As you read this week, contemplating your personal connection to the characters in the story, I offer you the opportunity to consider our connection to each other. In my work with youth, I often try to explain our connection as members of the human “family” by describing the different parts of a hand. From the outside we see the fingers, fingernails, knuckles and joints. We can even see veins and, of course, the skin. Underneath there are the bones and connective tissue, as well as the blood pulsing through and other things. What a wonder it is, the hand, all working together so we can hold things (like the hand of another!).
So here we have all these different things that come together to form one thing, a hand. That’s what I tell my students is how it works as people. We are all like a particular part of the hand that when brought together to work together, form something greater than our individual part. Indeed, a finger is miraculous all by itself, but in concert with other things it becomes a hand!
A former student of mine, having experienced my excitement over connections, just sent me a link to this website for the Joy T-Shirt. For further inspiration, I encourage you to take a look.
This so reminds me of talks given by Thich Nhat Hanh on inter-being, how we are all truly connected to everything we can see, hear, touch, taste, smell, see and to many things that are hidden until we look more deeply.
Geoffrey, I feel the same way about this class and other advanced kindness classes I have taken with Andy. It is not that I become friends with the other people taking classes, but their stories touch me and give me food for thought that sometimes then shapes my actions. I feel connected to all of you because of the depth of sharing that occurs and I feel supported in return by your comments on my posts or because something really resonates with an experience I am having.
Strangely enough your story about your grandmother touched me. I had a very deep experience with my deceased grandmother whom I also loved. She lived until I was 26 but I had moved away first to college then to another state far away, so saw her rarely for the last ten years of her life.
Because I had two young children at home and was living a thousand miles away I never had the closure of a funeral. I always missed her, because she had shaped me in a much more postive way than my mother — specifically she, as a farmer’s wife, always had a large garden and gave me my love of gardening. One day about two years after her death, I was aware of my connection to her as I approached my large garden to work. I chose to stand there and open myself to her presence and she was there in my mind and my heart comforting me and giving me of her love. I cannot explain it, other than to say I felt blessed by her presence.