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The need to connect

It is a basic human need to love and be loved. As basic as the need to eat, to be clothed and to have a safe place to lie one's head. It is also a basic human need to connect. For the majority of people who live and grew up in the vicinity of their nearest and dearest, this is a given. However for those of us pursuing a more transient existence, connection can become a treasured and rare commodity. From as far back as memories take me, I have always been of the different genus. Never quite fitting in, always an outsider, an anomalie, a 'not one of us' person. It became my normality. In school when I didn't want to play 'Kiss the Girls' In college when I knew every bus schedule to the minute so I could run from job to job In work when I decided learning should no longer waste people's time In France where I always had a 'petit accent' In England where I was told 'you speak beautiful English. The list could go on and on. I called many places home. I got on with everybody. I had friends. But the people I connected with on a deep human level were few and far between. After fifteen years of being told 'I didn't belong' in the city of beautiful lights simply because of my 'petit accent', I returned to the country of my childhood to pursue my research. I looked forward to fitting in. To being able to open my mouth and 'be one of everybody' My aspirations faded as soon as I entered native territory. Once again, I was treated as a foreigner and any real connections I could count on one hand. It was perplexing. If I can't be the same then I will just be different. On every level. Face. Voice. Mind. I relocated to Asia. And that's when it happened. That's when the unbelievable happened. Person by person I started to make connections. Real connections. Deep connections. Human connections. People not like me yet deeply similar. Like something invisible pulling us together. How was that possible? Person after person after person. I quickly ran out of fingers. Yet in making these connections, each one uniquely precious, each one lighting up my heart, something else came to light. Something we may take for granted yet not even be aware exists. You see connections are like roots. Like those deep never ending roots of a mangrove forest. Each man a grove. Each grove a man. Each connected in an invisible web of roots largely hidden from the naked eye. Hidden below the layers of silt and of sand, of that thing we call life of that thing we call being busy. Hidden to a point where we even start to doubt their very existence, question their strength, and even feel very alone. But then I started to think more closely. Where does that fragility lie? And when I raise my eyes, what do I see? In the mire of life, the constant wave, that feeling of being submerged and trapped in the silt, we may fear those connections getting buried like lost treasure, seen once and gone forever. But think again. Raise your eyes, stretch your arms and as far as you see, even within touch will be countless groves of man. You see a mangrove is strong not because of deep roots. It avoids getting washed out to sea not because it is clinging to a rock mass. A mangrove is strong because of those connections. Sure, those connections may be hidden by the mud of life, but that is also what adds to their strength, adds to their perpetuity. Connection Gently lapped by the waves of day-to-day anxiety we enter a cycle of interdependence, where even the negative adds to the positive. Not one without the other but all together. Connection Looking beyond the obvious at what actually brings life together. Connection How do you treasure connection? #happyvalentinesday


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