Connection/Connect – to join, link or fasten together; unite or bind. To establish communication between; put in communication. To associate mentally or emotionally. To be in harmony with another person, one’s work, etc.

During this strange time in our history when being safe and healthy means keeping physical distances, I have found myself contemplating what it means to connect or be connected. A re-examination of sorts. And honestly, this is a re-examination that has been wanting for quite some time and not just because of a global pandemic.

Why is it there a need to be physically near someone in order to connect with them? Are we remiss regarding other means of connection? Is it too exhausting to explore other meaningful ways to make connections? Are we lacking confidence or mental capacity to handle deeper avenues of communicating and connecting?

Human beings go to great lengths and oftentimes under dire circumstances to be physically with loved ones. I suppose our behaviors are based in the fear of being alone and/or never seeing our loved ones again. I get that.

But what if we are unable to be with someone physically for a myriad of reasons?

Human Connection Redefined?

Most if us have grown up to believe that being physically with a person is what sustains that relationship, that bond. What about the awareness of someone’s energy when you are not in their presence?

What about memories and the strong internal sensitivities we have regarding those in our circle of family and friends? Those are connections that are worth nurturing and developing.

I often think about the spiritual effect of those no longer physically present on this earth? Their “soul being” continues through the spiritual energies they leave behind for us to tap into. Allowing those energies exposure, connections will arise in unexpected places and often when they are most needed. The universe has unique means in which to expose those energy and harmonic bonds.

Feeling the presence of loved ones through memories I store in my conscious and subconscious mind is a gift I cherish and one that we can all bridge. The influence those memories have on my life becomes more evident as distance and time expand. Metaphysical energies have a great deal of power and can give us strength beyond any attachment of physical presence.

Connection – Mother/Daughter Bond

My daughter came to live with us last fall after having exhausted her resources and continuing to struggle through her substance use disorder during the pandemic.

I knew, intuitively, she needed to come home.

When someone would ask why my daughter was not living at home with us, I would say, “She is better off with her tribe, surrounded by therapists, behavior techs, psychiatrists, sober living companions, and the multitude of rehab resources at her disposal. They have the expertise.”

But my heart was letting me know when the conversation came up in July 2020, that returning to her foundation, her family, was the next step to moving forward. The energy my daughter and I had been exchanging most of last year led us both to come to the unspoken conclusion that it was time to heal in a place where there was unconditional love and support. At first, it was a needed physical connection, but it became so much more.

Connections Lost

During the past 5 years when most of our connections involved texting and abrupt phone calls, the mother/daughter bond was not a pleasant or a truly loving one. The only times I was in her presence: when needing to go to rehab, retrieving her smashed car, moving her from one place to another or as an invitation from her therapists to meet and discuss her recovery. Rarely gratifying or joy filled visits.

I was always ready and willing to see her, just to get a glimpse of her face, to hug her. Unfortunately, we were using each other without directly realizing it. I was playing the role of her personal chauffeur and shopping companion, while she was satisfying my often frail contribution to her well being. The mother/daughter bond was slowly transforming into something terribly messed up, superficial and self serving.

It was becoming a “survival/rescue connection”, one that cannot sustain itself in any authentic way.

Our true connection was getting lost, that is until we both opened up to other means of bonding. This did not happen overnight.

The mother daughter connection can be so powerful, but all too often the constant noise of the outside world telling us how it should be, blinds us to what was/is real and often what was/is right in front of us. Leaving in its wake only fragments of what could be.

Connection: Nature’s Energy

Since moving to Oregon, I have rediscovered nature with a stronger intention.

Walking in the woods and breathing in the energy exuding from every living thing that surrounds me, continues to inspire my being. The water, dirt, grass, plants, tree, birds, insects, air, sky, and animals, they all have an energy that is constant, regenerative and ever present.

When my daughter lived with us this past fall, she also began to make connections with nature more deliberately. She and I walked our dogs every morning. Sometimes we would spend the time talking about new discoveries she was making in her re-awakened life. Other times we just walked, soaking up what nature had to offer.

What my daughter’s memory brings forth each day now that she is awakening to a world free of chemicals is nothing short of astonishing. Nature’s energies and a desire to connect with those forces, led to her authentic transformation. I benefited both as an observer and participant in that transformation.

The fresh air fueled our senses individually and collectively. As time passed and she moved away, our conversations have deepened. The energy we were and continue to manifest do not need close proximity to spawn and grow.

Connection: Being in Harmony

As an artist, I am quite familiar with the concept of working and being alone. In all honestly, I find a great deal of comfort in being able to focus on my work without too many distractions. My connections are with the work created in my studio. The pandemic has not altered my basic routine or mindset. Instead, I find myself delving even deeper into what it means to connect. Having my daughter home for those few months prompted moving that process to the forefront.

From the definitions I listed above, I choose being in harmony as the best way to describe connection.

We can be in sync with one another without being physically with one another. It does take work and digging deep within ourselves to make this possible. As humans, we enjoy the mobility and freedom to physically roam at our own free will. Making connection in non-physical means, is an uncomfortable alternative and certainly uncharted territory for many.

What my daughter has been through the past ten years (especially the last two) along with how I have struggled, oftentimes helplessly on the sidelines, is what has brought us to this place. A place of connection through our shared energies and experiences where everything is laid bare for the sake of harmony, the good, the bad and the ugly. In crises, opportunities will and do arise.

Image: Emerging from Turbulence

Emerging from Turbulence“, acrylic on canvas 50″ x 46”. I chose this painting to accompany my blog because of it’s title and the creative path the piece took. Out of the darkness, there is light if you are willing and able to see it. I painted this piece as the year 2020 was unfolding. What is unique about this work is that I chose to paint over a piece I did over 20 years ago. It was time for that piece to be repurposed, regenerated, reimagined. Just as the year 2020 forced us all to rethink what is important and foundational to our lives. To reimagine what the essence of what connection really means.

**As a side note, the subject of “connection” warrants a great deal more discussion and that is why it took me so long to get this one out. I have so much more to say on the subject, but was not trying to write a book. So look for Part II maybe even Part III down the road. I have been known to do series both in my art and my writing. Thank you for reading.

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