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Connections (Part 1 of Many…)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It’s funny. It seems like CONNECTION–and what that means–is something that I’m supposed to be paying attention to right now.Everywhere I go, I find myself noticing how things are connected. I have even noticed that I see the word “connections” all over the place: in books, in television commercials, on billboards, on the side of a truck…

Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a preachy blog post where I pretend to know all of the answers to everything. Or even a blog post that’s full of “I had an epiphany the other night” statements.

I haven’t been having epiphanies.

And I certainly don’t have all the answers!

It’s just a theme that continues to come up around me over and over again. And one that I’ll likely be exploring—perhaps over and over again—on the blog.

Today, I have spent several hours using my computer to connect with the world.

I am constantly amazed by the internet’s ability to bring people together. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are astounding. (And a wee bit frightening to me, too!) They have introduced me to people I probably would never have had the opportunity to meet in any other way.

I have “friendly relationships” with people all over the world. Granted, we only know as much about each other as we’re willing to share with the cyber world. But I truly look forward to their messages. (And by “their messages” I mean YOUR messages!)

I look forward to blogging every day. I have no idea who’s reading these words as I type them and then send them out into cyberspace. Kind of like the proverbial “message in bottle.” And I’m always astounded (and delighted) when someone feels compelled to leave a comment. It’s a gratifying experience. I managed to “reach” someone out there in the world—at least enough for them to want to respond.

Email allows me to write letters at any time of the day or night. So keeping in touch becomes easier and easier. I suffer from insomnia from time to time (Although I really don’t think it has anything to do with my obsession with COFFEE !) And those late night hours are often a great time for me to catch up on my email correspondence, both reading and sending. And because the receiver can read it when it’s convenient for them, I don’t have to pay attention to details like time zones, “normal” sleep hours, etc.

Cell phones keep us connected in ways we’d never dreamed of when I was a kid . I can talk on the phone and conduct a business meeting as I walk down the street. I can make phone calls to friends even though I’m MILES away from the nearest landline. (And I thought my walkie talkies were cool!)

And then, getting away from the technological side ENTIRELY…

Let’s talk about my studies with Pops on Molokai.

Pops is always pointing out how WE’RE ALL CONNECTED.

Not just people.

Everything.

The way he sees it, we’re all connected because we’re all “cut from the same cloth”—although that’s really my expression, not his.

I love when I’m working with him on some sort of cultural presentation for guests in Hālawa Valley. He’ll usually point out: “E ʻohana mākou.” We’re family.

I see the folks scratching their heads.

Does he mean “blood family?” Nope.

He means that we’re all tied together in this world. The people. The animals. The plants. The rocks. The earth. The sky. The ocean. The wind.

We’re ALL family.

We’re all connected.

And I love they way they get this far-away look in their eyes as they start to chew on that concept.

Deep stuff, indeed.

Do I have all the answers and a lot of insight? No way.

Do I have ANY answers or ANY insight? Well …

I have a lot of questions!

I’m still chewing in it, myself!

And I look forward to exploring this theme in future posts.

And I look forward to hearing YOUR stories and thoughts, as well!

2 Responses to “Connections (Part 1 of Many…)”

  1. Sean McKeag says:

    That is soo true. Great words. I don’t know you and you don’t me but what you pointed out about the idea of CONNECTION was great.Someone suggested you on FB and I was like, “This guy is playin the ukelele..” Sweet. .

  2. Sarah says:

    Your post today, especially where you talk about your Pops’ view of connection, reminded me of a DVD that my husband borrowed from the UU minister recently. It features a series of lectures on the cosmos and our place within it. I happened to come into the room when the scientist was talking about the origins of our universe; he described how just after the Big Bang (in relative terms, of course, which could be only about 17 minutes according to one source), the universe was a homogeneous mass of light elements, which as they cooled condensed into stars, which then spewed out all the other elements that make up what we now call normal matter and that we, as well as every particle around us, are quite literally Star Dust (please excuse my brief, condensed and possibly inaccurate summary – it is the origins of the universe we’re talking about here. The DVD was several hours long; origins of the solar system were even longer).

    We are all made from Star Dust. How very cool is that! But it also carries heavy implications because it means that everything is Star Dust and thereby carries that mystical creative energy of the Big Bang within itself. We don’t get to exclude anything from that primordial fabric (we really are all family). Try thinking about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic or shoves you as they push past on the subway. Everything, from the dirt and grass under your feet, to the blue whale in the sea, to the giant reptiles that once walked the land, to the water you drink and the hand that you hold the glass with is Star Dust. Deep connections indeed.

    And yet, we are obviously not all the same homogeneous mass of atoms; it is in fact, the very diversity of the the Star Dust that makes us unique and the same all at once. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, indeed – you will never be the same as anyone else, nor will you be the same from one moment to the next. The molecules of yourself aren’t really the same ones you started with; they are now a part of something or someone else, just as the atoms that you have right now once were part of other times, places and combinations; you quite possibly have molecules that once belonged to a dinosaur! Talk about deep connections!

    And I think the internet is beginning to underscore that connection; like a vast network of neurons (if you really want to talk connections just look a human neural network, but that’s too much to go into here) it connects us nearly instantaneously to the other side of our small planet, allowing us to see wonders and people that we once only dreamed of or told stories of in the past. It pulls you out of yourself and makes you realize both how tiny you are in relation to the world (not the mention the universe) and yet how much a part of each other we all truly are. Such a strange dichotomy, yet one that defines our age.

    As one who has a sleep schedule that is definitely not based on a twenty four hour clock, I, like Jason, love the ability to connect over the net any time of day (or night). And how fun is it to get a great bunch of birthday wishes on your day from friends you hardly remember are out there! The connections are fascinating and certainly worth of other blog posts, Jason! So much to explore on such a vast topic! Are there answers out there? I don’t know at all – but it certainly makes the journey interesting.