I've spent this summer thinking and journaling about connection: the strong but ever-shifting connection of seasoned love and parenthood, the exciting but fragile connection of new friendship, and the painful, broken connection of damaged relationships. Making and maintaining connection is a mysterious waltz of up and down, back and forth, push and pull. In rhythm, we pull close, then twirl away, share truths and hide secrets, confess joyful feelings and nurse painful hurts. Like the best choreography- it is beautiful and complicated. As I journaled, an image flashed in my mind. I quickly sketched it out.
For some of us, initiating new relationships is the hardest step. We stand to the side, watching others dance, wishing to join the party. Like a tiny spider hanging by a thread, we dangle close, but quickly shimmy back to our safety net at the first sign of contact. We've been wounded by the quick misjudgement and criticism of others in the past so we approach slowly and scramble back to safety before someone smacks us down.
For others, forming deeper, stronger connections is the challenge. We are easily approached, happy to dance- but only for a fast, light-hearted step or two. Surface relationships come naturally, but stronger connections are hard. We keep ourselves wrapped in a protective shell because we feel messy on the inside, afraid to show our secrets. We've been let down by those we trust or fear rejection if anyone discovers who we really are. We form surface connections but wear our fiercest body armour- pushing others away before they get too close.
Or perhaps initial, deep connection comes easily but maintaining it is the struggle. We meet, we connect, and we open up. We move in perfect rhythm until someone steps on someone's toes. Then we stumble, lose our balance, and falter backwards. It's a mad- two-step to get back on track, and sometimes we can't, the connection is broken and we move apart for a bit.
And finally the disconnect. Cutting the strings that hold us together can be the hardest of all. Even when we are so tangled and weighed down by our dance partner that we can no longer leap with joy, it is hard to find the courage to break free and dance our solo to the beat of our own music.
I suspect that all of us are a combination of these at different times in our lives. Some of us are all of them every day. It's part of being human. But, when we are open and willing, the dance falls into place; we partner well with a lover, a child, a friend or a stranger and the connection is magical. These moments are pure joy and are what keep us coming back to the dance.
We live in a time when connection is more important than ever- yet harder than ever. We are anxious and hiding ourselves- refusing to dance with each other, refusing to ask others to dance. Shoot- we are even refusing to stop binge-watching long enough to take a peek at the dance party. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live like that. Anyone wanna dance?