#1000speak | What Connection Means to Me

webWe are so fortunate to live in this digital age; it allows anyone and everyone to be a writer, either through publishing a book, or posting on a blog. We all have a voice. Thus we can be heard all around the world, not just the tiny patch of it which we physically inhabit, and make connections with like-minded people we could never otherwise hope to have met. We are all connected.

Perhaps even more important is our growing awareness of our interconnectedness; the ability to see a universal ‘oneness’ in all things, that no matter who or where we are, or how different we appear to be on the outside, we are all part of one whole.

Science has taken this idea a huge step further; archaeo-anthropology and archaeo-genetics can now trace our genetic pathway back through thousands of years to the origins of mankind, so determining our common ancestors. It seems we are more interconnected than some of us might like to admit.

Take, for example, the recent exhumation of the body of King Richard III from beneath a car park in Leicester; he died on August 22nd 1485, yet using samples of DNA obtained from his remains 530 years later, it was possible to trace his descendants around the globe who are alive today. Imagine discovering that connection!

All these strands which connect us in the modern world seem as fragile and intricate as spiders webs. They are invisible, blurred by distance, connections we can neither see, nor feel. They are easy to overlook, ignore, deny. Herein lies the disconnect.

Our connections on the web, social media, local radio, tv and so on informed us of the devastation of the two recent earthquakes in Nepal which left over 8500 people dead, and we were shocked. But we are immune, because we are so far removed from such horror. In our part of the world, these disasters rarely happen.

Watching or listening to such events unfold in distant lands to people we don’t know arouses only vague senses of sorrow and empathy. A quick donation later, and we’ve moved on to discussing the weather, or preparing the dinner, and tomorrow there will be new news.

But the disconnect is insidious and sly. It creeps stealthily into our everyday lives, and our immediate community. I know, because I see it and I feel it. I always have.

Every day I battle with my twin demons; connection and disconnection. I disconnect so I can write; so I can avoid large social gatherings, where I mill about on the fringes feeling more disconnected than ever; so I can avoid feeling different, or inadequate, in fact so I can disconnect from my feelings of disconnectedness, which society makes me feel so aware of.

While I’m doing that, I’m connecting via my blog and social media with people who judge me only on my content, on what I have to say, on my voice, on my interaction. No one here finds me lacking. If they do, they just disconnect, unfollow, never comment again. It’s a wonderful freedom. No wonder more and more people are joining the blogosphere.

The most precious connection of all, though, is that I share with my children. It’s a multi-faceted jewel which is constantly growing and evolving. It’s more than words, mere communication; its nurturing, displays of love and affection, sharing, taking an interest in each other, making time for each other, and so much more. I am reminded of this daily, when I lift my non-verbal child from her bed every morning. Lack of communication does not make for lack of connection; her squeals of joy when I walk in the room, and the intensity of her hugs are proof enough of that.

53 Comments on “#1000speak | What Connection Means to Me

  1. Love your excellent post, Ali and I’m so glad you linked up with #1000Speak this month. πŸ™‚ I touched on this issue of connection via the internet in my Connection post, but was more focused on face-to-face connections so didn’t cover this avenue properly. You certainly did. It’s a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people (as you said) and we’re very blessed in this age to have the advantage to do so. I think time is also a factor. Life is always so busy. We don’t always have time to go visit and chat with others for hours on end, to attend parties and other get-togethers. We’re very blessed that we can stay up to speed with with friends and family and associates via connections online. It’s not as great as actually spending time with the people we value, but at least it helps keep us connected. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you! I completely agree with you on the time issue. Even with my ‘real’ friends in my local community I often prefer to text rather than phone as I dont often have the time to get into a long conversation. But when we do all eventually meet up, its extra special!

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  2. You have explained so well the strangeness of our era where we all have the opportunity to connect with anyone and yet also remain for the most part isolated in our communities. It is my daughter’s 35th birthday today and in her company I still feel that joy you describe.

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    • Wonderful Hilary! I guess its a feeling that never goes away for a mother. Funny how, when I decided to have children, I thought a lot about caring for them, but never once thought about myself as a mother.

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  3. I feel my connection to everyone in the world–yet when terrible things like that earthquake happen I find myself consciously disconnecting because it is just too much to bear. Social media can foster both connection and disconnection, it seems.

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    • You make a great point, Leslie! I feel the same. I feel helpless and sad, and its an uncomfortable and distressing feeling which I cant endure, the only way is by ‘switching off’ mentally and emotionally. I think its self preservation. If I didnt do that, well, I dont know where I’d be! So you’re not alone. But doing so brings feelings of guilt too.

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      • I feel the same way with these huge, terrible events, Ali. For those of us who are highly empathic, we can, tap into the energy of anything coming into our awareness. There needs to be a balance between feeling and being affected with others and functioning in our lives, or else we simply experience compassion fatigue. I believe we were not evolutionarily designed to empathize with a potential of up to 7 billion people. 50000 years ago our species lived in small autonomous or semi-autonomous groups, we wired our responses to connection and disconnection long before we had anything like city-states or societies. Sometimes the enormity of the world does more displacing and alienating and overwhelming than any kind of cohesive cooperative bringing together. On the other hand, there’s a global interdependence movement which is starting to advocate that nations and cultural groups think globally about our problems and needs. We’ve reached the point where our species, in some realms of our living together, cannot ignore each other–for instance, our environmental impact, the effects of war, the huge incongruity of resources. Spiritually, I feel this interconnection most of the time. That’s probably because I experience the world both in the way that all beings and ecosystems are sacred and alive, and exist in a delicate interdependent balance, but I also feel, more difficult to find the words, part of a whole, a one, of all that is. Not being true to who I am, not reaching out, believing in the illusion I am alone, causes disconnection and great suffering. In my experience, interconnection and belonging is an integral part of the fabric of all that is, and we are never alone. Our world divides us in unnatural ways–compartmentalizing our lives, manufacturing reasons for comparison and competition, creating work conditions that commodify us, instilling fear and a disincentive toward novel ideas and invention which may or may not succeed, discouraging relationships with colleagues, divorcing us from food production, and more of that kind of thing. . Being present and open to each other, seeing us for who we really are, creates and recreates connection, so also acceptance and compassion, and love, and sharing response-ability for this planet and caring for each other. I could probably talk for ours on this…sorry, lol! Thanks for such a wonderful reflective thoughtful post!

