Connections

Connectivity

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Huu: “I reached enlightenment right here under the banyan grove tree. I hear it callin’ me, just like you did. See this whole swamp is actually just one tree spread out over miles… branches, spread and sink and take root and then spread some more – one big living organism, just like the entire world. Do  you think you’re any different from me? Or your friends? Or this tree? If you listen hard enough you can hear every living thing breathing together, you can feel everything growing. We’re all livin’ together, even if most folks don’t act like it. We all have the same roots, and we are all branches of the same tree.”

This is actually how I feel about everything and everyone around me. We are all connected, in ways we are yet to understand, and what affects one, affects all. Human beings are social creatures by nature and even if we don’t always feel like it, we do need each other. I have found so much support and encouragement from the people I’ve met online in this Sober Blogging Network, that it boggles my mind to think that we haven’t actually  met in person. Yet, that fact does not lessen the value of the connections we’ve made in this space.

It is interesting to think that it sometimes seems easier to reach out and ask for help, or to comfort a fellow blogger, than it is to just say hello to a stranger in “real” life. I make an effort now, to form connections with people I see regularly, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store or at the pharmacy. I smile and make small talk. In time I see people open up and respond to my attempts to connect. It does not always work, which is fine too, as I know there have been times when I have been an uncalled-for-mega-bitch to strangers. I try to be different now.

I think humans have also lost their connection to nature, to the Earth, and to the cosmos. We are more a part of the whole than we understand. Maybe that’s why so many people are lost. But I do have hope for our future. Many people are seeking truth, and yearning for ‘something’ they know they need even though they don’t know how to find it, or what ‘it’ is. They’re looking for ways to genuinely connect, which is enough for now.

~*~

This is Post C, in the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015. My 26 posts are inspired by the quotes from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, two Emmy award-winning animated television series created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The setting for both series is in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation. The shows drew on elements from East Asian, South Asian, and Western culture, and (aside from the beautifully developed characters and kick-ass story lines) are where I found a wealth of inspiration and perspective on my own life.

The rest of my A to Z 2015 posts can be found here. 

Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird?

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All of us need to feel a sense of love and belonging. We’re hard-wired to want to be connected to others – that’s what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. (Brené Brown)

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A few days ago in my human development class we were talking about what drives our need for human connection, which led me to thinking about why those of us in recovery attend meetings. According to Gerald May, meaning comes to us through our relationships in life. He says, the three facets of human spiritual longing are the desire for belonging and union, the desire for loving and the desire for just being.

Even though we seek these three we are constantly frustrated because at the same time, usually out of habit, we protect ourselves against being rejected, or being found wanting, or not measuring up. We hesitate to open up completely and allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable. We have a false perception that to express any vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We hold back because of this ‘perfection culture’, fearing rejection or a sense of shame.

But we don’t have to hold back. We connect by mutual understanding and truth in life’s experiences.

Whether it makes you smile or cringe, a truth spoken is a healing thing.”(Jennifer DeLucy)

Our most fundamental sense of well-being is derived from the conscious experience of belonging. Relatedness is essential to survival. This is the underlying reason why we attend meetings or visit each other’s blogs on the sober blogging network.

We do it to connect with others who can identify with our experiences and who we can learn from.

“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.” (Emilio Estevez)

Our feelings are our great connectors. Experiences and expressions of our feelings about those experiences allow us to connect and remember that we are not alone in this.

“Can I be honest with you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? I mean, really, really, really honest? Sometimes I get sooo scared! I’ll wake up in the middle of the night all alone, hundreds of miles away from anybody, and it’s pitch dark, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I get so scared I want to scream. Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? When it happens, I try to remind myself that I am connected to others—other things and other people. I work as hard as I can to list their names in my head. On that list, of course, is you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. And the alley, and the well, and the persimmon tree, and that kind of thing. And the wigs that I’ve made here with my own hands. And the little bits and pieces I remember about the boy. All these little things (though you’re not just another one of those little things, Mr. Wind-Up Bird, but anyhow…) help me to come back “here” little by little.” 

Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Phoenix