Connection – Importance of

Some months ago, I was planning a meeting which I was going to talk about the importance of connection.  Many months ago actually, I think that may have been over a year ago, or at least close to a year ago.

Today I met online with the organizer of the Capability Club which is in Vancouver.  We talked about journalling.  We also talked about connection.  Right now, I want to write a bit about connection.

Connection, why is it important?

I’m not sure if I really know the answer to this.  In fact I know I don’t know the answer to this.  But I know I can give a bit of a personal understanding, and why I actually felt that this was such an important topic.

Let’s start at the beginning.  I was checking out the gallery in downtown Rossland, very shortly after I had received my diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (DSM-5 Criteria) and I was going in around the time that my mum was on that day, which was to trade off with another person who helped to staff the gallery at that time.

I had really only meant to go in for a few minutes, and maybe see what was there, but ended up sitting around talking in a somewhat unfamiliar space (I’ve been in that space a good many times, and at one point was going in there on a weekly roughly basis) about some pretty big issues.

The mother of the person my mum was switching over from, had just lost her job (I believe retired, but there may have been more to it) and with that, lost all the connection that came with that job.

After talking about that and other issues for a while, I decided that I really wanted to talk about connection, and how important connection really is for me, and for other people.

As I said, that was a very long time ago that I wanted to talk about that.  But I really didn’t talk with anyone along the way about it until today.

Today, was the Second Tuesday, Previous Topic Review meeting of the Open Psychology Group.  This group is intended primarily for people who are local to myself (in Rossland) and can meet here in person (there may well be tea and treats if you actually come when I am available to meet in person), but I have had a number of people who have said that would be difficult, so signed up for a system where we can do audio (and a separate one on a different service to do video broadcasts) conferencing.

So today, I had received an RSVP (abbreviation of the French phrase réspondez s’il vous plaît) that someone from Vancouver was interested in attending online, and we had a very swell meeting online with the two of us.  The meeting in general is focused on providing a return to a past topic, but as with all of our meetings, whatever comes up, does indeed come up.

We spent time talking about mostly a couple of topics, Journalling, which I have written a couple of times about, and maybe more importantly for me, connection.

Both of us, are people who it seems have an interest in helping others.  Oddly, I think also for very similar motivations, by helping others, we are able to help ourselves.  But one of the main purposes of creating this project/group was actually to provide a means of actually exploring on various levels topics of the mind, and in this case two topics I’ve looked at in the past, but maybe not as well as I had hoped.

I live in a community which is very small by some people’s standards.  Our “urban” population is just under 3500, and “population” is just over.  So that is pretty small.  I find that for me as a person who really has a hard time connecting in a real sense in settings that work really well for me, that Rossland is very much not one of those settings.

I try to get downtown at least 3 days a week, and try to make sure that when I do, I have my “hand out” to anyone who would be willing to connect with me.  Some days I feel very much like just curling up and not even going out at all, and really have no interest in connecting at all.  Or if I do, I really want it to be “very safe”.  Most of those days, I still go out to connect, unless I am also so tired that just getting downtown and back doesn’t seem practical, or I’m too busy with stuff at home that I just don’t really end up really finding the time for it.

I know that some people find me very cold, and very unaccepting.  And I very much can be that way.  I know that can be a problem that I really have.  While I do try to be open and caring as much as possible, I find that some people just hit me in such a way that I really don’t care one bit if they think I am nice at all.  Oddly there seem to be a bunch of different types of people who I feel that way about, but maybe for the most part, it is people who are so into themselves that it seems like they think that they are “helping” simply by being there.  Or others who are so into themselves that they think they are “helping” by allowing you to be their mentor.

There is a slightly different class of person that I have a hard time with, who I really am not sure I much want to say anything about.  They work very hard to “be your friend”.  But something feels very wrong about these people.  Sometimes it is just an “odd feeling” other times it is very obvious.  Being identified as female, and so far as I can remember every one of these people has been male.

Anyway, I think one thing that I have learned, is that unless I really can’t avoid it.  Some times when I am trying to be out there, and be willing to connect with people, some people are actually not very safe.  Whereas others, they may well be plenty safe.  Connection really is a “weird thing” for me.

A smile and a nod, with good eye contact can be the most amazing connection from certain people, while a 20 minute talk with one on one with another person really entirely misses connection.  So here I am in a small, somewhat conservative town, and I am willing to connect with anyone who is willing to connect with me.  Most of that?  It is of the smile and nod type thing.

I think that those of us who are out in the world offering our “hand of connection” to anyone who wishes to pick it up, actually can make a big change in, well in our “local world” which then spreads out.  The person who I connect to, who isn’t expecting it on my trips to the post office?  Well maybe their day is just that much more bright that they are a little more willing to reach out and offer their hand of connection.

And what is the most amazing form of connection?  It is having someone see you, appreciate you, and not even want to “get in with you” but just being the “observer of the greatness of another human in the world”.  It sounds hugely superficial to say that a simple eye contact, smile, and nod actually can be (and often is) an amazing form of connection.

I have friends in the community that I don’t believe we have really “exchanged words”.  I’ve also met a number of people who when they meet me, they ask something along the lines of, “Can I be your friend?”  While I would never say no, this person clearly has a different concept of what it takes to be a friend than I do.  To me, friendship is about how you connect.  It’s not something which works on a “verbal” or word level at all.

I have a strong tendency to “go overboard on the words”.  I think a big part of that is that without people in my life where there are regular situations where connection is happening with someone in particular “without words” I end up going more and more into my words to try to connect with people.  It really doesn’t work.  But I really do try to find a way of connecting, even when there isn’t much of a chance that it will actually happen.

So, I’m not really sure if I said “the right things” here, or not.  But I wanted to say something about this, and probably wrote far too many words to say what I really wanted to.

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