Connection – it sometimes feels like a very well worn and overused term online. But stop to think for a minute about what it really means…to you…
What does it mean to feel connected?
The Wiktionary definition of connection is:
…and this was the best I could find – most were all about technology not people! Still, it doesn’t quite do justice to the image at the top of the post, does it? There is something more direct, more “real” in the photo, something that words can’t quite describe.
Maybe it’s time to admit as to why I’m writing this post today. It’s inspired by death – but that isn’t the best headline for a blog post is it? (I hope you are not about to click away, I promise it’s worth reading on…)
Death is an intrinsic part of life. Yet even though we intellectually know this, we don’t quite believe it will happen to us, or those close to us. It always seems to be a shock – which doesn’t really make sense, as we all know we are going to die, the only thing we don’t know is when.
Two weeks ago tomorrow, my good friend Lesley Howard died. She had cancer, it should not have been a shock, yet somehow in a way it was. I couldn’t quite believe it – even though I was privileged to be with her when she died.
This morning I found out someone with whom I’m connected online – @treypennington, an influential social media consultant and speaker who encouraged business owners to share their story online – committed suicide. I was shocked, we had not met in person however we had a conversation online and I greatly appreciated his generosity of spirit – he followed 110,022 people on Twitter, many wouldn’t have taken the time to respond.
These two people had very different deaths – Lesley died peacefully surrounded by family and her Buddhist sangha community at Bodhisattva Kadampa Meditation Centre – whereas sadly Trey must have had to be in great emotional pain to think it wasn’t worth carrying on in this world.
But they were both loved, by many, many people. The inspiration those who knew Lesley felt in the way she honestly faced death, without fear, and with a peaceful mind in the last three weeks of her life cannot be underestimated. The outpouring online today from people connected to Trey, both online and offline, shows how much he inspired and brought real warmth to those who knew him.
Nic Askew is right – “each of us share the one same heartbeat, there are no separate lives.” (Strange I only noticed his website strapline for the first time today).
We are ALL connected, even if we feel we are alone sometimes. Please take the time today to reach out and show those you are connected with that you are thinking about them and that you care. Online or off, these connections matter…
Help in the UK: The Samaritans
Help in the USA: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Photo credit: mattias