What connection feels like


My 80-something-year-old neighbor and close friend Florence just stopped by my home, sat down, wished my daughter a happy birthday, and started talking to me about love, how much people need to love others, to direct their love outward, maybe even more than they need to receive it, and how important that is, what a skill it is, letting love flow instead of damming it up. I laughed because I feel that too in my own way and it’s something I sort of struggle with sometimes. For an example she told me about an exchange she had with a neighbor the other day who walked up and started talking with her while she was gardening. They had a conversation that felt to her like an exchange of love of some kind. He was telling her how much good information comes to him through his stomach, and they were exchanging stories along those lines. :slight_smile:

This has me mulling over something from my own experience that I haven’t thought about in a while. I tried unsuccessfully years ago to write a story about a sensation that came to me sometimes that I thought about as something like an invisible kiss. In my early twenties I noticed from time to time that when I was listening to someone (and the someone could be anyone, old or young, male or female, etc.), I would occasionally have this sudden fleeting sensation that felt a lot like an impulse to kiss them. Not like I wanted to make out with them, not sexual, but like a little surge of electricity vaguely centered around the mouth. The first few times I noticed this sensation I felt embarrassed, even a little ashamed, like what the hell was that? After some time, though, I accepted it: “Fine, ugh, this is my fate…” Only very gradually did I stop judging my experience that way. By the time I was thirty whenever I felt the sensation, which was still only occasionally and unexpectedly, I at least noticed that it was only when I was listening to someone long enough, and being quiet, and focusing on them in a diffuse/dreamy way (as opposed to a narrow focus), that it happened. And very gradually I began to recognize that it was the invisible me connecting for a moment with the invisible other person. Almost like a tiny, partial out-of-body experience.

These days it is more of a full-body sensation, or maybe more torso-centered, like my guts and heart swelling (sounds more gross than it feels), and I feel it more often, enough that I don’t reflect on it the same way I used to. I think it’s funny how much it freaked me out about myself. Afraid of my own capacity to connect with people. If I’m doing any kind of rewildy work at all, this is it.


I’d be interested to hear others’ stories about what connection feels like if anyone cares to share. Or stories of resisting and stories of allowing. It seems to me we’re encouraged on a lot of levels to avoid actual relationship. What are your experiences?


One more thing. This is the part that’s interesting to me. I keep thinking how the “invisible kiss” sensation has only ever happened when I’m in a state of soft focus—when I’ve been listening closely for a time to the person’s words and then for whatever reason (sleepiness, e.g.) slip out of that narrow focus and find myself no longer really following their words so much as focused on their movement and expression and tone. Their words at that point might even be kind of like Charlie Brown’s parents, mwah-mwah-mwah. And THAT’S when my invisible mouth gives their invisible mouth a kiss: when I’m not really listening. I guess it goes to show how much the flow of love/connection can be obstructed by words. Or maybe words just take up so much of my time and attention that I’m left unaware how much connection is actually taking placing underneath.


I think this is really beautiful. An amazing thing to happen in your life and a courageous thing to share. I keep thinking about experiences in my own life where similar things might have happened and wanting to keep them secret. This whole thing is a little bit hard to talk about.

I can totally relate to the sort of mwah mwah charlie brown hearing. I usually don’t let me self stay there very often because I often feel I need to follow along with what people say, though I’ve found that more passive imagining along with their story helps stay closer to that feeling like looking for the story to appear in my head with curiosity rather than scrambling to peice together all the parts and make the story up from theirs. I guess this helps with reconsiling the presence of words in the interaction while leaving enough attention for soaking in the rest. I really want to let myself slip into that state where mostly my attention goes towards those physical and emotional flows. Whenever I do though I end up looking like I have a blank stare and have absolutely no response to people other than maybe to smile for the pleasure of there presence. Sometimes my only thing to say to a person around me is just to smile or to meet with our eyes which feels like connection(and hopefully doesn’t seem to creepy). I do tend to feel a little self conscious about my nonverbal communication. I just try to keep reminding myself that connection is normal and we need it. This also brings up some experiences where the way I look with my eyes towards things sometimes they seem so amazing like the sum of their parts comes together and their light and reflections along with their colors and expressions(with plants and trees I imagine the slow movement taking place and think of their branching as a form of expression). With humans it feels very gentle when I see them this way like a just get to see them for a bit and there they stand this other person the way they do and they have something beautiful. MAybe that has to do with the types of people I most feel that around:) It can happen at random enexpected times though with people I know well, or hardly know at all.


One story of connection with trees goes a little something like this. I was walking back and forth between my house and the barn cleaning and doing this and that. I started heading out the door to figure out what to do next. I was feeling a little antsy and kind of wanting to relax. When I went outside something felt a little different. I felt more focused and my gaze went naturally to the red oak planted right outside the house, roots entwined in our septic line. Because of that it grows very fast, planted 10ish years ago probably less than 20 feet tall and now reaches the parts of the sky that the very old white oaks do. I walked over to it and it’s trunk looked so powerful, I looked right at itand it felt like we had a peace between us I was attracted to itvisually and felt it with my hand, but the normal run of thoughts and questions didn’t come up, I just wanted to stand near it and stay under it’s circle. It was calming me and I stayed with it for a long while just sitting under it, not watching anything too hard and I felt with that tree. I didn’t feel it so much in a particular sense as I did just feel the bond and let it warm me as the wind gusted intensely in bursts like a parade of invisible vigorous dancers touched down under the trees branches and then sucked back up into the sky as their footsteps made all the grass blades spin and snap and sway about now a part of the dance. As I sat and watched they showed me the trees space and I felt very aware that I was under it. And it’s space seemed to hold a presence of it’s own, possibly personified by shadow. And I could feel that I was under it in the same way that if you walk down the street with a friend your kind of together the whole way like the feeling of walking together as opposed to two strangers walking near each other. The bark showed many patterns and I followed the cracks and white streaks up, realizing that these cracks were actually ripples of power gowing up the tree and that the trunk was surging with energy. Power seemed to emenate from this trunk, it took more visits to really recognize this visually, but at this visit I felt it. A strange thing that something so powerful can make me feel so safe and centered and also such a radiant source of energy for something so still. Later I had a late afternoon meal with the tree remaining until the evening. Going back later I began to see it more the trunk seemed seemed so full of raw energy Like a horses leg slowly kicking through from underneath the ground! It’s hard to explain how this felt in terms of this connection. what went between us seemed very gentle though.


Kyle Ray, thanks for sharing your stories too. I love your description of the tree trunk like a horse’s leg kicking up slowly from the ground. :slight_smile: When I was a child one way I connected with trees was to walk underneath low-hanging boughs and collect raindrops off their tips onto my forehead. Those “kisses” weren’t so invisible.


just a quick note to thank you both for sharing your thoughts, they are lovely and definitely resonated with me. i hope to contribute some of my own to this thread soon.


I totally get that too! I’ll be having a conversation with a total stranger, usually one of those kinds of conversations where you’re so aligned you finish each other’s sentences, and I’ll get the strongest urge to cry, hug them, and tell them I love them. xD I think it’s so powerful for me because I rarely get along with anyone. Man this forum is a godsend.