Thursday, July 13, 2006

The connection (revisited)

So Tuesday night I’m sneaking out of the Go-Go’s concert at the Roxy (hosted by Microsoft) when an ex co-worker shouts ‘Heather!’ and foils my escape.

I haven’t seen this woman in a year. We rarely spoke when we worked together. But at that moment, it was as if we were long lost relatives.

“It’s so good to SEE you. We should TALK this week. Where are you STAYING?” She gushed.

This is Familiar Face in a Foreign Land (FFFL) syndrome. She was overly excited to see me only because she’s in Boston not expecting to run into a soul she knows.
FFFL syndrome also is one possible explanation for the connection concept I mentioned earlier this week.

Incidentally, I am revisiting this topic at the behest of a dear friend who admonished me (actually he began with GOD DAMN YOU! and it got worse from there) for not giving the whole connection thing the attention it deserved.

So here's the big question that I ‘ran the feather duster over’ last time: Why do these rare, profound connections occur?
I moved to Illinois in 1989. It took more than a year of living there before running into someone I actually knew and sadly, it was my fat, mean bitch of a roommate.

Because of FFFL syndrome, I practically hugged her right there in the canned goods section of the grocery store, having finally found a familiar face. As humans, we search for the familiar -- people, things, and experiences to help us feel comfortable. To make us feel like there is order in our environment.

On the flip side, we’d like to believe we’re unique. There's only one you, they told us in kindergarten, and we believed it. So we think the odds are slim we’ll find someone just like us out there in the world.

In reality there are people like us everywhere – you can’t walk 10 feet without tripping over someone with whom you’ve got at least 10 things in common.

But we delude ourselves into thinking we’re special. So when we encounter someone who is actually like a long lost relative, we think it’s a miracle.

I like this explanation because it is rational. But you can’t rationalize a feeling. You can’t apply logic to a miracle.
The last time it happened, it was profound. Exceptional. Recognition on a molecular level.

The explanation I’ve favored most up to this point is reincarnation. Some people are familiar because we actually knew each other in another lifetime. It’s FFFL syndrome on a higher level.

I won’t get into the whole debate here, but my personal belief in reincarnation is based on the First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

Reincarnation would explain the quiet soul-shaking experience of the connection. It also takes care of the somewhat mystical quality of these unexpected relationships.

I like this explanation because it acknowledges the profundity of the connection.
You’ve heard this old Buddhist proverb: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

That’s another possible explanation. People appear at certain times in your life for a reason. To teach you something. To take you from one phase to the next. Or to help you get back on the right path, to remind you who you really are.

Why did that connection happen at that exact point in your life? Maybe it didn’t happen earlier because you weren’t ready or didn’t need it. Then BAM! Suddenly you meet this person and everything seems right for that time in your life.

I like this explanation because I believe that the Universe gives you what you need when you need it; lessons, people and sometimes, if you’re lucky the person is the lesson.
Then there’s this: If we’re all connected – truly one – like I think we are, maybe these special connections are glimpses of the divine. A sample of the true nature of the universe.

If that’s the case, then these fascinating glimpses just become big distractions. Why? Because it feels like a small miracle, we pay attention to it (usually too much.)

It’s very easy to be around people we feel connected with, but we don’t always learn things from taking the easy route.

So is the connection a small miracle to be honored and cherished? A lesson delivered from the Universe? Or is it a comforting distraction that keeps us from learning and growing? Or some combination of all three?

Here’s all I want: To feel that connection – that profound, joyful, effortless link – with everyone.

Now that would be a miracle.
I am listening to: Bob Schneider – The World Exploded into Love
I am reading: 1776
And I am: Rather blah this morning, quite frankly.