I used to think that one of the prerequisites for intimate human connection consisted of deep conversation on a preferred topic matter with a like-minded individual or group.
Such circumstances and conversations consisting of all those parts can equate to an uplifting, inspiring, and healing discussion and can be a valuable asset to our personal growth and creativity.
However, this limiting belief and expectation also cramped my style and progress. It held me to restricted perspectives and assumptions around what qualifies as connection.
I struggled to connect because of my preferences and lack of skill to listen, understand, and be curious. It was causing additional suffering and controlling my ability to enjoy relationships with myself, others, and those I loved.
Life continues to reveal a much broader definition and signifier of intimate human connection. Current circumstances have invited me to pause and reconsider what it means to connect and how two or more individuals can connect when the familiar language of words is absent. And how we can adapt to our ever-changing environment and evolving situations.
Recently, my mother-in-law and her sister, Regina, visited from Brazil. It was their first time in California and the second time we met. Upon reuniting, our connection felt ancient, warm, and welcoming.
Our primary form of spoken language (mine English and theirs Portuguese) was foreign to one another, leaving little words exchanged. However, what was exchanged over 10 days cannot only be put into words but instead captured as a feeling and wordless knowing rooted in whole-hearted presence, curiosity, and love.
We celebrated connection, delicious food, and family as we gathered, trading glances, smiles, and laughter, curiously speaking to one another with our trusty translator – my husband – around my mother’s patio table.
Connection was in the silence and company of my mother-in-law and Regina as the three of us watched a movie in Portuguese, sipping on hot tea and nibbling on crunchy cookies from Brazil.
The warmth of the sun and connection bathed us as we sat around the picnic table sharing sandwiches and conversation at the edge of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.
The charm of connection filled the air as we rested on plush chairs and couches, marinating in the view and ambiance of Silver Oak Winery. The magnificent landscape of Alexander Valley heightened our connection: the big blue sky, the depth of the mountains and texture of the treetops, the scent of soil and grapevines, the taste of cool water and wine, and salty breadsticks. It twirled in the familiar hum and voices of Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, and James Taylor, each of us quietly singing along to our favorite melodies and lyrics.
These moments were just a few that captured the essence of our extraordinary visit and time together.
In the absence of speech, I got more fluent in being present. I listened with my eyes and body, observing the mood, body language, expressions, and tones of myself and others. I enjoyed the beauty and richness of language and chatter, never feeling out of place or as if I were missing out.
When we learn to speak the language of connection, it is abundant and accessible in our everyday lives.
When caught up in conversation, expectation, or distraction, it is easy to miss. It tends to interfere and hide in the display of hurtful or harmful words and opinions.
It is quiet, calm, subtle, and effortless in quality and bids you to pay close attention. It is spacious and expansive in characteristic and energy. Connection is limitless and invites you to connect not only on shared beliefs and ideas but to open and reach across the boundaries of your heart to observe, listen, and be curious.
Connection asks you to slow down and savor the moment like a delicious, deep Silver Oak, Alexander Valley Cabernet, or refreshing drink of water.
We all speak a unique language; connection is the unbiased and unconditional thread that unites us.
How do you wish to be fluent in connection?