I’ve been pondering the value of Connection for a few days now. Both Covid and Mindfulness have changed my understanding of connection. As most people around me ‘move on’ with their lives or return to pre-Covid ways of being my sense of connection in my community has shifted. At the same time, mindfulness has expanded my sense of connection with people in general as I practice the Four Immeasurable attitudes, wishing happiness and well-being for all, and working to reduce suffering of others as I’m able. I feel less seen by a few nearby, and more understood by many afar. I’ve learned that meaningful online connections can be cultivated authentically with old friends and new, that I can make a positive change in people’s lives from a distance, and that all nourishing connections are worth sustaining. Of these, my connection to the natural world is bone-deep and paramount; and my connection with my innermost self is stronger than its ever been.
So many of the things in my home represent connections with dear people, past times, beloved places. Even a simple breakfast is loaded with connection. Setting aside the larger interdependence involved in the technology of a Kindle and all the humans and resources necessary for it to exist at my breakfast table, there’s the connection I feel occasionally to my sister-in-law when I remember that she influenced me to buy a Paperwhite: “I know you like to sit outside and read,” she said, “so that would be the best Kindle for you.” And what am I reading this morning on my Kindle Paperwhite? Foster, recommended by my most literary friend Sarahbelle, and so I feel connection with her as I open it up.
Acknowledging gratitude for all the interconnections that brought coffee beans into my home and enabled them to be ground and brewed, I feel special gratitude for the unique mug I drink from which symbolizes connection with two wonderful women in Florida, one who hand-built the mug and one who gave it to me. Those connections flare in awareness each time I use the mug. The connections among plants and humans that brought flour, salt, water and sugar into my house as ingredients in the toast and jam are many and far-flung: The sourdough itself traces back to one friend I haven’t seen for years but connect with in my heart every time I use the starter, and the sour cherry jam reinforces my connection with two dear friends the next mesa over. The plate is an anchor to Amy, whom I never fail to think of when I pull it from the handmade cupboard that links me to the Wood Monks who built my kitchen. I’m grateful for connection in all the ways it manifests in my little life.