When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe. –John Muir
What do you do when you’re feeling low? Do you go inward or reach out?
As an introvert, I am in the inward camp. And while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, there are times where it simply isn’t the right instinct. And this is why: there are moments where we all need to ask for help. The moments that for whatever reason are too hard to bear alone are meant to be shared, processed and carried together. They are one of the ways we connect to each other.
A couple of years ago, I had a life changing moment in a gardening class, of all places. I was commuting to the class from my new home in Calgary to Edmonton most Wednesdays. I would leave Calgary around 2:00 pm, drive to Edmonton for my class and leave once it was done, arriving back in Calgary just after midnight. I was making it work. Barely. I was really depleted and knew I had to make some changes but I was really at a loss for what to do. I could have wept on the Wednesday Edmonton permaculturalist Dustin Bajer started talking Muir webs and almost casually mentioned that everything living is resilient in direct correlation with the number of connections it has. Yes, he was talking about plants, but the implications of this idea on human life, all life, is amazing. The more connected you are, genuinely connected, to other people, to animals, to this earth, the greater your capacity for giving and receiving love, the more you will flourish. Obvious to some, but I was spellbound.
Connection equals resilience. Connection equals resilience. These words came to me at exactly the right time. My husband and I had recently relocated our little family to our hometown, after being away for 15 years. And we were coming back to some difficult things. We’d chosen this new life in favour of a city we loved, people we loved, a home we loved. I was heartbroken. Mere weeks after we moved, my sweet oldest son was starting kindergarten. I needed to be there by his incredibly social side and all I wanted to do was hide. Armed with the refrain connection equals resilience, I laced up my shoes and carried my younger baby in a sling. I followed my oldest son where he wanted to go. I cracked myself open to new possibilities and bit by bit, things started to feel better. One day I noticed this resistance of mine wasn’t really a problem anymore. I realized I’d built a new life I liked. I’d become connected to this new place and found my people. I don’t miss the city we left, or the home, but I still miss the people I no longer get to see all of the time anymore. Some of these people I haven’t seen since we moved, some only once or twice, and yet, I still feel connected to them. And this enriches my life.
This photo of the dandelion reminds me that at our core, we are all prolific. We have the ability to create opportunity after opportunity for ourselves. Each of us is the sum of a vast number of layered parts, always changing. And when life feels uncomfortable, it is because we are feeling the growth that comes from those changes.
Growth always results in further connections, be it neural, social, familial. And each connection, through space and time, makes us stronger, more resilient.
Everything living so vital, so powerful beyond belief, simply because it is attached to everything else. What a beautiful comfort, to know that nature is designed as a web you are an essential part of. You are supposed to be connected, so much so that you can never be truly alone. You are supported. In knowing this, be bold. Just like a branch toward the sun, reach out to what you want. Open.