As human beings we crave CONNECTION. We just want to CLICK. With people, places, ideas, experiences. We just want to relate. And we want it as often as possible.
When I realized this, it was a bit of a “well, duh” moment blended with “okay NOW everything makes sense.” I felt compelled to share. I felt compelled to tell you, yes you, to please not be so hard on yourself when you feel threatened by incompatibility (I’m talking to myself here, too). Don’t judge yourself when you’re triggered. It’s an organic response stemming from a place of Love. It’s not our differences, our perceived weaknesses or flaws, but our reaction to them that causes suffering.
The decision, often quite unconscious, to feel “less than,” is the chief causal factor associated to our suffering.
I’m always so intrigued by how these essays go for me, I must say. Sometimes I sit down and bang one out, soaring through the overhead sky of inspiration hanging on threads of notions and kicking my feet in the starry abyss. Other times, like in this case, I start an essay on April 3rd and return to it on April 18th. So much – and I mean so much – has transpired since I first sat down with this concept. This concept that I chewed on for an entire day before downloading it, here, on this blank canvas with a blinking cursor.
Since first resting my bottom on my electric blue exercise ball (because it turns out this is infinitely more fun than a desk chair – just ask my friends, they’ve seen the videos of me bouncing on it when the blinking cursor is giving me the fish eye and my inspiration well is parched and cracked as the bed of a drought), I have decided to pick up my life and place it on a parallel path. Moving. Jobs, house, counties. I made the decision and boom: the Universe conspired. Everything aligned. But that’s a different essay entirely…although it’s totally embedded the webbing of this theme: CONNECTION. Because that’s what’s making this farewell so bittersweet. The realization of how deeply I’ve connected to this community, these past 5 years. Sometimes it takes leaving something to see how profoundly affected one has been by it in the first place…
Which leads me back to my initial point. We just want connection. It’s what we seek naturally, inherently, like beacons radiating into the night. Warm, ultrasonic waves of searching. Magnetically seeking a likeminded fit. A click.
I have always felt threatened by other people’s differences. I have always craved sameness. The “click,” if you will. It has taken me 26 years to understand this about myself and I suspect I’ll spend the next 26 or more, if I’m so blessed, investigating why I’m like this. But I think my realization earlier this month really illuminated the foundation of this circumstance.
I just want to connect. WE JUST WANT TO CONNECT.
It’s not about jealousy, it’s not about envy, it’s not about disagreement or judgement or competition or comparison. These are all the weaker (and I’m talking ice cubes in your decaf drip, watered down whiskey weak) forms of something much greater. They appear in these feeble configurations to distract us from what’s really going on. The root of everything is love. The source of everything is LOVE. Whether we recognize it on a daily basis or not, that is truth. That is gospel.
But when our delicate human psyches get swept up in the tidal wave of sickly exterior shapes like jealousy and comparison and judgement of self and others, we lose all contact with that source. The sweet nectar from which ugliness can spring. Because, remember, there is no duality. Everything is a spectrum. Love rests easily on one end, rage burns furiously in the middle and hate hangs haphazardly from the far end (I’m reminded of a favorite song, The Ballad of Love and Hate, by the Avett Brothers…I’ll link it at the end of this essay if you care to give it a listen, heart poetry).
The transparency of the matter is that we can be so damn hard on ourselves for something that is simply in our nature (at least I know I can be, so I assume you can be, too). I have spent so many years unconsciously berating myself – which manifests usually as a deep ache in my belly, a nervousness in my limbs, a scattering of my thoughts – for not being able to just accept the differences of others. The extraordinary flood of satisfaction I have experienced when I’ve met people whose checklists line up with mine (yes, yes…it all matches up, check, check, check!) and then the fretful free fall of disappointment when one of us changes, or some difference is exposed, and I feel a gap wedged between us. My brow furrows, is the gap traversable? How do we CONNECT now that we’re not the same?
It’s so funny to write this out, to really begin to dissect the concept. I know most people don’t think like me (because, well, most people are not highly sensitive, Type-A, overanalyzing, introverted intuitives). So if you’re reading this thinking, “What’s wrong with this chick? We’re different, duh, what’s the problem?” then GOOD ON YA! That makes me bounce happily on my ball for you. Because you get it. You see through the veils of weaker interpretation. You see that the differences are all perceived. They’re masks. What’s underneath is love. What lies below is the universal pulse that inevitably connects every one of our sorry hearts: the quest.
The quest for love, connection, that “CLICK,” the energy of feeling totally understood and held and supported. If we could put on horse blinders and dull our senses and just SEE one another straight up, no fancy dressings, we would see the “soul and not the story,” as my teacher Seane Corn says. We would see that our preferences, practices, opinions, beliefs, mother tongue, skin color, stature, orientation and political party are nothing more than obligatory check marks in boxes on a list made by society. BARRIERS AND BORDERS ERECTED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BLOCK THE FLOW OF LOVE.
Once we see this, once we realize that being triggered by differences and perceived incompatibilities are just organic responses stemming from a source rooted in LOVE, we can begin to rewire the innate reaction we have to resistance.
Kathryn Budig just offered this nugget of wisdom as I bounced on my ball distractedly and mindlessly opened a Facebook tab (because, well, that’s also how these essays sometimes go…like a cat following a shoe string): “Walk your beautiful path and wish the others well. No one has the same gifts to offer. The ones who value yours will find you. So, in a nutshell—competition and comparison are moot. How refreshing is that reminder? Cue big exhale.”
We will find the threads of connection. They are there, enduringly, below the surface. We mustn’t harden against ourselves when we feel these physical responses in our bodies, when we have these swarming thoughts and the panic waters begin to rise. May we intervene, kindly, gently. May we realize that this organic response is stemming from a place of Love. Simply and sweetly. Our craving connection is a most basic and pure necessity; akin to our need for oxygen, food and water.
May we awaken to the fact that feeling “less than” or “greater than” is a choice. It is the spring from which our suffering flows. May we choose to plug that leak with pretty flowers and mossy twigs. May we admire our handiwork and turn back towards one another. May we smile softly, letting the corners of our mouths turn up. May we listen, devotedly, for the CLICK…