Kind Promise: I will celebrate connections.

Today I am celebrating my online connections. Some people are not happy with online culture. They fear that people will forget how to be physically present with each other, that people will no longer make eye contact or understand the art of in-person conversation. Some days, those fearful people are me. Not today.

If I had been born 50 years before I was, but was as disabled as I am, chances are I would be isolated at home. People might visit, but I wouldn’t go out. Even if disability weren’t in the picture, I would know a couple dozen people – relatives, people who shopped in the same places or went to the same church. I would see people who were geographically or biologically close to me. My view of human possibility would be smaller.

With an Internet connection and ability to surf the web, I can find people who are philosophically and spiritually close to me. This morning, I have exchanged e-mail with some dear friends I have never physically met. I have read blog posts from folks with whom I have much in common. They are artists and mystics. I was born into both of those roles and neither are approved by society in general. Artists and mystics are weird and it would be easy to think that there is something wrong with me if I can’t help but be that way. I have, as Seth Godin would say, found my tribe.

If I want to understand more about people from other tribes, an online approach is safe. I can read about who they are and what they believe. I can have my uncomfortable emotional response at a distance. I can engage with them tentatively until I’m ready to move forward. Frankly, I don’t do this much. In the same way as I don’t go to NRA rallies or conservative churches, I don’t visit websites of the folks who do. Maybe it would make the world a better place if I did. It’s an interesting activity to consider. I chose the words “celebrate connections” carefully because creating new connections moves me outside my comfort zone and, because these are kind promises, it wasn’t about pushing. Maybe the next set of promises should be invitations to expand…

For now, I celebrate my ability to “find my people.” It is an absolute delight to stumble on more kinfolk as I browse. My life is enriched by their wisdom, their creativity and their approaches to life.

Postscript: the video below – about our intimate connection with the cosmos – was embedded in one of the blogs I follow today. Serendipity!