Posted by: scintillatingspeck | September 21, 2013

Connection.

I keep spiraling around, reassessing my priorities, attempting to define what’s most meaningful and true for me so that I can take action accordingly.  It’s been exhausting, occasionally exhilarating, and frequently weepy work.  Understand, I wouldn’t trade this work for anything, despite how wrenching it often feels.  One priority that’s been insisting on more attention, more thorough exploration in all its facets, is the importance of connection in my life.

What do I mean by connection?  Can I come close to defining what this means to me?  I mean, I need to feel that I am in close relationship with my loved ones.  I’m already tripping over myself, wondering how to define “loved ones”– I can’t limit this only to my most intimate relationships.  I need to include friends and community in my circle of loved ones, as well.  But how to define community?  Or intimate, for that matter?  Am I hoping that definitions will somehow make the huge, lumpy knots unravel?

What I know is that isolation settles icily on my shoulders.  It comes from within and without, this frost.  It’s not constant, but the forces that create that chill have been present for as long as I can remember.  I have spent much of my life energy on trying to address this.  I still feel like a rank beginner, attempting to understand the walls, insecurities, and habits within myself that often prevent me from feeling close to others.  I feel stymied, as well, by the systems and structures that seem to impose isolation ruthlessly: the demands of the industrial economy that everyone feed it rather than each other; the cultural expectations that we should live in walled-off little nuclear families; the way it seems that most people I know are trying so hard to keep up with long work days and school days and have little time for anything else.  And pervasively, throughout, are shadows of mistrust, fear, and trauma.

What do I have control over?  I have no illusions of changing the entire culture.  Can I shift myself?  Others around me?  If someone close to me finds it impossible to communicate effectively, in a way that I desperately need, what do I do with that?  When I feel close in spirit to people who are far away, but suffer for lack of physical proximity, what do I do with that?  When I feel that intense urge to “build community” and attempt it, repeatedly, and burn out or feel devastated, repeatedly, what do I do with that?  It’s hard to avoid feeling like I’m failing at this.

I’m straining to reach Enough-ness.  I’m trying to train myself to focus on moments of connection, even if they’re fleeting.  Perhaps I’m flailing in ridiculous notions of what connection is supposed to be.  Perhaps I need to remind myself that I’m not entitled to anything.

I want to escape the tangles of my own fraught emotional web.  I see that the traps I fall into are sticky and deep.

An anti-demon declares in a deep, soothing voice:
Lay it down, child.  Don’t expect to have this all figured out.  Stop thinking so much.  You’re in sugar withdrawal, your head hurts, your soul hurts, and there are compelling reasons for you to feel disoriented and afraid.  That’s all so, and I’m here to tell you, you’re okay.  You’re not alone.  You are inevitably, utterly connected, in ways that you can’t always see.  Do you love?  Does that love feel conditional on your attention span, your activities, your proximity, your ability to communicate?  Of course not.  How about you trust that that love is everywhere, threaded through your past, present, and future, available to you if you can let it in and let it flow out?  How about you take the world exactly as it is, take the people you love exactly the way they are, stop berating yourself for all your perceived failures?  Go on, try it.

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