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Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Over the holidays I had a nice phone chat with my elderly neighbor.  That is to say, the neighbor I lived next door to when I was 4-11 years old.  36 years ago.  I have seen her perhaps 6 times in those 36 years but I will tell you—no time has passed when we talk.  It is yesterday that she was making me cookies and complaining about our dog pooping in her yard.  We have kept in touch mainly through the lost art of “letter writing”…does that ring a bell?  No?  Anyhoo, it got me thinking about the nature of true connection, what makes some people “stick” while others fade away. 

We all have those people in our lives…it doesn’t matter if you have been apart for 100 years; you can always pick right up where you left off.   The expression “If you don’t use it, you lose it” is in this case far less accurate than the idiom “It’s like riding a bicycle”.  True connection is like riding a bicycle.  Once you have it, you can never lose it

Moving around quite a bit in my life, I have discovered this as the ultimate truth:  what is real is forever.  It is just waiting for you to put your attention on it again.  We have all heard the silly Sting song “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”.  We have, right?  Sting may be silly (oh, come on, he IS!!!!) but this is actually profound common sense…chase it, and it flees.  Accept it without attachment and it is yours, almost definitely. 

As a Cancer (crab) and a clinger, it goes against my inborn nature not to be grasping after all that I love.  But I have learned the hard way that without a doubt “letting go” is the quickest path to stability, as counterintuitive as that may seem.  I have experienced the joy of many relationships spanning multiple decades and I am always astounded and relieved to realize that no real “work” is necessary.  Just being present for whatever occurs when it does is the “trick”.  But it is a trick fewer people can accomplish in this day and age.
I hate to beat a dead horse here…oh, let’s be honest, I am a dead-horse-beater from way-back-when and I always will be.  HA.  Today’s dead horse is technology.  There is truly no sight that I regularly encounter that I despise more than the vision of an adult human walking along hunched up over his or her phone or other portable electronic device.  Stupid thumbs stupidly texting away; it is like going to visit “The Zoo of Idiots” for a laugh, only to discover the idiots have all escaped their cages. 

Life is short.  Look around, smell the coffee, meet the eyes of the person you are talking to and try not to salivate when your phone BINGS!  Slave to it, you know you are, while actual experiences fade from relevance.  And stop defending yourself in your head, you know I am right.  I’m not even going to mention the “while driving” thing.

Alright, now that I have gotten that out of my system…well, no, actually, I have more to say.  Did you know that there is technology available to let you know when someone has read your text (or e-mail)?  Meaning you are essentially STALKING the people you communicate with electronically and are not allowing them the privacy to respond in their own time.  Did you know there is technology that allows you to see what the other person is typing to you BEFORE they hit send?  That gives me chills, seriously. 

This strikes me as the pinnacle of desperation and fear based logic.  Clinging, grasping, looking for reasons to be upset, searching for reasons to be offended.  I am also not a big fan of Facebook as a tool in personal relationships; the sheer number of stories I have had to endure about a party that so-and-so wasn’t invited to or a snotty comment that was “liked” by a supposed ally are legion.  So I remain blissfully, ignorantly Facebook-free; I won’t even know you had a party if you don’t invite me to it, so there.
I am not going to convince anybody to give up Facebook--believe me, I have tried!!!--but I am going to issue a challenge—in this electronic age, it is so easy to find virtually anyone.  So why don't you call (don't text!) an old friend you haven’t seen in person for ages and plan a meeting.  You can talk and eat and gossip and laugh, just like old times, wouldn’t that be great and fun?  Just do me one favor, will you please?   Leave your phone in the car; unplug for a second and enjoy being human again. Let’s stop dogging each other electronically, what do you say? 

What is real is forever.  You don’t have to hover over it, breath down its neck or micromanage it.  What is, IS.  The magic of technology has allowed me to be in more constant contact with beloveds who are scattered across the land, but it hasn’t changed the nature of the connection.  When you are face-to-face with the truth, it is undeniable, palpable and unchanging.  Put down your phone and look into another person’s eyes.  If you see something there, it will always be there, waiting for you to put your attention on it again.



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