Connecting With Souls
When was the last time you connected with somebody? I don’t mean by email or telephone, I mean looked into their eyes and connected on a much deeper level. I’m not talking about sexual intimacy either. I’m talking about friends. People whom you can connect with on a level that means conversation with them soars and dips and swoops like a flight of swallows. A conversation that to another person may sound stilted and broken, yet to those who connect, their very lifeblood is stirred. It is simply that so many words are not needed. Communication from one person’s soul to another means that not even language is a barrier.
When I met my friend Marianna, she spoke no English and I no Italian, yet we got on very well from the outset. How? We connected on a deeper level. We recognized something kindred in each other. In L.M. Montgomery’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’, Anne always goes on about kindred spirits. When you find someone you can converse like that with, you feel alive, on the edge of something incredible, something strangely intimate. I have another friend who is from South Korea. We both live in the same village in Switzerland and struggle to connect with other Swiss women here. We pass the time of day with them but nothing deeper, but she and I connect. Although her mother tongue is Korean and she speaks French at home, she also speaks good English because she is a musician for Zurich Chamber Orchestra. We have a love of music in common, and a general bafflement about some aspects of Swiss culture, but there is a lot more besides that we haven’t begun to explore.
I think we, as people, continually seek such connections. We need them. It reaffirms our own aliveness, for want of a better word. Yet, in this day of mobile devices, we seek more and more of these connections online. Why? We are multi-faceted people. We crave intimacy on many levels, different aspects – facets of our personality, our very beings. Why when we crave intimacy in all these ways, do we isolate ourselves more?
We all have different interests, likes, opinions. Sometimes we can share only one aspect of ourselves with someone, sometimes many more. I think this is why some search continually for the ‘one’. Someone they can share most of themselves with, open up and reveal their multi-faceted personalities and characters knowing this other person will understand, will ‘get’ them.
I spend a lot of time on Scribophile, a website for writers. Since moving to Switzerland this has been a Godsend because I can talk to like-minded people here. Yet, for all the communication I do, and connections I think I make, how much do I actually know these people? Perhaps we prefer to keep our connections on a one-faceted basis because that means if the other facets of those people do not suit us, we can leave it. It doesn’t matter. In retreating more and more to these one dimensional relationships, are we damaging our cultures by refusing to accept those parts of others we would normally tolerate? Are we restricting our search for a partner just a little too much? ‘I like this part of you, but not this part.’
Maybe one day we will all live in separate houses, have many one-faceted relationships within reach of our fingertips so we can glean what we need from any one of them at any time. Think of ‘friends with benefits’. At what point does the importance of what that one person can do for us outweigh the importance of the friendship? Do these online relationships make us more selfish? So many sites out there are about self-promotion. It’s not so much what we can do for others, but what they can do for us. I’m not saying everyone is like this, but could it be a general trend?
When was the last time you connected, met someone’s eyes and saw their soul? Or are we afraid of what they might see in ours?
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