Updated: Jan 22, 2022
I had a dream the other night that I want to share with you. In the dream, I was above a street looking down and the scene below was nearly black and white, with brick buildings and cyclone fences. I was urban and a bit gritty. There were people below, but none were moving especially fast. I saw a man that reminded me of Lennie Small from John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’. He was large and wearing a very colorful patchwork coat. He was going from one person to another holding out his coat and looking for someone who had a similar one. He showed them his coat and felt a sense of disappointment each time they shook their head and waved him on. As he continued, I could feel his mood dampen and his enthusiasm wane as he wondered if he would ever find someone with a coat like his. When he finally did, he was overjoyed when he could share his precious coat with someone who had a similar one. At that moment, he felt like he belonged. He connected.
As I awakened, I was struck by the loneliness and pain he felt looking for someone who was like him. As my mind came out of the sleep-drunk state it was in, I was nearly in tears thinking how much he craved the connection to another, and how he persisted until he found it. The art journal page for today is a representation of what that coat looked like. It may remind you of the crazy quilts that were popular in the late 1800’s into the Depression Era that used up scraps of fabric in beautiful ways. My grandmother had one and I always loved the colors and sweet embroidery stitched on it. It represents to me the resourcefulness and resilience that the man in my dream demonstrated in looking for someone to connect with.
As I think about the year in front of me, with the notion of a fresh beginning, I reflect on the importance of feeling connected to others. That’s been interrupted for us globally and I think nearly everyone has felt a longing to connect in one way or another. It’s a vital part of how we’re wired as human beings. When we’re not connected to a group, we’re vulnerable. Our brains are still operating as though we live in communal groups in order to survive. Even though that’s not the case so much now with our modern conveniences, our brains haven’t really caught on to that. So, by being isolated from our social circles, we’re fighting a primal fear that we’re in some kind of danger. It leaves many of us anxious, tense and feeling at a loss without knowing the cause.
I’ve found ways to connect that are different that I did before and it’s working for now, but I crave the freedom to call someone up and hang out at a coffee shop to catch up. Video calls only go so far to bridge that gap, and honestly, the incongruence of the video, eye-contact and ability to read subtle facial features can leave me feeling a bit exhausted after such calls. But, it’s better than nothing and I’m grateful for the ability to see people in these calls.
One of the things about blogging is the one-way communication and that feels a bit empty. While it feels good to get my thoughts down on the page, I sometimes pretend to have conversations with imaginary friends about my blogs, just to get a sense of what people might feel or think based on what I’ve written. If you have ideas or thoughts that you would like to share with me, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to start a conversation with you about the things that I’m writing about.
I’ll leave you with a couple of questions to think about. How has the inability to make connections impacted you? Are you doing anything to cope or bridge the lost connections? What do you most look forward to when we return to a way of life that is safer for us to gather?
Thanks so much for joining me on this journey with The Living Art Journal. I’ll be back with more thoughts and art to try and make sense of it all!