Thursday, December 01, 2005

connections in relationships

To notice connections is to see the wind: we see the things that are connected and assume that there must be a force that keeps them in relationship. We do not see that force; sometimes we see signs of its influence. We can choose to perceive relationship - to notice a family instead of individuals, or to cheer for a team regardless of who is making the plays. Yet we are sure only of the end points, the people who are connected and not the connection itself.

This is why we are so uncertain about our own relationships. We are not exclusively visual people, and yet we rely on what we see with our own eyes to tell us about what is true. And we cannot see ourselves with our own eyes - we can only imagine that we see ourselves or see ourselves in a reflection. Neither can we see ourselves in relationship: we can only see the person with whom we are connecting and try to guess at the relationship from what we see in that person, and from what that person reflects back to us of ourselves.

Maybe this is why we urge people to 'keep in touch' with us. In touch, the connection becomes real: a sensation is perceived simultaneously by both people in connection. Touch is not subject to the vagaries of shifting light and shadows. Particular kinds of touch are reserved for particular relationships. We know the connection by the quality of the handshake, the brush of the elbow, the lips against the cheek.

You can hear your own voice while someone else speaks, but can you hear yourself think? How does connection sound?

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