I’m finding that the longer we stay in virtual isolation related to the pandemic, the more I long for connection. In-person connection.
Although I’m grateful for such platforms as Zoom and Skype, I must admit that I’m becoming exhausted with having to sit still for long periods of time and stare at friends and colleagues in small squares. Technology does allow for communication, but doesn’t allow for connection in a physical sense.
Humans need connection. We need hugs and kisses. We need smiles and affirmations. We need conversations, listening, and laughter. We need recognition by others of their delight in being with us and our delight in being with them. We thrive in connection with others.
“Humans need connection. We need hugs and kisses. We need smiles and affirmations. We need conversations, listening, and laughter. We need recognition by others of their delight in being with us and our delight in being with them. We thrive in connection with others.” ~Carol Scott-Kassner, Sage-ing International
I try to smile with my eyes when I’m in the grocery store and banter with the essential workers at the checkout counter. That certainly helps my spirits, but the feeling quickly dissipates as I get into my car and head for home.
In spite of my relative aloneness, I’m finding that the greatest sense of connection that I’m able to achieve regularly is by practicing compassion with myself and with others. Compassion means “to be with” – to put ourselves in the shoes of others, try to understand their story, and reach out in support. Compassion is a core concept in every major spiritual tradition in the world.
In a recent online post, the great contemporary theologian Matthew Fox said, “Compassion is the living out of our interdependence. Compassion is about sharing the joy and sharing the pain – and doing what we can to relieve the pain, especially that caused by injustices, whether they be ecological, economic, social, racial, gender, or generational in nature. Compassion requires the calling forth, the educing, the educating therefore of our deepest capacities as a species: Our capacity to act as if we truly are part and parcel of one another, in joy as well as in sorrow.”
In such a time as this, the world is in need of compassion more than ever in recent history.
- We can experience and express it through emails, phone calls, cards, and letters, holding others in our prayers or thoughts, and advocating for causes we feel will support the greater good.
- We can read books or blogs about issues we need to understand more.
- We can listen to people give TED talks to help enlighten ourselves and understand much of the great good that is going on in spite of our relative isolation.
- Most importantly, we can hold ourselves and others gently, knowing that we are all under tremendous tension that often leads to depression and sorrow. We can suspend judgment and listen deeply instead to what others are saying about their needs.
- We can recognize our interdependence and our connection with all that is even though we are alone.
May you find ways to hold compassionate space for yourself and others. May the support and caring you give to others radiate out into the world as a source of healing for all.