A Bid For Connection

Teamwork high five as team together hands air greeting power tag team. Group of diversity people multiethnic

The other morning I was walking my dog along the path by the nearby lagoon. Sitting on a bench were three men who were obviously homeless. As I approached I overheard one of them say to the other two, “ Well, I don’t have a wallet, and I don’t have a phone but I have a good truck so I know I’ll figure it out.” They all laughed. This same man noticed me and he stood up and walked over. I assumed he was going to ask for money but instead he asked if he could pet my dog. My dog is a bit shy, so she wasn’t very obliging, and she ducked and weaved his hand as he reached out.  “I’m sorry, I said, I guess the answer is no.” “No problem”, he said and raised his hand in a high five gesture. I pressed my hand against his for a moment and he smiled and said, “Have a great day.”

I realized in that moment that it was a bid for connection. His desire, perhaps on an unconscious level, was to be seen. To be recognized. It was also an opportunity for me to drop the illusion of our separateness and to realize, I was he and he was me. There is a well known saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.”  The saying in my opinion is wrong. The idea behind it being that we are special, and something divine has given us a separate and better life than someone else. Maybe it’s time we lose the “but.” Perhaps it should be, “There by the grace of God go I.”

What is really needed is to recognize ourselves in everything and everyone. We need to seek our connectedness rather than dwell on our perceived differences.

The idea that we are separate is literally killing us. Especially when it comes to the planet.  The current solution being offered up is to “fight climate change.”  It reminds me of the “War on drugs”, which we all know failed. In fact it made things worse. It seems to me that the language is wrong, because again it’s treating the problem as separate from us.  The problem with drug addiction and with the current climate crisis is one of disconnect. You don’t create connection through aggression. Rather than fighting climate change perhaps what we need to focus on is nourishing and supporting the planet. The effort needs to be on helping people recognize that it is us and we are it, and that the idea the planet is something we live on and can abuse and use for our own ends is an illusion. To see the joy and the beauty. To wonder in awe at all the animals, the creatures, trees and plants, and to know we are part of it. Everything beautiful about this earth is part of us and everything on this earth is beautiful in its own way. If we could fully connect to that understanding, then we would not want to destroy it. Life would become a celebration. And isn’t that what we all want?

Written by Jessica Wright

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