Creativity Magazine

Pondering Connection at the Gate of 2019

Posted on the 26 December 2018 by Berijoy @berijoy
Pondering Connection at the Gate of 2019 "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." ― Herman Melville

We are about to begin another new year and I wonder what is on the horizon for me in 2019. I have some clues. For the last few months I have been pondering my life. But I have also been thinking about people and how they behave. As humans being we are somehow inextricably caught up with each other, whether we want to be or not. Since everything is connected in some way, (and I cannot begin to explain the physics of anything), somehow everything we think, say, and do spirals out and impacts upon every other thing. If I am not able to adjust my perception about so-called reality and see differently, then I may well be tethered to a reality that I may not be able to escape unscathed.

I've been thinking of myself - how much I might matter to people. Of course, I know I'm loved by my family, by my very good ride or die friends. But I'm thinking about the people who cross our daily lives - those of whom we casually say, "Meet my friend, ________," and what that really means. In my experience, it's often just an empty phrase because friendship (as I experience it) bears and requires more evidence. It is heavy, weighted, solid. Friendship, as I witness it, often really means "acquaintance," someone we have met at this or that occasion, or, in this or that context. Real friendship extends beyond ourselves and connects us with others of us in a way that transcends (situations, places, conditions, and time), and transforms. To me, it is much more than the instant text-and-go way we currently interact with each other, and that is so much a part of the fabric of societies these days.

I think of these kinds of questions because I am so far away from where I was born and grew up. When you are an expatriate, you seek to find a place among your new community (your host country), but also, among those with whom you share the expatriate experience. You seek to find camaraderie and a kind of homeplace/homespace.

You seek to find and develop new and real friendships.

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is un-acclaimed.

~Kahlil Gibran

Still, it seems that nowadays people are so bogged down by the demands of daily living, that cultivating friend or family relationships meaningfully may fall by the wayside. We are so caught up in our own lives that there doesn't seem to be enough time to share with people who matter to us, except, perhaps, during ritualized holidays celebrations, and such.

And even in our homes away from home, as in the expat experience, the bonds forged with others is often superficial, at best.

This is what modern living has wrought.

But these times, especially, call for deepening bonds, building closer communities, and ask for less reliance on technology. Despite our rapid so-called progress and jump into future living, we seem to have lost (be losing) something of the connectedness upon which communities depended before the advent of heavy industrialization and technological advancement.

As things speed up, as we approach the next few years, we will need to be able to rely on each other in deeper ways than in recent times. We will need stronger bonds than the quick community that gathers in the face of disaster or catastrophe, and which falls back to the normal non-involvement after the crisis has passed. In the days ahead, we will be challenged to sustain these spontaneous connections in a more prolonged and reliable way. We may need to depend on each other for comfort, resources, and our very welfare. There are changes ahead of us that will require sharp thinking, emotional and mental support, and self-knowledge (which we can share with others), among other things.

I wonder if we will be up to the task.

Perhaps it's nostalgia that has me reflecting upon what I experienced in the "good old days," but perhaps, not. I have carefully cultivated my friendships, and know they withstand the flimsiness of those makeshift friendships established on social media platforms and in self-serving networking or other social settings.

I want to encourage us to privilege real social interactions, even as we reach for our devices. We can never build solid stable connections, when all we do is text and email, take selfies and try to capture others' attention by sharing snapshots of our lives, or the latest scandalous events of the day on our Facebook timelines. These times may demand that we move in sync with this quick-paced living, but the real needs of our humanity still require the care and attention that nurtures and provides longevity among human beings.

I hope there is a happy medium we can find to counterbalance what I perceive as growing isolation from each other in most societies, watered by more and more technological development. I hope we find ways to grow and deepen our bonds now, in ways that will be vital in the future. Real human closeness and connection is not only important in the sense of knowing upon whom you can depend. It is good for the heart, the soul, and the mind.

It is good for thriving.

© 2018. Egyirba High. All Rights Reserved.

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