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Bids for Connection...

We get them all the time.  And we miss them all the time.  So many times in a day people reach out to us in some way to connect up with us, and so very often we fail to pick up what they are laying down.

It can be your teenager wanting to show you something online, or begin a conversation about some drama in their life.  It could be a client holding you on the phone a little longer.  It could be someone making idle chit chat in the grocery store line.  It could be your love, telling you about their day.  

Sometimes all our communicating, the point seems to get lost in the shuffle.  I know that I get busy and then I become very single minded in my focus, “GET THE JOB AT HAND DONE!” And it is all about getting that done so I can move onto something else.  And when I am in this mode, I fail to see or recognize the human beings, or animal beings that are vying for my attention.

Truth be told, attention is one of the most important things I have to give.  And honestly, in today’s world, it is the thing that I cheapen and short shrift the most.  I am always so distracted, doing too many things at once.  I am living beyond human scale...and it shows.

No matter how much I intend to slow down, create the space and allow those bids for connection to land and be addressed, I still miss them.  Sometimes because I do not want to connect with that person, or at that time.  Most often it is because I have too much to do in one day and I am trying to clear the tasks in front of me so that I can do the things I want to do.  And very often, those other people who insert themselves into my life feel like interruptions and intrusions when they are really opportunities for me to connect to my life, in real time.

And I miss them.  I miss them all too frequently.

Perhaps I have always felt like uninvited bids for connection are interruptions to the life I am currently living.  I am not sure why I am bent this way, I just know I am.  My nickname as a child was Busy Lizzy.  I was always busy.  Handling shit, doing things, going places, talking to the people.  And I can see now that I have spent the whole of my life living beyond human scale.  This idea that life has become larger than the ability of human.  That there is too much going on that is impossible or even desirable for one person to manage, handle, live or experience.  And I really do feel that I have been there the whole of my life.  The life that was happening for me, to me, with me was always evolving, ever burgeoning into something greater than what it was just moments before.  And bids for connection are multipliers of this beyond human scale thing.

Esther Perel said, “I have a thousand friends, but no one to feed my cat.”  And that makes so much sense to me.  I have all these “connections” in my life through social media, work, social circles and the more I have, the less connected I feel because there just isn’t time in my life or even day to really connect with everyone who I am currently somewhat connected to.  And so many of the bids for connection, no matter how small or slight, go unnoticed, unresponded to, unattended because I just can’t manage it all.  And because I am living life on this beyond human scale, scale, I miss those bids for connection from the people most important to me.  I am trying to do too much with too many people and it shows.  I break the possibility for intimacy because keeping this light and superficially managed feels better than giving people my time, energy and attention when I feel that I do not have enough time, energy and attention for myself.

I have all these people in and around my life but I feel a great gap in being able to ask any of them for the help I really need, or want, or hope for...I have so many people I talk to in a day, but no one (other than my mom) who I feel comfortable asking to feed my cat. And I know that I am not alone on this one, likely you feel this way too. We all do. Here we are living this life, and we have all these people in it but there is fundamental lacking of actual connection that feels like it is growing exponentially with every day that passes.

It is a vicious cycle we are creating in today’s world.  You “need” the followers, the likes, the attention from the masses in order to be “successful."  But I wonder how much this new yardstick is really measuring?  You can have a million followers and be disconnected from everyone.  And that feels really fucked up.

I know when someone pays attention to me, I feel it on a level that feels spiritual.  When someone sees me, responds to me or initiates contact with me, I feel seen, heard and important to them.  But how much am I doing that for others?  Aren’t I mostly distracted, creating situations where the people I love and like the most have to vie for my attention? And so very often come up short and wanting?

I am not sure how to solve the problem.  I do not think any of us are living a life on human scale.  We are so far beyond that as a culture today.  Globally.  How can we possibly shrink it down and still live in this world?  I haven’t a fucking clue.  I know this is what feeds my buy a cabin in the woods and disappear desire.  Shrink my life down to the very basics:  sleep, eat, exercise, write, connect, pray, repeat.  And I will fully admit that this desire grows stronger daily.

The internet and social media have brought the masses to my doorstep.  And now they are all clamoring to get in.  And I don’t really want them in, in fact, I really only have the time and energy for a selected few and currently I can’t give them all the time and attention they deserve.  My life is being blown up by all the people who are bidding for my attention and to be connected.  And while that feels good on some level, there is a boomerang effect that is quite damaging.

I am not sure what to do about any of this except to say that I am going to try to do better at realizing the bids for connection from the people I love and responding to them in real time.  Not putting off my kids, my parents, my close friends, my lover.  I am going to try to appreciate and respond to these bids for connection not as interruptions to my day, but as the point of my day. Perhaps a large perspective change is the only thing I can do to shrink my life back into some human scale.  I am only human after all...and I shall never feel successful or really even good so long as my life is happening on this scale that is so much larger than what I am capable of having, experiencing and enjoying.

I do not have to accept every bid I get.  But I really do feel like I can be more mindful about the ones I receive from the people I love, even my cat or dog.  I work from home and they come to engage with me, to connect with me every single day and most days, I am embarrassed to admit, I am annoyed by their presence, their insertion of themselves into my day.  I am fucking busy and I don’t have time to pet you right now!  But if I don’t have time for that, why the hell are they here?  And it isn’t just them that I treat this way, it is everyone, no matter how dear and loved they are. What a shitty way to go through this life!  Treating those we love as an interruption, an issue to be dealt with, an inconvenience to an already jam packed schedule.

One of my most favorite parts of the day is right now.  I am in bed, writing and all the cats come to me and make their bid for connection with me.  And I miss it more than I don’t.  Like right now, I am here typing away (my agenda) and I currently have four cats within petting range.  They all have chosen to be close to me, while I am still and available and so very often I am too busy handling the shit I want to handle to notice that they are offering love to me in their desire to be close to me, to engage with me, to snuggle up to me.  And I fucking miss it with them and you and so frequently in my life that it feels almost criminal.

Why do I not make the time for those I love?  Why do I let the events of the day grind me down and out and away from the whole purpose of this life?  I am here to connect, to show up, to be available first to myself and then to others.  And just how often do I actually achieve that?  Given all the bids for connection I eschew and send back without a response or only with a rebuff, it would appear that I am missing the point of this whole living endeavor.



And honestly, I am not sure how to change it.  How do I get all that is asked of me done in a day?  How can I do that and accept the bids for connection from those I love and want and need in my life?  How can I possibly live on this human scale when the world around me spirals out of control and so far beyond any reasonable human scale?  How can I stop being a human doing all the time and live as a human being?

I guess the first part is noticing there is a problem...and I do.  I see that my living this life so far out beyond my human limitations is an issue that is only going to make the problem worse.  I cannot possibly connect with all those bidding for my attention and time.  So I have to deploy curiosity and discernment.  Curiosity to keep it fun and light. And discernment so that I do not allow myself to become held by all the very many requests, demands and insistences by others.  I have to prioritize, we all do.  Lest we perish in a sea of others who are likewise drowning from all the contact, while we feel completely and utterly alone.

Perhaps that is the definition today of true loneliness, to be completely overwhelmed by all the bids for connection coupled with no real ability to accept any of them.

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