections become strained and break down.
In order for me to reestablish connection, I must go back to where I learned connection. Some of that, and yes, I was very lucky, was in my birth family. The strength of that connection allowed me to Love others and fold them within my heart. Those connections extended to a pebble, a stream, to all of the natural world. Nothing brings me greater JOY, makes my heart sing, or makes me feel more secure, as the awareness of being connected. In this I regain confidence to rely on/celebrate all my connections.
“Movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.”
—Grace Lee Boggs, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
In our youth, when life works as it should, safety is provided by our families. That safety allows us to explore our connections in the wider world, scurrying back for reassurance when those connections stretch beyond our comfort zone.
Each return to the safety of home base strengthens those ties. The reinforced connections allow us to reach further and to risk making more and different connections.
What are your primary connections? What arouses your curiosity enough to keep stretching and making new connections? What connections make your heart sing?
Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.