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  4. Such a lovely and loving post, Ali. I think your children, but especially your daughter, have given you the gift of touching other people’s hearts, along with your other extraordinary talents.

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  5. Fabulous post. Connection is important to all of us. I imagine a lot of people are either reclusive or not well, have few friends or can’t get around much anymore, who still have the ability to stay in touch with the world or friends far away, not just virtual ones. I do see lots of positives, yet sometimes it can all be so overwhelming. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you! I used to feel that way too, but really, we are in control of it, not the other way around. We take just the bits that work for us, and ignore the rest. Social media can be a bit like the salesman with his foot in the door if we let it lol!

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  6. I said something similar the other day in a post, about the connections we keep making and how his blogging malarkey gives us another dimension to the many we already have. But you’ve put it so much more coherently and beautifully than my fumblings. Lovely way of putting it, Ali.

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  7. Very few real connections in my life now I am older, but ever grateful for all the many connections I have made on the WWW. I think it is fascinating how we can all interact, and yet maintain some kind of distance.
    Good to meet you, by the way…

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    • Thank you Jenanita! Good to meet you too! A lot of people criticise the WWW for its intrusiveness, but I dont see it that way. Its a new lease of life, if anything. It has only the impact on anyones life that they allow. I’m grateful for the connections it has enabled me to make too. 😊

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  8. This ability to connect has happened almost overnight in the great scheme of things. For many years if you had something to say you wrote a letter to the paper maybe. The braver stood on steps at Hyde Park Corner and orated. There were many more marches and parades. Now it’s the all-invasive Internet. And you’re right Ali, for the first time everyone has an equal voice and it’s not only the loudest or most eloquent that can be heard.
    Thanks for another thoughtful post.

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    • Thanks Roy! It certainly has happened almost overninght… within the space of one generation at least. Its jard to believe that growing up in the 80s, the home computer was only just making an appearance… look where we ate now? My sons just cant imagine a world without computers and smartphones.

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    • Nowhere near, Nick! My blog is still just a baby! #1000speak is a new wave of meaningful blogging, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.

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        • Neither did I, but I found Sacha Black through her great #1000speak post on bullying, which really struck a chord with me, as I had been bullied as a teenager. These posts are to raise awareness of certain issues. I think its a great idea. Plus, Sacha and I chat nearly every day… another connection I would never have made otherwise!

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          • Haven’t we all (been bullied).

            My highschool nemesis is now a good friend, surprisingly enough. Unsurprisingly enough, he denies any memory of the bullying. Hmm… πŸ™‚

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            • That’s interesting! Still in denial after all these years… that you have forgiven him and forged a friendship speaks volumes for the type of person you are, Nick. Kudos to you! 😊

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  9. And we must remember to use our voice for those who have no voice. There are so many around the world not allowed to speak, to give opinions, to be free – to do what we can do so easily. Our voices must be loud – for them.

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  10. You did it… I adore this post. It’s so thought provoking. I like you feel that disconnect too often in real life. It’s a frustration, a sadness. But through the bloggisphere, I like you am starting to meet people who don’t judge (or do but for the right reasons) people on the same wave length connected for more reasons then what “she said” or what car, buggy or handbag I have. It’s wavelength connection – that connection that makes you feel like you found kindred spirits – the same connection that gives you that feeling of ‘home’

    Lovely post 😊

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  11. Being someone who lives a solitary existance, thanks to PTSD, I agree with David and Squid. Besides which, like them I love reading your blog posts. ❀ x

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    • Being a loner hasnt eroded your charm, I see! 😊 Thanks Jack! Yes, in the past you may have been isolated, but not anymore. Those connections may not be physical, like having a friend drop by, but they’re still there for you whenever you need them. I’m so happy to have found mine.

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  12. Personally I can’t see you having too many disconnections and though we may not follow your daughter’s example of a squeal of delight, I’m sure there are smiles all round when we see a post from you.
    It’s not just your subject matter, which is hugely interesting, but the passion you put into it.
    The net is the only way I can connect with people as in real life I have no voice and don’t socialise indeed can’t face people yet here we are connecting on the net because your natural warmth invites people to ‘Come on in and set a while’.
    My blog gives me a voice in the world but I’m nothing unless someone listens and maybe reaches out as you and others have, rapidly becoming my online family with whom I can talk.
    Those common roots we have are being drawn a little closer again by the connections we make here and the pleasure we have in reaching out to our fellow bloggers.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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    • That is so true, David! I love how you describe our common roots drawing us closer through our technological connections! Its almost as if somehow humanity lost its way a little, but now theres a consciousness reawakening in ma y of us thats pulling us together. What a lovely comforting thought! For those who may be isolated from society for whatever reason, blogging is a wonderful way of connecting with the world, isnt it? How lucky we are! 😊

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  13. That need to be heard is strong in all of us, I think. This is what caused men to draw on caves, to invent symbols and gather for story telling. Even now, across thousands of miles with only digital characters on a screen to connect us, we can recognise a kindred spirit.

    So whether we paint the walls, write war and peace, or laugh delightedly at our mother coming into the room, we all want to be heard and delight in the experience of touching another’s mind.

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