“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.”
― Albert Schweitzer
I’ve always been fascinated by interdependencies and connections. We humans are creatures of connections – connected to our environment, to each other, to the vast universe (we really are stardust). We need to be in harmony with nature as a whole in order to maintain our own balance. It is essential to our own health and well-being that we maintain that harmony, and we are responsible for the health and well-being of the land that we inhabit. Symbiosis – the land sustains us as we sustain the land. And no, I’m not even close to being an environmental activist, but I do recognize that that we, as higher-order beings, have responsibilities. I may, and often do, fall short – too fond of internal combustion engines, for a start – but I do try to do the right thing most of the time.
There a multitude of connections that we form all of the time – to people, to places, weirdly, even to things. Connections to people, in particular, are formed constantly throughout our lives (unless you truly are a hermit). We connect with our families, our friends, our teachers, our coworkers. We are all products of the community that we were raised in, the community we live in, and the community that we work within. Fellow commuters, fellow travelers – some connections are more fleeting than others, but all are equally real. We touch others’ lives in ways that we will never know, or understand, just as they touch ours in ways we may not even recognize.
Connections to places particularly interest me because it’s harder to find a ‘why’ than it is with people. Someone once tried to tell me that an affinity for a place, sometimes one you’ve never visited, is rooted in a past life, but I think it has more to do with this life – our interests, our experiences, things we’ve read or seen that trigger a tangential thought – the way that things often do. This is how our brains work. We continually look for patterns and connections – it isn’t always a conscious activity – we do it instinctively (like seeing faces in floor tile – or toast). Sometimes these tangential connections help us find real connections, sometimes, like with conspiracy theories run amok, they lead us to false conclusions. Often they free us up creatively – the highly over-used phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ made manifest.
Our lives are all about connections – all of the time.
Only slightly off-topic, and by way of background — My husband and I got married in 1991 after several years of living together. I’m afraid our self-written wedding vows, which really did reference the interdependent web of existence, may be lost to time (or at least I can’t find a copy at the moment), but I did find the program that we put together. Not surprisingly, quotes about connectivity were the prevailing theme – this was after all for a wedding, and what better to inspire thoughts of connection. And since my husband and I are a bit odd, Douglas Adams featured prominently as well. I’ve included the program for your entertainment – please note that the blacked out attributions were made-up quotes that we attributed to pets and/or other family members, and that all participant’s last names have been blacked out in order to protect their dignity (but you know who you are). At least there are some fun quotes here…