Ava G. hanging off me like a wee, sleeping monkey. Settling in to some lyrics. Most of the tunes for the new vox/acoustic guitar record are feeling good. I need perhaps three more tunes to round out the collection. Happy Sunday, All.

LIT #1: Me, Too

Without people, you’re nothing. That’s my spiel.

-Joe Strummer


Good Ol’ Joe. He was a wise one. We are social creatures. But are we growing farther apart in some fundamental way? People, especially city dwellers, find themselves in a throng of humans on a daily basis. Like, I love you, man, but right now, you’re in my space and you have major B.O. and it’s July and there is no air conditioning on this subway car. Most of us are around others most of the time, yet how often do we connect, and is our connection waning?

Is it a symptom of these days and times? With the pace of life being what it is, I sometimes forget to stop and take stock of the goodness, to reconnect with what’s important.  I say these days, though hasn’t every generation made the proclamation that the times they were living in were the most messed up, that there was some preceding era that was somehow more noble and without the barbs and snares of human weirdness? Consecutive generations forget that, for all our advancements, we’re still pretty much the same at the root as we have been since, well, since forever. When we see humanity through the lens of history, weren’t they all wacky times?

To help me stay tuned in I practice yoga and meditation. These tools can help anyone live a much fuller and present life. The basis of the practice teaches us to be a positive force in the world, to put the well being of others before our own. This can sometimes be to our detriment and alienation. I might be feeling like a big, black thundercloud, yet if you ask me “How are you?” I will smile and say I’m good, so as not to inhale you into the storm. Though it’s not just a yoga thing. We all do this. Can I get a witness here, people?

We do it not just as an act of social martyrdom. We do it not just for the safety of our friends and society at large. It is a means of personal protection, employed to avoid the stigma of being judged for our flaws, not to mention the long arm of the mental illness label. We are afraid of appearing imperfect.

When I’ve been raw and unedited about how I feel, I see how it usually immediately changes the energy of any interaction I’m a part of.  Stating my own weakness and vulnerability often triggers the other person’s own shared, anxious quiver of being. Like attracts like. We go about, exchanging on a superficial level, for the sake of simply keeping it together and getting through the day, wary that if we open the sluice up too far, the dam might give way altogether.

Of course, there are exceptions. I met a guy at the Laundromat yesterday. He was friendly, intuitive and slightly touched. We had an immediate connection. We discovered, in the short time we hung out, that we had experienced many of the same things. We shared many me, too moments. He looked at me near the end of our exchange and told me he could see that I was plagued by something. How bald. And how true.

But aren’t we all disturbed to some degree, by a myriad of stuff? I know I am, depending on the day, yet the one thing that truly plagues me is our disconnection. With ourselves, with each other, with our dreams and longings, things sacred and divine, with the common energy that creates and connects us, which is called God by many and Love by far too few.  Y’know, the GOOD stuff.

Our current overload causes this disconnection. It drains us. It makes us strange, both to ourselves, and to one another. We are lovers. We all thrive on social and physical contact. We need each other, to survive, to reflect, to laugh, to cry, to be.  We need to hang more and hug more. We can be so very entranced by our minds carrying us away to who knows where, that we miss the wonderful, maddening immediacy and instability of life as it happens to us in real time.

Perhaps we might suffer less if we were able to confide in each other, with less fear, the glory of our flawed, battered, beautiful selves. I’m not saying that we need to let it all hang out, all the time, and make our lives one longwinded therapy session. I’m just saying that I think we could use a few more me, too moments.

Thanks for reading.