A strange phenomenon has occurred during the last ten days or so and I’m not talking about COVID-19 itself. The world is beginning to shut down and this has led to a massive wave of reaching out. I have video chatted, or spoken on the phone with a friend or family member every single day for over a week, and often had multiple chats in one day. One thing is very clear—we all need connection.
I was lucky enough to attend to an arts conference in Montreal last fall, and there I met some incredible people—shout out to Maureen and Heather. I had been feeling a sense of disconnection in my life at that point and the conference reminded me just how important connection is to me, and to us as humans. We may not all be extroverts, and we may not all need the same level of human interaction, but I haven’t spoken to a single person lately who said they were thrilled to be alone, or cooped up right now.
This got me thinking about the ways we connect with those in our lives and how every little connection matters. As I lay in bed the other night—not sleeping and worrying about the world, I tried to switch my mind’s focus and instead started thinking about all the people in my life, and all the big and small ways we were connected. I thought about my writing teacher, Mary, in Toronto who I haven’t seen in person in three years but who I am still connected to—we do writing coaching over Skype now. Mary had such an important impact on my creativity and writing and also in my life through her meditation courses as well. This led me to think about my acquaintances in general who I may not see in person much, if at all but who I am connected to still through social media. I appreciate the small ways that they make me laugh online, or congratulate me on an accomplishment, or offer great tips and advice. I thought about work friends from over the years, and the ways they helped to shape my career and life. I think about my wonderful friends from all around the world and the vital ways they helped me become who I am today. And of course, I think about my family here in BC and on the east coast of the US, and in other parts of the world and the role each of them plays in my life. I even think about my grandparents who are all gone now, but who will always be so special to me and how I wish I could still have them in my life. I miss them.
These days I imagine that I’m building an invisible but very real magnetic field of energy around me that is sending out beams of connection to each of these people, near and far. The energy is always there, humming, but when I get to talk to them it sparks and strengthens and sends the energy bouncing back and forth between us. Each energy beam is essential in my life and fills me with joy and sustains me during this time.
I’m lucky to live with a loving and caring husband who I also happen to love spending time with, but I’m also very aware of how so much time together could strain even the strongest couple, so I want to make sure I don’t rely on him too much for all my social needs at the moment. I realize how much I need everyone that populates my circle of connection right now and how grateful I am for each phone call, video chat, text, email, or instant message.
Check in on those you love, or those you care about even just a little bit right now. Find creative and fun ways to connect—like the family yoga class that my cousin Polly led yesterday via Zoom. Reach out, and remember that although we’re physically distancing ourselves right now from people, we can still find meaningful connection.