Connection is Everything
A Chinese Proverb tells us succinctly about the power of Connection:
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees.
If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”
Ever since childhood and playing with my sisters, I understood, even if primitively, the importance of being connected to other people. As I grew, I realized that connection doesn’t just happen once and stay forever, it takes nurturing and learning and, at times, compromise. Most assuredly, it requires understanding and compassion. Any of us could make a long list of traits and behaviors that go into keeping our connections strong and resilient. And in some measure, it is a life-long learning that changes with each stage of life we achieve.
I was born and raised in Chicago until I was 7 years old. As the youngest of three, I most often learned about connection in those early years from my sisters until I entered first grade, when I was flooded with entirely different perspectives from oodles of classmates and friends-in-the-making.
In my family of origin, I recall learning in visuals, repetition, and in feelings states. (Remember being 3, 4, and 5 years old when much of learning was not in full sentences and paragraphs—rather in snippets of words and pictures of what we were understanding?) Some of my youngest and most memorable lessons with my sisters are these:
- Being little helps you find the best hiding places for Hide-n-Seek
- Being in a group of 3 is perfect – sometimes you are at the heart of interaction and sometimes you are solo, even though the other two are still right there!
- If you get hurt or threatened, someone will come to comfort you and make it better
- Playing make-believe is great for imagining a world you know very little about, but still can make it come alive
- Watching shows you wouldn’t choose yourself can still help you learn and grow
- Taking turns doesn’t have to be difficult. You learn to watch what others are doing and find out all kinds of cool stuff
- During amateur hour, you learn that everyone has talent, even if you have to coax it out of them
- Christmas can be a never-ending carnival of surprises, watching people laugh and play, and having new things to learn for weeks!
We had regular story-telling in our family, especially from “Pa,” my maternal grandfather who was foreign-born Irish. He had a story to be telling us any time, any day; he always had a story. I remember my sisters and I sitting at Pa’s feet listening to the lilt of his Irish Brogue and tittering at some of the words and how they sounded to us. We were his girls—but with his brogue it came to our young ears as “girdles,” and oh how we would laugh at being his “girdles.” Pa’s stories were often about the “old country” and were rife with lore of “the wee fairies” and how important it was to respect them and never to make fun of them. Sometimes his stories had a lesson imbedded, and sometimes they were simply full of make-believe. The habit of telling and listening to stories became a bedrock of what it meant to be a family. This was one of the ways we connected, and learned about the past, to remember forever. To this day, my sisters and I can talk about the stories and memories and make it feel like it all happened just a few days ago.
How we connect ignites us and keeps us vibrant. In this time of the virus running rampant, so many people being separated and staying at a distance, it is imperative that we make new inroads of connection. This is a time to be creative in how we listen and share with one another, showing each other how to look into our partially covered faces and SEE one another.
Look and listen longer. Take the time to recognize what’s happening under the surface of your own life, and find a way to share it. Make the connection important as you take the time to ponder it and lock-in the experience—both as the story-teller and the listener. Right now, nothing more important than connection—uniting—embracing one another in acceptance and love.
If you want to transplant your life or feel the joy of physical and emotional health,
please be in touch with me!