Even so, I don’t think we should ever get too comfortable with separation. Distance is an inevitable part of life, yes, but it’s really most beneficial to us when it drives us to transcend it. Unwelcome awkwardness, even pain, gives us impetus to get outside of ourselves and make the effort to extend our understanding, actions, and capacity. A little anguish can be a lot motivating. It can also be humbling in some pretty useful ways. Think back to the story about you getting caught in the rain on a supposedly sunny day. Or how you lost your job when you thought you were secure for the long-term. The times we come up short push us to do better, the next time around… to pay closer attention… to take more precautions. Rather than denying the importance of distance or resigning ourselves to its inevitable discomfort, we should use it to create something better.
Because it can help us do just that – create something better where we used to think what we had was good enough. It can drive us to rise above an isolated, alienated state with our inherently connecting process. Check the weather more frequently. Keep current with the latest professional trends. Even move from familiar surroundings to a different area with new opportunities and a completely different circle of friends and neighbors. As long as we’re alive, our bodies are involved in an ongoing back-and-forth that’s constantly finding new information and adding it to our understanding, improving our system’s ability to interact with our world. There’s not a single second that goes by, that our systems aren’t in dynamic interaction with our environment. It’s how we’re built. It’s what we do. And once we realize just how innate, instinctive, and normal our inclination to connect truly is, we can extend that to our larger scale world. We don’t have to figure out how to launch that exploring and integrating process. We already know how do it naturally. If you’re reading this (even if you’re not), you’re doing it right now.
Focusing on the connecting process as a natural extension our separate state can transform our relationship with everything – and everyone. It can change how we perceive success and failure, shifting it from a series of binary good/bad outcomes to an ongoing quest for what’s next. It can change a life-changing crisis from an intimidating threat to an opportunity to find out how things turn out. Indeed, it can transform the whole way we live our lives – from fear of what is, to an ongoing flow of growth and movement towards what will be. And we may just find ourselves looking for additional gaps to cross and separations to bridge. Thinking you’re stuck with what just is, is like trying to scale a rock wall without any practice, for the first time ever in your life. But when you see it as a series of chances to find out what’s next, life turns from a daunting sheet of glass with no outcroppings to help you scale it, to a climbing wall dotted with plenty of handholds and footholds to move us along.