“Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone.”
– David Whyte, “Everything is Waiting for You”
Some days it just happens. I have an experience or an interaction that is so obviously “connective” and, assuming my iPhone is nearby, it is easily captured. A lovely watercolor falls out of a book. A game of backgammon is in full swing. An old friend appears unexpectedly. Those days make me feel like the beneficiary of some divine offering.
Some days I know it’s coming. We’re going to see those friends at an anniversary celebration or those friends at a going-away party. Those days feel like cheating. I wake up knowing that this day is “covered” and I don’t have to “worry” about it. Connection is in the bag.
Some days I have to work for it. I have to be on the lookout and if nothing shows up (or more likely, if I have blindly missed lots of opportunities) I have to make it happen myself. This feels off to me, like I’m engineering the moment in service of the project instead of just experiencing my already connected life. What I discovered though, and this picture (Day 66) is a great example of it, is that good stuff can happen when you are set on creating connection. I asked my daughter to come and sit with me so mom could take our picture. It was 9:30 pm on a Friday night and I still didn’t have my shot for the day. We started goofing around with weird voices and then she said something that cracked us both up. We kept giggling for a minute or two and mom captured what had become an authentic moment of connection.
That moment made something concrete for me in a way that I wasn’t expecting: that connection isn’t always pure and organic. That it doesn’t just “happen” and that we can’t expect it to. Connection needs a catalyst, a spark. Sometimes, especially with the people closest to us, we have to work for it. Sometimes, even when our vulnerability tells us it is awkward or forced, connection can transform a moment into something altogether new, something for us to savor.
DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.