In deciding what I will be writing about the topic of “Connection” came up several times. The reason? No idea specifically, but probably because in my head there is this constant refrain on repeat that we are made for connection. We, the living beings on this earth, want to connect. My opinion. My experience. Each of us have boundaries though, visible and / or invisible, negotiable and / or non-negotiable. Who we feel drawn to and who not.
Before I sidetrack into that, let me tell you how the topic started. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I was born in Paarl on June 27th, 1976 in the non-white maternity ward of Paarl Hospital. A friend contacted me after reading the blog, saying she was born just under a week after in that same hospital, probably in the white ward. Same hospital, different ‘colour’ maternity ward. Our conversation then took a few meanders to discover that at some point in both our lives we both lived in a Jasmyn Street, not the same town. And we briefly spoke about the interesting details that can connect us. Hmm …
How do we connect?
Who/what do we connect to?
Why do we connect?
Who am I maintaining contact with amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and why? What is my intention?
(It just started raining … comfort, soothing, music to my ears.)
Connecting to people is important to me. It feeds me and keeps me whole, especially when we are in a safe and happy place and space. I have intentionally and unintentionally disconnected from a number of people in my life over the past3 – 5 years. It’s been a hard journey of reflection, introspection, falling apart, taking myself apart and slowly but surely building the puzzle that’s me. In this time I had to bury some things, throw away other things, dig up loads of things, add some new things while feeling like I’m in the midst of a fire burning the stuff away that shouldn’t be there anymore, the things keeping me from being the person I want to be. The things I have allowed consciously and subconsciously to remain and grow / feed off me. Burn. This process meant that some people fall away with some of the things that was burnt away. It also meant that some friends who remained close because they chose to be there also got burnt a little. But it was a ‘good’ fire, burning away impurities. The friendship is stronger. The boundaries are clearer. I now where I stand. I know who I’m investing in and I know why. My people. My inner circle is small. Boundaries.
When do I enjoy the connection though?
Last night a friend of mine, salsa instructor and DJ, sent me a 30 minute salsa set. No idea why. Grateful beyond words as it lit the fire of the wood that’s been smoking somewhere inside. It reminded me of the following story: A few years ago I went to a salsa party in Cape Town, it was a regular gig and I went most every Friday. I walked in and saw a guy standing at the bar wearing a white shirt and royal blue pants. He was new. He was watching while having a drink. Not sure if he danced, eh. I continued to change into my dance shoes and proceeded to dance. The guy was still standing there. He looked interested in dancing. Please note: New men who can dance are relatively scarce … well, when I attended salsa parties regularly that is. And almost everywhere I go, I will be the one to welcome, orientate and include the newbie … why? Because I know what it feels like to be the newbie. 😀 Anyway, I eventually walked over to ask if he would like to dance and he said yes. We exchanged names and we were off to the dance floor. WHOAAA! Instant connection! And I don’t mean relationship connection, I mean dance connection! We both love dancing, and we loved playing on the dance floor. Ah, what a feast! He enjoyed it as much as I did. No pressure to perform. No pressure impress. Just dance! We probably danced every second or third song on that evening and also at the party two days later. And then he left the province and then the country. Those were some of the most memorable salsa dances of my life. I have a few others and some of them have become very good dance friends! I miss dancing. I miss that connection. I miss those moments. Dancing salsa, getting sent salsa music, remembering those dances and connecting with those salseros and salseras … connection on fire! Always.
Music. I sing, I play, I conduct. Playing in orchestras or music ensembles and singing in choirs creates a very special connection ESPECIALLY when there was a tour or some extraordinary performances involved. How we all become synchronised under baton or hand of the conductor comes with practice (blood, sweat, tears, swear words, internal combustion and everything! 😀 ), but worth every bomb that goes off in my head and afterwards the stories forget the drama and remember the good stuff! (except once or twice for me hehehe … we’re friends again) Knowing what the conductor wants when he / she shows something or pulls a face and seeing their peace / relief / satisfaction when things run the ‘right’ way = Joy, peace, love and tiredness!
Some of bestest loveliest moments though, are those with people in conversation or in play. Children when I play with them and they absolutely enjoy the game that they created that I am trying to fit into or understand? 🙂 Endless pleasures of interesting discoveries of words and new skills no matter their age. And when they get older the exploration of new ideas and questions being asked and discussed. The students I worked with in my different capacities, helping them understand or find direction or discussing possibilities and options. Eyes lighting up when understanding sets in and new questions and ideas are formed and formulated? Frowns when they have to go think about a challenging concept or question and coming back with possible answers and / or solutions and / or bigger, ore complex questions.
And there’s my heart people. The grown ones. Whom I share life with daily, weekly, monthly, annually, intentionally. My friends, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles. Especially the ones who know me and spend those minutes / hours talking when there’s a chance to do so. Where we both feel the safety of relaxing and just being. Not much different from who we are outside, just more comfortable. “… where everybody knows your name …” (to quote the Cheers theme song)
I appreciate each connection. Intentional or not. It grows me, develops me, challenges me and builds my capacity to love and connect with more intention.