Honoring Maya Angelou

On Interconnection…And Yet

We know, at bottom, that everything is connected.

It’s like the joke about the monk who orders a hot dog: “Make me one with everything.”

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We’re already there. We get that.

And yet.

Indeed. In fact. And yet.

We treat ourselves as individuals. We operate in a competitive, psychologically entrepreneurial world of “best ideas,” “best knowledge,” “best having my act together.” It isn’t, in fact, all that truly collaborative. Even in the wisdom market, we want to hawk our wares. Ego dominates and tries to deliver, shouting out among the vendors.

And yet. (period)

There are such beautiful examples of interconnection, conversation, art. Here is only one stunning, intrinsically humble “Conversation” for example, one of the many, desperately needed, deliberate communities, connections available to all.

To start at the beginning, it is only a thought: you can think that you are thinking only for yourself; that you are hidden in your head, in the privacy of personal mind. But even there, I suggest, you are not. You are part of the field of human endeavor. You are evidence of a conscious and intentional history, as a person with a connection to a time, a family, an ethnicity, a larger cultural politic and nation-state. You cannot say you are alone. You are a son or daughter, sister, brother, with these parents, these children, tapping away on the keys to someone in Dubai, maybe a little drunk, at midnight, pouring out your secret heart. You are part of a stream, part of a common Nature that flows from unknown antiquity into the unknown future on a happenstance, this turquoise marble. You are memories, each one of which like the grain of a photograph becomes an inheritance — the inheritance of a family in a hidden album in an attic of the past.

And you cannot tell, can you, what deft union there might be between your thought and the thought of others? Do you feel only alone? Or are your feelings part of a shared, conscious universe that includes, even celebrates your loneliness? Is your life a random experiment in being, or an indispensable, indistinguishable element of a greater union?

And yet!

You feel (inside) an unsubstantiated, pre-ordained locus of freedom. Of identity. (An imperfect perfection).

And at the core, there is something that says, “Lead, if only, only me.”

How stunning. How beautiful. How renewing to know that you are the craft of your own intelligence, your own poem and painting, your own message in a bottle floating on an ether of unknowing. Fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

And yet

How bittersweet, and of the heart and of the soul, that you should be here, finding love among the shadows, the losses, of this ragged, inequitable violence of connection, this humanity.

And yet and yet

How you stand on the doorstep of a greatness and generosity of being that includes every single one of us

And how you give, beyond any shadow of any doubt, this essential something that we can all hope for; need want desire as if

the whole thing depends only on you and me

which of course is the truth we are perpetually scared of

(and yet) cannot help living toward

because it is also something so (I don’t know what to say)

that we (I don’t know what comes next — you are the one with the words)

must adore.

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14 Comments

  • Lovely post my friend. You have so aptly described what I believe many of us, no matter how well-meaning, may be feeling as part of an undercurrent in much of all that we do. Much like my recent two posts on the spirit of acceptance…there’s that tug of war between the head knowledge and the reality of our experience.

    We can intellectually know and even agree with the idea that we have intrinsic worth and value apart from our performance, and yet…

    …we can still feel caught in the grip of an undercurrent of performance based rules that can make the true experience of self-acceptance more like an ideal that can rarely, if ever, be lived…if people were completely honest from day to day.

    I especially love what you said here:

    ‘Lead, if only, only me.’

    Well said, my friend. Well said.

    ~Samantha

  • A thoughtfully worded piece. Lucidly presented.

  • […] We treat ourselves as individuals. We operate in a competitive, psychologically entrepreneurial world of “best ideas,” “best knowledge,” “best having my act together.” It isn’t, in fact, all that truly collaborative. Even in the wisdom market, we want to hawk our wares. Ego dominates and tries to deliver, shouting out among the vendors.And yet. (period)There are such beautiful examples of interconnection, conversation, art. Here is only one stunning, intrinsically humble “Conversation” for example, one of the many, desperately needed, deliberate communities, connections available to all.  […]

  • This article is just the thing I needed to read today Dan. Feeling unaccountably sad and angry. I’m going to use your words because they are spot on.

    Yes, today, I think that I am thinking only for myself; that I am hidden in my head, in the privacy of personal mind. But even there, as you suggest, I suspect I am not. I am part of the field of human endeavour. And I cannot tell, no I can’t, in my un-nameable sadness and anger, what deft union there might be between my thought and the thought of others?

    Do I feel only alone? Less so, having seen you in me as I read this. Or are my feelings part of a shared, conscious universe that includes, even celebrates my loneliness? I suspect so, now that, having finished reading this beautiful work of art, the tears are finally coming.

    Thank you so much Dan.
    Love John

  • Dear Dan,

    Your deep and lyrical words inspire me – especially today. Perhaps I am on the same page or wavelength as John, something in the air…..

    So thanks for the reminder of how beauty (of thought, of spirit, of action) lifts us up – that we are joined in inexplicable ways and are the core – as Ram Dass so beautifully says, ,
    “we’re all just walking each other home”

    See you on the path,
    Louise

  • Dear Samantha~

    I appreciate this word, “undercurrent,” which means to me what we take for granted and then can end up processing as a nightmare. Uncoding the message — in the middle of the night — can leave us feeling particularly vulnerable and hurting unless an alternative path is plain. I’ve tried to clear the brush from one place where that kind of path begins…

    All the best and thank you, as always!
    Dan

  • Dear Peter~

    Wonderful to meet you on G+ and find your kind comment here. Thanks, and all the best,

    Dan

  • Dear David Hain~

    Thanks for the Scoop.it!

    Dan

  • My dear friend, John~

    I was so touched that you were touched! It is wonderful to feel the connection and to experience it’s growth.

    They say people are reincarnated in groups. I believe we’ve known each other a long, long time.

    I look forward to our next Skype.

    All the best~
    Dan

  • Dear Louise~

    Ditto what I said to John about being reincarnated in groups. Indeed, there is something “in the air,” and maybe in the water and in food, too. It helps me to keep in mind this.

    It’s wonderful to find each other in the clearing…

    All the best
    Dan

  • Hoda Maalouf (@MaaHoda) wrote:

    Beautiful Post Dan!

    Yesterday I recalled & spoke about a friend & former colleague that I have not seen for 5 years. This evening I received a call that she died from a stroke while giving a presentation abroad. She is only 40!

    I am sure these kind of things happened with many of us. How can they be explained if we were not all inter-connected?

    I leave it here as I don’t have a very clear mind this evening.

    Hoda

  • Dear Hoda~

    I am so sorry to hear of the shocking death of your friend. And yes the synchronicity suggests a meaning no matter how random such things sometimes seem.

    Your friendship is a blessing to many, Hoda, and we are nearby to you and share in this grief.

    With condolences~
    Dan

  • […] A poem about both the place we authentically hold and our illusions of individuality."We treat ourselves as individuals. We operate in a competitive, psychologically entrepreneurial world of “best ideas,” “best knowledge,” “best having my act together.” It isn’t, in fact, all that truly collaborative."  […]

  • […] A poem about both the place we authentically hold and our illusions of individuality. "We treat ourselves as individuals. We operate in a competitive, psychologically entrepreneurial world of “best ideas,” “best knowledge,” “best having my act together.” It isn’t, in fact, all that truly collaborative."  […]

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