Cultivating Creative Ways to Connect
December 9, 2020
Cultivating Creative Ways to Connect
Hello, everyone! Long time no chat! It has been a long minute since last I wrote to y’all. I am not going to apologize for my absence. I, along with the rest of the country, have been very distracted by so many things facing the US that I did not find myself in a space to write. However, I wanted to make sure that I reached out and connected with you before the year came to an end.
Connection is on my mind these days. Connecting with other people, connecting with myself, and connecting with my community are so incredibly important and integral to my life. I know that connection is an essential aspect of all our lives. Brené Brown says it best: “We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives and without it there is suffering.” So, my friends, it makes perfect sense that many if not all of us would be struggling now to one degree or another. Let’s face it! This has been a year like no other. This year has been a hot mess, and connection—while not impossible—has definitely become more difficult.
I feel like I have been taking a deep dive into the art of maintaining connections and connecting in ways that satisfy my desires as well as others’, all while keeping myself and everyone else safe. I have learned a few things along the way. This is not a complete list, so please let me know what you have discovered about connection in your life as well. Perhaps we can support and aid each other to be more connected in the future.
Technology is a wonderful tool when considering how to connect. People all over the globe have gotten so creative with the ways they are connecting with their friends and loved ones. People are on Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime more than ever, which has made the distance between us not as wide. We feel closer to those we can actually see. So, kudos to all the weddings, funerals, reunions, and family gatherings that have occurred on Zoom!
I have also learned—or relearned—that everyone has a preferred way of connecting. Currently, there are a plethora of ways to connect, from texting to video chatting to messaging to good old-fashioned letter writing. Learning how people prefer to connect can help keep your relationship going. I have a friend who is in Colorado. We were Zooming every week for a bit. However, when she became busy and did not have time, it was difficult connecting, as her communication preferences were different from mine. We had also not discussed how we would stay connected while not Zooming. She had asked for some time to attend to her projects, and I wanted to respect her wishes. When we chatted, I expressed to her my sadness over the lack of connection with her. We took our time and listened to each other, not knowing what the answer was. I stated that I just needed a touchstone. I just wanted to be able to connect on occasion to know that she was well and to let her know that I was thinking about her. She completely understood. So, we made a decision that we would communicate via text/email (I don’t have a cellphone). Since then, we have been joyfully in touch. Sometimes we connect daily. Sometimes not. However, now we know how important a brief and meaningful connection is to the other person. So, we take the time to reach out or respond. Somehow in a world where there is a lot of disconnection, this felt revolutionary.
Finally, I learned that I must take responsibility for my need to connect with people. I cannot just wait around for them to reach out to me. If I am thinking of someone, if they are on my mind, then I reach out. I like to know that people are thinking of me. I assume others enjoy knowing that they are being thought of as well. In the future, I hope to have more conversations with loved ones like the conversation I had with my friend. The idea of intentionally chatting about how the people in a relationship are going to connect and how often and what the expectations are is incredibly liberating. It did require me to be vulnerable and share that not hearing from her left me feeling sad and detached. Becoming vulnerable and sharing my fears and feelings was the only pathway to create a true, reciprocal, and meaningful connection.
There are many other lessons that I have learned about connecting—too many to share in one newsletter. bell hooks says that “Love is an act of will—both an intention and an action.” Therefore, if we are going to choose to love then we must choose to show people that we love them. We must choose to connect!
I wish you all warm and loving connections this holiday season and in the future!
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that grieving and gratitude can coexist. I feel like grief and gratitude have been my constant companions this year. It has been one hell of a year. That being said, I would encourage y’all to take some time and reflect on your year. Share your wonderful memories with a loved one. Don’t think you have any? I don’t buy it. My partner has said the same to me. However, when we begin to dig and reflect, we find a whole bunch of gems that we got to experience this year. I have read some amazing books this year! I was also able to orchestrate a pretty amazing, unique, and creative 70th birthday celebration for my partner—all while keeping everyone safe! Precisely because this year has affected the way we connect with one another, I find myself desiring connection more than ever. I have sent cards. I have connected with friends and loved ones, both old and new, in a variety of ways. Plus, now when connecting, I cherish each moment. So, go on. I dare you. Look back over 2020 and find and rediscover some of the godsends of your year!
These two books brought Kim and me incredible joy throughout this year. Charlie Mackesy and Ross Gay both offer so much inspiration, joy, and hope in their writings. Both are truly delightful!
As tough a year as 2020 has been, this was also a year of tremendous inspiration. I saw and continue to see inspiration everywhere, such as random acts of kindness. While kindness is encouraged during the holiday season, I would like to remind everyone that kindness is always in season!
Enjoy this lovely ad by Waitrose and John Lewis.