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Posts Tagged ‘genuine relationship’

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is artificial.

We’ve all felt it… that subtle, disappointing sense of having been slipped plastic grapes in place of the real, juicy thing—genuine connection with another human. A sense of being treated like an object, an audience, or a source of supply… and it’s exactly the same feeling (if we are paying attention) when we, ourselves interact with another person this way. It registers somewhere deep inside the solar plexus as a loss… and it feels awful.

And yet, this way of being ‘social’ has come to be normal. It is the rare person who will give an honest answer to the question, “How are you?” It is an even rarer person who will welcome a brief glimpse into another human’s life without recoiling. Polite society has become a cold place, and we all suffer to some degree from a sense of alienation… “Making Nice” has become habitual.

The American poet, e.e. cummings (1894-1962) wrote, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” In this age of fast food, text messages and appointment notebooks, such a statement is more true than ever.

Did you know that if a body is in a state of nutritional deficiency, it will reject all but the barest minimum of an artificial vitamin or supplement… but fully absorb that same substance if it is supplied in its natural state from fruit or vegetable? It is the same with human relationships. Many of us are walking around severely malnourished for want of genuine, human connection. Perhaps a Soul malnutrition is the real source of the epidemic of obesity and substance abuse?

What is the solution? Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) said it best: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Let us be brave today. Let us take our masks off … and shall we lay down those shields, while we’re at it?

“Parlor Persona” (oil)

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