Reach Out and Touch Someone, Literally.
I was touched reading a philosophy professor share his nearly-end-of-life story in the Washington Post with the title, “As my end nears, I crave the soul-to-soul connection of seeing friends in person.” (https://tinyurl.com/zoom-friends-dying)
The op-ed starts with this paragraph,
“My good friends know that my end is near. Several of them have flown from far away to see me in Texas. They come for an hour or two of conversation, and then they fly home. That’s an expensive visit, and time-consuming for them. Why aren’t they satisfied to see me over the internet? I offer them that way out, but they insist on the trip. Why?”
How do you catch an eye, touch a soul, or notice body language when you're Zooming? Let me say that our MEA Online guru, Kari Cardinale, has created a form of "digital intimacy" in her MEA courses including the upcoming "Living and Working on Purpose" one that starts this Friday. Still, it's just not the same as being in person.
Silence doesn't feel the same on Zoom. There is a pregnant, awkward pause that feels different than what you experience with someone in person—when you share the same air. When you're 1:1 with someone and the air is still as your friend punctuates their thoughts with the momentary space to feel the weight of their words, you may feel goosebumps. I'm not sure I've ever felt goosebumps on a Zoom call.
This summer, I got to see my friend Lisa Keating, who introduced me to the Todos Santos area nearly a dozen years ago. She was also in one of our first MEA beta cohorts, so she has a lot to do with the fact that MEA exists in Baja. Lisa and I love one another, but we rarely see each other, and this was the first time since the pandemic. We mosied around Potrero Hill and ended up in a Guinness-scented bar, Bloom's, with a stunning view of downtown.
Within a few minutes, with a warm breeze caressing our faces and a deep feeling of familiarity surrounding us, we became silent. The immediacy of it all felt perfect. After some time, I spoke up and said I felt a body and soul version of ecstasy in that moment. I wanted to see if she was feeling the same. Lisa said she was, as she felt we were savoring joy in each other's company. It's a perfect memory that we will both have till our dying days.
Zoom has helped us bridge all kinds of gaps. It's allowed MEA to connect with all kinds of people globally who can't afford the time, cost, or physical exertion associated with coming to Baja (or, soon, Santa Fe, NM). But, there's nothing like the sense of awe in connecting with other humans and feeling the tactile and intuitive knowingness of sharing the same air with someone and feeling the collective effervescence of a group in harmony. Our MEA faculty member Dacher Keltner's research has shown that humans' most common form of awe is a sense of "moral beauty." I'm not sure you can capture that on Zoom.
We welcome you to join us in Baja (especially for Dacher's "Cultivating Awe" workshop in December) or Santa Fe, as our 2024 workshops are HERE.