We are intentional now.
For the good of All.
Can we move slower?
Can we sense Within Us: Strength?
Depth beneath Our Skins.
Do you remember the days when phones were just phones?
Did you ever have to “wait in line” for the one phone line at home?
When you were a teenager, maybe you use the phone upstairs, and the cord would get twisted while you had to make sure your younger sister wasn’t listening in on the downstairs line… ah those were the days.
I guess I’m dating myself here! But today I spent time on the phone with a few friends who called me. It was delightful to talk with them, not to bother with email, but to have actual conversations. We did not need any fancy software to talk, and hearing their voices really helped me feel connected.
We had time to talk, and we spoke about the different experiences we’d had since this virus situation started becoming part of the public health recommendations for self-quarantine.
I also had time to talk with my sister on the phone. She’s an R.N. and she’s making preparations in case she needs to self-quarantine after she treats sick patients in the hospital. Our parents are in their 70’s and she is thinking in advance about how to protect them by keeping her distance, though their county has not reported any cases yet.
There is a lost art to a good phone conversation. I prefer phone calls to video calls. I find that I take notice of the tone of voice more, and get less distracted by seeing my image (or someone else’s image) on a video screen. I am actually enjoying this part of our self-enforced exile. I find that when I focus on my gratitude, there is less room for fear and anxiety.
What helps you stay calm in the midst of uncertainty? Have you tried talking with friends on the phone lately?
Do you not see the brilliance?
We are connected.
It is Day of the Dead in Mexican tradition, and Samhain in the Celtic transition. How fascinating that separate cultures and traditions celebrate similar human experiences. It’s also a bit amusing (or perhaps disturbing depending on your perspective) that religions tried to either co-opt or quash the celebrations.
The Catholic Church tried to get people to stop celebrating Halloween in favor of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. But it did not work, and I think one reason the church has been successful in Mexico is that people simply adopt and meld both traditions in a kind of mash-up of pre-Hispanic and indigenous traditions.
If you want a charming and beautifully-rendered movie about the traditions of Dia de los Muertos or Dia de los Santos (Nov 1-2), check out Coco, a Disney Pixar film about the choices we make despite our families’ desires for our future.
But I digress.
What about illusions? Wasn’t that the topic of this post?
Yes. I am getting there.
The illusion that most of us live by, and what drives so much divisive politics is that we are all separate, as human beings, as cultures, as groups.
The reality is that we are all part of one miraculous and unlikely part of our earth’s existence: humankind. Whether you believe our origin is divine or a product of evolution, we are one species.
Separation is the illusion.
We are all in this together on this small planet. I believe we are becoming more and more aware of that as humans evolve. We are made up of matter and energy, swirling together in an amazing array.
Those who cannot see that perhaps lack the ability to look beyond their protective egos and reptilian “fear” brains to the wider world where we are actually just part of a larger story of the universe.
What if we dropped the illusion? What if we began to see each other as one amazing sphere of beautiful energy that can ebb and flow? What if we allowed for the mystery that we are all connected, in ways we are only beginning to understand?
What a world it could be. What a vision to embrace.
The premise of this 5-minute video is that we are all profoundly lonely. We are not heard. We are not known. But we long to be heard and known. Our true vocation may be talking with our fellow human beings about what matters to us. Writing is a symptom of social isolation, and it is a substitute for what we truly want, real human interaction.
I agree and also disagree with this premise. I like Liz Gilbert’s and Brene Brown’s notions that humans are by nature, creative. We enjoy making things, just because we can. But I like the provocative ideas that the School of Life puts out there, and I always think there is a grain of truth.
I had to continue to watch the video on “Why We Feel Lonely and Odd” because most of the time I do not actually feel lonely. I enjoy my time alone, and I am able to entertain myself quite happily most of the time. Of course if I am alone for too much time, I do long for a companion, a good friend my husband or with whom I can share my thoughts.
The concept of psychological asymmetry is fascinating, though. The fact is that we know ourselves more than we know other people simply because we only know what they show us. People often hide those things that they do not think are “acceptable” to other people. But we all have a dark side, or thoughts that are petty, grandiose or perverse sometimes.
I love the “solutions” the video proposes to this idea about loneliness: art and love. This idea of art actually contradicts the idea of the first video. The conclusion is that through art, we understand that none of us is quite as odd or as “special” as we might assume or fear. The School of Life promotes emotional intelligence, and provides a number of training resources and products to support that goal. Founded by Alain de Botton, a brilliant writer, it is worth checking out the videos of you are a psychology geek like me.
What I take away from this is that by embracing those things that make us “odd” or different, and perhaps sharing those, we see that we are truly not alone. Others share similar struggles, and though we do not always put ourselves in that vulnerable place to open up, we are inextricably linked by some larger force. Writing can help us forge those links, and I know it has for me.
It is a somewhat profound miracle that the internet has enabled a different kind of sharing than our ancestors could have dreamed. And yet, it can isolate us when we do not value real human contact, for which there is no substitute. No matter how odd or different you may think you are, reach out when you are lonely. Even if you face rejection from some people, the ultimate benefit is real human connection, which we all crave.
Happy weekend, all.