And rare. We don’t nurture it in our culture. We declare people should “be direct!” —but the abstraction of words demands a point of view, and suggests separate interpretations, and so clouds Being. Sensing presence requires not thinking, or “communicating,” or even responding, rather it silently invites an open communion of feeling. In this way it softly reveals our unspoken bonds.
So these days, I often absorb and recharge while wandering on my own. I also mostly work alone. Which means I spend a great deal of my life in quiet. I don’t think I’m a misanthrope; I can engage with most folks, and truly enjoy hearty conversation. I’m a decent listener, can even be chatty, and often learn from dialogue with others. Generally I measure as between introvert and extrovert on the scales. But applying the standard extrovert/introvert rubric “do you recharge through being with people or being alone” clearly qualifies me as a version of the latter.
Lately I feel critical of and less attracted to social media. Maybe because I’ve suddenly lost some friends and loved ones — real losses, not social media “unfriendings” — but hard-to-bear, heart-challenging adjustments of minimized calls, correspondence, or contact; in some cases, that severest of transitions, death. I suspect grieving all such losses makes one reconsider what’s real and genuine.
Yet I also seem to have a need (or strong desire) to share what brings me joy. And hypocritically I end up sharing on social media! Is this now our only avenue of exchange, or simply the most convenient one? Or is it the way that gives us a dopamine rush most instantaneously and efficiently?
But beyond the means, I wonder, what drives my desire to share? Is it an introvert’s safe way to balance an inner insecurity, a need to be seen or heard in my social circle, without actually showing up to a meeting in a circle? If we were having more genuine exchanges, if we really were sharing and felt heard, would we still be so desperate to abstractly post about living? I wonder, if I was sharing wordless experiences with others, would I still feel the need to use words to articulate or express the experience here or elsewhere?…
Or is sharing in any form, about minor concerns, huge worries, great celebrations, or small joys simply intrinsic to being an engaged vital human? In lieu of physical contact, maybe it’s a healthy lifeline that sustains our connections until we are pulled from the seas of isolation—when we recover our footing enough to wordlessly share our stories, be truly touched by offering our direct physical presence to another.
Often I’m at peace sharing my presence solely with the non-human world. I can savor the exchange while wandering woods or sitting on my haunches at the edge of a river. This evening I enjoyed the crisp autumn air, slowly chirping crickets, the waving golden grasses, shimmering jade ripples, watched the sky itself transition from azure to rosy crimson. But having recently not been given an option about letting go of a few loved ones (with each of whom I could effortlessly share silence), I recognized I’m not a fully realized hermit, not quite yet.
Nonetheless even as I ached about not sharing the rich and beautiful communion of evening with each of those now distanced, inexplicably, I believe we did.