Saturday, October 8, 2011


For the last couple of months, I've been thinking about connections.  The person I've been closest to - my main connection - died, so I'm paying attention.  Death might seem to be the big disconnect, but I'm sensing that's not necessarily so.  Besides my connection to my now dead husband Tom, I've been noticing connections in general:  people I thought I was connected to that seem to have fallen away and others with whom the connection wasn't obvious suddenly showing up, as if to confirm that yes, there is indeed a connection.  The web of interconnections seems at once fragile and resilient.

The world-wide web is a technical reflection of the interconnectedness I'm talking about.  I can sit down to share my thoughts and feelings in a blog like this and within minutes, people with whom I'm connected can receive that message in their inbox.   As I've been processing my grief and new circumstances, I've used the internet and my writing as a way to stay connected and to reach out for even further connection.

But it doesn't always work that way.  My effort to connect can sometimes produce a reverse effect.  For example, I got the equivalent of a slap in the face when someone I'd known for decades and thought of as a friend responded with a "Fu*k Your Blog!" subject heading.  She took offense that I had communicated about Tom's death in a public format rather than directly to her. Her extreme response was the ultimate fulfillment of my long-held fear of negative judgment for putting myself 'out there' in writing.  Ironically, she presented me with a gift I couldn't have received otherwise.  Not only did her response clue me in to the quality of our friendship, but it helped me clarify that I write because I feel called to do so, whether others like it or not.   

Nevertheless, the disconnect there and the surprisingly strong connections that emerged elsewhere since Tom died suggest to me that his death created an almost electrical disturbance in the field, as if lightning had struck.

As often happens, my inner thoughts were mirrored in my outer world.  My personal experiences of connections/disconnections were being played out in a series of electrical problems that required my attention.  While preparing to sell the RV that Tom and I traveled in together, I was faced with a generator that wouldn't start, fuses that blew, and an electrical short circuit in the garage.  Disconnections.

Once all that was sorted out (believe me, I am unskilled and ill prepared to deal with any of it!), my electrical stove started acting up.  Stove top burners that I turned to the off position wouldn't turn off while the oven that I didn't turn on turned on by itself.  The problem climaxed with smoke and sparking from the control panel.  Finally a technician came to diagnose the problem and declared the stove beyond repair, in other words, kaput.  

Dealing with these recent events, I consider that the basic facts of electricity and human connection may be similar:  Particles with electric charge interact with each other through the electromagnetic force, creating electric fields and when they are in motion, magnetic fields. The electric fields tend to result in a repulsive force between particles with charges of the same sign, and an attractive force between charges of opposite sign.  (The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)
    As a metaphor, it works for me.  The enormous charge surrounding Tom's death and my ensuing grief may have created some kind of force field that repelled some - causing short circuits and even burn out - while attracting others, generating one awesome connection after another. What could account for the variability of the disharmony or harmony, the connection or disconnection?

    To answer that question, I look to the physical and spiritual heart. The heart is the physical organ that transmits the strongest electromagnetic frequency in the body and also the organ that has long been considered the source of compassion and wisdom.  When the mind is attuned to the heart, there is a measurable state of coherence that reduces stress and amplifies joy.  It's the resonance of the heart that allows for personal connection.  See:

    Because I'm familiar with the book The HeartMath Solution:  The Institute of HeartMath's Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart's Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre, Howard Martin and Donna Beech (HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1999), I believe that the parallel of electricity and human connections is actually more than a metaphor.  For almost two decades, Heart Math research has contributed to our knowledge of stress, health and the emotional information encoded in the magnetic field radiated by the heart.

    As described in a Heart Math clip on YouTube:

    "The human heart emits the strongest electromagnetic field in our body. This electromagnetic field envelops the entire body extending out in all directions, and it can be measured up to several feet outside of the body. Research from the Institute of HeartMath shows that this emotional information is encoded in this energetic field. HeartMath researchers have also seen that as we consciously focus on feeling a positive emotion - such as care, appreciation, compassion or love - it has a beneficial effect on our own health and well-being, and can have a positive affect on those around us."

    [To download an e-book with their research findings, see:]

    Is it any surprise that tuning in to the positive emotions of gratitude. compassion and love can establish that heart connection?  When we tune in deeply, we can experience our interconnectedness, not only with humans but with the planet - humans as well as animals, plants and minerals.  The Beatles boiled it down to the ultimate:  Sing it Beatles...

    All you need is love. All you need is love.
    All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
    All you need is love (All together, now!) All you need is love. (Everybody!)
    All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).


    1. Seems that there was a technical problem for those trying to leave comments... so sorry that what was written was lost!! It's probably a good idea to write the comment first and SAVE it, just in case!!

      Meanwhile, until the problem is fixed, I've switched back to the old blogger interface so that future comments won't be lost!! And I will post those that were intended to be posted here but were emailed to me instead.

    2. From Nancy E - who was reminded of this poem while reading the blog:

      Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

      208. A Noiseless Patient Spider

      A NOISELESS, patient spider,
      I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
      Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
      It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
      Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.

      And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
      Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
      Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
      Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
      Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

    3. From Joan Peters:'s so "heartening" to hear your very strong, very thoughtful voice that gives voice not only to your feelings at this most intense time, but to the feelings of all of us who've felt loss (and who hasn't), death, and the exquisite complexity of connection. I'm thinking about you and hearing about you and sending my own thoughts to you.

    4. Hi Laya,
      I appreciate your efforts to make/maintain/understand connections.
      I am glad to be re-connected to you. I am reminded of something that a friend told me after her adult son died. She kept communicating with him, even though he could not answer in the same way. Just because he died, she said, doesn't mean that I would stop talking to him. I had not heard someone say that before. It helped me tune in to death differently.
      Love, and Shabbat shalom.