Things that separate us, things that bring us together

Together but in their own worlds, three people at the beach, enveloped by dense mist

Together but in their own worlds, three people at the beach, enveloped by dense mist

A thought experiment:

You're in a dense mist, you can't see your way ahead - it could feel pleasant, bewitching, annoying - what's it like for you?  do you need to see ahead clearly?  is it ok to be uncertain about what lies ahead?

You're with people but don't feel part of the group - do you mind, can that be ok for you?  is it difficult to be alone with yourself?  can you interact and try to connect despite that feeling? 

Will you stay at the edge where things are clearer, take a few steps into the water or wade out into the mist?  will you seek some connection with the people with you?  will that make a difference to what you try or can do? 

I was struck when I saw these three people, quietly doing their own thing in that dense mist - together, but separate.  And I thought - there are all kinds of "mists" in our lives - not necessarily a problem - but they may blur the view ahead and push us into our separate worlds.  Things like:

  • being intensely focused on particular goals - they could be difficult or pleasurable
  • transitions - big or little changes in how we are, where we are, what we are doing
  • ill-health - for ourselves or people in our lives
  • unexpected events - possibly exciting, possibly unfortunate (winning the lottery could be both!)

And I thought about how we humans experience ourselves as separate.  But we also have an inbuilt need to be with others for a sense of safety, for support, for caring, for purpose.  We need kinship - that's where the word kindness comes from. 

  • are there times when it's hard to get that balance of connection and separation to work for you?
  • can you be there for other people and have other people there for you?
  • can you be there for yourself?

 Just as mist will clear, somehow you will find a way through.  But just as a breeze helps to shift the mist, getting what you need from yourself and the people in your life can ease the way for you.  You may need encouragement, practical help, reminders of your courage or competence, a new skill, physical calming or strengthening, laughter or quiet...

It is a kindness to notice what works for you and discover what helps you most.

Helen NelsonComment