I remember being taught that I needed to get somewhere, before I could succeed, before I could feel real. That once I crossed a certain point, passed a test, got accepted, became a member or attained a degree, then I would be somewhere where I could really start. But why not start from here? From right where I am.
Look at the parts that are closest to me, by proximity, by relation, by chronology. With whom do I share my space, my time, my heritage, my future? Who are the neighbors on my block, the person in the cubicle next to me? Notice the tree across the street, the books on my shelf, the squirrel on my porch, the sun through my window, the person in line at the grocery, the body I live in? And wonder intentionally, why are there gaps and holes? What parts are most disconnected? What do I want to change?
The place where I am is just right. It is the best, and in fact, only place that I can be. It turns from an unattainable spot on a ledge high above me to a flexible presence that grows organically, and moves as a whole to other unpredictable places. What if I shift my awareness from a remote destination, to the very center of where I am right now? What if I hold that priority, that of connection, above all else? Above accomplishment, above greed, above fear.
I stop finishing a sentence if I feel the link between our hearts drop. I turn down a well-paying job. I take a break even when I am driven to push on. I do strange things, that from the outside may seem foolish, or confusing. I change paths suddenly. I may go for a walk when it is time to eat. I may give you a gift on a Tuesday, and forget about you completely on your birthday. I may do something I said I wouldn’t do, or surprise us both with something I hadn’t planned.
I heard a story on NPR about “confidence men”. They commented that the first appearance of con men in the United States came back in the mid-1800s back when there were still thousands of types of currency. Those who fell prey, were almost always those mesmerized with greed, those who would place confidence in an untruth for the sake of getting more than they need. Con men, they said, took root at the point where the American dream began to thrive, where people dreamed of being successful independently by using their own brains, rather than depending on connection. What if the new American dream were to succeed by being connected, and by working together to get what we need?