Ready to Connect.

August 10, 2022

Ready to Connect.

May 29, 2023

“Ready to Connect” The proclamation makes me smile.

As I enter the room, my new portable Bose speaker greets me by announcing that it is “ready to connect.” It will even remind me a few moments later, without judgment or frustration, that it is still there, open and waiting for the moment that I may want to pair with it and play some music.

I know it is only technology, but the explicitness of the invitation makes me smile and if I am honest, it also makes me ache a little. I wish we were more like this little speaker; Ready to Connect.

Sometimes I find the feeling of being lonely amongst people soul crushing. There is so much posturing, judging and role playing that while we are ‘assembled’, we are not actually connected. Our hearts are protected, our thoughts are monitored, our willingness to just “be” with one another is masked behind the objective of “putting our best foot forward” and “making an impression”.

I thrive on the energetic connection that we can have with one another (my friends often wonder, why do so many strangers stop and ask me questions?). However, recently I have been caught up in being “busy”, used to the disassociation that comes from too many Zoom meetings, I hold myself back behind a wall of reserve.

That moment before connection feels awkward, doesn’t it? But rather than step into the vulnerability that connection brings, we continue walking lost down the street without asking for directions, we don’t notice the moment where we could share eye contact and smiles; we walk past one another, faces drawn and looking inwards or at surrogate connections on our phones.

“Ready to Connect”

I just got back from 6 weeks in the South of France last night. The light, the colors, the smells of fresh tomatoes and cherries makes Provence a full-on sensual experience. The heady combination allows me to slow down and really engage with the experience, the culture and the people around me.

It was there that I rediscovered my connection-switch.

I was trying on a dress in a store that sells the most wonderful French linen. At the shop owner’s request, I stepped out to show her the fit of the style she picked for me. In that same moment a woman stepped out with the same dress. (Hi Christina). She asked her patient partner if he thought “the skirt was a little too short and showed too much knee”.

I was tempted to mind my own business but France had opened me up.

I removed the invisible wall that I was holding between us, replaced it with my conviction that we are meant to thrive together and heard myself … “Get the dress. You look glorious, celebrate your knees. You’ve inspired me to do the same.”

Her husband smiled, she beamed and for the next 15 minutes we chatted as friends and co-conspirators. The sisterhood was alive. I hope she’s enjoying her dress as much as I am enjoying mine – when I wear it I remember the glow of a moment of defiance shared. To this day I feel the filament of connection, and somehow, a little less lonely.

So much changes when we connect.

…a smile in the vegetable aisle - (these peaches are awesome and yes, life is good),

…a shared laugh at the antics of a two year old - (toddlers are exhausting, but you’ve got this, keep going!),

…the giving of directions and recommendations for dinner over a delightful espresso in the centre square - (merci, oui I will come back and stay longer next time!)

All this leaves me feeling like I have a place in the constellation of stories happening around me.

Like my little speaker, I feel my volume turn up, and my sense of place in the world deepens.

Each connection creates a filament in an invisible web; a reminder that we are part of something greater.

Fleeting moments of humanity experienced as affirmations of belonging.

And you?

Are you “ready to connect”?

Tania Carriere, epiphany designer, leadership coach and founder of Advivum Journeys, hosts midlife adventure retreats for those who are ready to explore life’s biggest questions, leaving you feeling both joyful and transformed. She is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Modern Elder Academy and keen student of the life lessons we learn as we travel. www.advivumjourneys.ca

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