Relationships are Everything
By Summer Intern, Jack Lajoie
Imagine our world…with its array of shifting salt seas, buzzing bumble bees, and thriving thickets of trees. Think of a bustling city street—the sounds of shuffling feet and honking horns, hot-air blasts from the subway below, vapor rising from beautiful mounds of roasting peanuts, and the sight of words scrolling by urgently on neon marquees. The globe hums with energy and action. It sings as a great symphony of voices, laughing, yelling, crying, whispering, chattering…melodies undulating across the land as the dancers spin in interchanging cycles. It crackles with the electricity of connections being made, broken, and remade, like neurons firing on and off in a brain.
Throughout our lives we are constantly moving, growing, and changing. Each day is filled with opportunities for connection as we cross paths with others while they dance their own distinct songs. Sometimes our steps coincide naturally, and sometimes we crash into each other, leaving us in a tangled mess of uncoordinated legs and arms. Sometimes a hand is extended to us, inviting us into another’s rhythm for a time, and sometimes many hands pull us away from our own beat. These connections and collaborations give our collective dance its beauty and patterns. They are what keep us together, much as atoms that would otherwise fly off in all directions are held together by chemical bonds to form an atom, our connections make us whole. Without them, ‘we’ would cease to exist. As individuals, our energy and motion is singular and narrow. But as a whole maintained by relationships, we have much more potential and can exhibit much more beauty.
Human existence is defined by motion and our common currency is e-motion. Feelings and emotions are what make us real and also what make us relatable. Most people think about love and romantic relationships when they hear the words ‘feelings and emotions’. But those are not the only type of relationships that are based on emotions. In fact, I would say that all relationships are based on some form of emotion, even the most restrained business partnership.
They can be positive or negative, as can emotions, and I think more often than not the two sides of each coin coincide with each other. Regardless, I’m sure many of us would say that the most enjoyable and most fulfilling relationships in our lives, with family, friends, lovers, etc., are those in which emotion is most evident. When you show emotion, you give someone outside of yourself the chance to reciprocate that emotion in some way. Those are the moments when relationships are formed. Reciprocation is the key ingredient for creating any type of relationship. If you never show any emotion, you are cutting yourself off from the possibility of making connections with others by denying them the chance for reciprocation, and seeing as you can’t reciprocate your own emotions, it would make for a very lonely existence.
The best way to show emotion is by sharing, specifically, sharing the things that you love: your time, work, art, friends, family, community…the things that make us who we are. Sharing opens up a whole new world of possibilities between previously separate individuals living separate lives far from each other. It allows us to relate to one another on deeper levels and plant the seeds of positive relationships in fertile soil. That’s what we’re doing at Human Connections: creating opportunities for sharing. It’s really quite simple. By bringing together people from diverse social, cultural, and economic backgrounds, we are helping people experience the presence of emotion in others that live far outside their usual social patterns. These moments of sharing facilitate connections that serve to foster deeper relationships among all human beings and collectively have the power to break down the barriers that divide us from one another, and ultimately from ourselves.
You might say I’m oversimplifying things a bit, and you might be right. But I promise you, if you dare to share those thoughts bouncing around in your head and those feelings bleeding out of your heart, you will be amazed with what happens around and inside of you. Feel, laugh, cry, sing, and allow yourself to really be with others. You will learn about things you never knew were there, and your personal journey will be better for it. We are all a part of this great and beautiful dance, so let yourself loose and permit your feet to guide you as we all sway to the rhythm of life.