but the silence of our friends.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Recently I had an experience in this arena that shook me. The pain was personal but an even deeper searing burned into my heart for what seems to be an evolutionary trend in the collective….
I was coming to know a new man friend. For several weeks we were in a beautiful collision of heartfelt conversation that was deeply meaningful to me. One snowy Sunday not long ago we shared our gratitude for our meeting one another and our desire to explore further and then, seemingly within hours, he disappeared. Because we had been in such a beautiful responsive ongoing conversation, I was dumbfounded by his silence over several days. It was days later that finally a short response came. Nothing has been heard since then.
The days of not hearing anything pummeled me with stones of confusion, concern and sadness. It was as if he was dead. The experience of feeling cut off felt crushing.
There was no place to make meaning of this…no closure…no understanding in me. I had no place to put this and was left with a burrowing kind of numbing in me, with my inner critic scolding me for having opened my heart to this person.
Strangely, just a day or two later, I was synchronistically made aware of the term…and practice of “ghosting”. I was not familiar with it until this moment and though my body felt viscerally what it meant, I went to google to learn more. I read a short article about this practice that has become so common especially in online dating and I was left extremely disturbed….to me this way of ghosting was a sign of a culture adrift…a culture losing its roots that were once anchored into the soil of earth and humanity and connection and kindness. Are we evolving into some virtual paradigm that has lost sight of the fact that we are flesh and blood humans with feelings and hearts and a need for real connection and kind and considerate communication?
Apparently this practice grew out of such online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble that effort to match the fast pace of the techno world and the busy humans, and have people swiping quickly right or left to display their sense of connection to the photo (not the whole human) on the screen in front of them. The theme of ghosting seems to be that there is an endless supply of more photos beyond this one, so suddenly disappearing from one whom you’d communicated with was no big deal…right?
But what about the one who is left in the dark after what seemed like a connection?
What part does denial play here?
What kind of trend does this portray?
Have we become so busy, fearful and disconnected in the race for the next allure, that we forget that actually there are hearts in our wake to care about?
I went further to imagine how this kind of careless avoidance might actually be more prevalent than we think, in all kinds of situations. The most dramatic for me is what we might call a cultural tendency towards ghosting the Earth and all her beings. Are we becoming so callous and entrained on a virtual reality that we are ghosting all of Nature, even our own, and perhaps even the world of Spirit?? Our world was once rich with verdant relationships with all the beings and ways and now, I dare ask, are people simply disregarding those connections too, without a word? ….and forgetting any gratitude they might have for the other than human world? In this critical time of rampant extinction, how might it honor the world to stop long enough to say goodbye and thank you, instead of rushing to the next attraction as if there were infinite forms to chase after?
Something deep in my marrow is aching as I consider this.
Our relationship with what is natural, mysterious and indescribable seems to be being severed and replaced by a virtual reality. Without fluent and respectful communications with all our relations, I fear we are doomed to an existence that is one dimensional, anemic and diseased.
The times in my life when I have gone silent, I not only dishonored myself but the entire situation. Perhaps this too is a kind of ghosting. In my own history and with so many that I work with, I’ve witnessed the tremendous pain of not feeling heard or seen. How have I been complicit with that when I’ve lost my courage to speak my truth? Have I chosen not to be seen or heard at these times? Unconsciously, when I have crumbled in my belief in myself I also did not trust in the other’s inherent goodness and ability to hear me either. This belittles us all.
Most of us have not been given alot of permission to speak our vulnerable truth, I know. And yes, it is sometimes excruciating to speak the truth to someone you care about, but leaving them without your perspective and experience is emotionally cruel and unfair to both of you
I invite all of you beautiful readers to join me in remembering our humanity and to consider this. Can we be courageous in situations where gratitude, or closure, or an apology, or a vulnerable truth needs to be spoken, in order to knit us back together again with dignity… and to reconnect us to our maturity and soul?
We are tied to each other by flesh and heart and our voices are a gift that have the potential to heal.
Let us dare to show up and speak our hearts….the risk will make us strong. . . and more human.