I had an existential crisis and a vieux carre in Nashville last week. Luckily, I was with friends with a higher alcohol tolerance than I….so they could drive.
It was a unusual trip because I normally travel alone. I’ll lean on my myer’s briggs personality results (INFJ), and spend a week with my only lover — the sea.
But something interesting happened when I added: different variables, close proximity, and a lot of momentum…
Newton was the first to discover that it’s the attractive force between objects that have mass — held together by a center of gravity.
The closer the objects get to each other, and to the center of gravity, the faster they gravitate towards each other.
In contrast, as they get further apart, that force of gravity dissipates quickly.
So for this vacation experiment, I added: 40 people, the city of Nashville, 6 days power-packed with music (of course), about 20 cups of coffee, and my entire monthly budget on restaurants.
Proof of inherently being drawn to other people.
I’m a creature made for connection — at the core of individual humans, there is a constant unseen force drawing each of us towards relationship with each other.
Over that gorgeous cocktail, hand-rolled gnocchi and a spotless city sky with a few folks I was just pretty good friends with, we had a conversation that changed me.
I was no longer a wandering particle in a sea of dark matter — but seen.
Put under a microscope, illuminated with light; and understood.
All the while, doing the same for them.
It was there I realized that growing up, I was constantly running away and hiding in the hopes that someone would find me when I was upset.
In C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, he explains it this way:
“Pity was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery… Those who choose misery can hold joy up to ransom, by pity… Even as a child you did it. Instead of saying you were sorry, you went and sulked in the attic… because you knew that sooner or later one of your sisters would say, “I can’t bear to think of him sitting up there alone, crying.” You used their pity to blackmail them, and they gave in in the end.”
The sad thing is — I noticed I still do this.
But instead of blackmailing people into finding me (which has never worked), I have learned to run away and run into my own arms.
I’ll leave a conversation and hide when I feel uncomfortable.
I have 5-7 designated hiding spots at work when my inbox overflows.
I run to a new city when a relationship goes south.
Running and hiding is my default — not my personality, but perhaps a learned trait.
A family member probably didn’t mean harm when he said this, but his description of me as a child has always stuck with me:
“We didn’t even know she was around most of the time.”
Because my most comforting childhood memories were of climbing trees alone to read, riding my bike around our tiny town, and discovering the internet at our public library.
The greater the distance, the quicker a mass’s gravity is weakened to other mass and to the center of gravity.
The further away we are from our source — our relationships, quality of life, demeanor, well-being, health — everything good in us is greatly diminished.
It was refreshing this past week to be taken care of, loved, and treated as family.
To be seen, to be really heard, to feel compassion — and to truly be that for another.
It’s a interesting dichotomy to be replenished in the process of pouring out.
At our core,
We are created for connection.
To refresh and restore each other.
To love without borders.
To take a leap into relationship.
To be in pursuit of real trust.
The absolute highlight of the trip
were the moments I broke down.
When I was told to stop trying to
control every outcome.
To not put expectations on myself that aren’t fair.
To not project those onto innocent bystanders.
Our center of gravity — is love.
It’s all encompassing of all things
essential to life.
It’s rooted deep within us
growing a gravitational field
the more we nurture it.
And the more we individually,
and those around us,
chase the source
that is ever pursuing us --
The tighter the bond.
The greater the force.
The more towards completed we become.
bib — Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). The Great Divorce (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (Kindle Locations 1225-1229). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. // http://physics.about.com/od/classicalmechanics/a/gravity.htm