L&MlinguisticRelativity07

When I first moved to London (in 1990) the word “socialise” made me laugh. That verb-ending “ISE” added on to “social”, so a rather vague and all-encompassing word shape shifts into an ‘action word’.

Social media didn’t exist in those days. I remember a close friend telling me about buying a “modem” for his computer so he could access something called “the internet”. My own computer was just a glorified typewriter, with memory space for files.

My own children have grown up with the social media phenomenon. They think using a normal phone is “archaic”. Why would you do that if you message people through Facebook or WhatsApp?!

I admit that I use and like some social media. I work from home and I love five minute flying visits to Facebook to see what the rest of the world is up to. I also disappear from Facebook for days (sometimes weeks) at a time. And I use Facebook to know what is going on in the world (I never buy the paper). My husband despairs at this but I figure I always hear what I really need to know and I don’t want to absorb the rest…

However, this morning I picked up a book and randomly read one paragraph that sums up my hesitation about all this ‘connectivity’. The author basically said that we think of ‘broken trust’ as big dramatic events of betrayal but actually those bigger events are always preceded by an insidious process of losing trust by small increments: failing to invest in a friendship or relationship, not showing up fully, not being up to date with what is really going on in the life of a person we claim to care about.

And this touched a cord deep within me. I am a working mother of three children. I try to keep up with what is happening in my three (related, but still!) professions of choice (being a painter, shamanic practitioner and running my own small school of sacred art and shamanism).

I try to be available (within certain limits) to all my students and clients but I am not a very sociable person at heart. To function I need space and time alone! I live with teenagers up at all hours (playing the guitar at midnight…)

And so I reach the limits of my own capacity, frankly. Students and clients get a better “deal” than friends, I suspect. And despite this sense of being “connected to the whole world”, these days I rarely feel I truly give any friendship or connection the time and energy it deserves. The time and energy I would like to invest.

And that being so, am I even in a position to collect new connections? Yet my profession requires this: constantly seeing new faces, teaching new groups.

And am I alone or is this happening to just about everyone??!

So this is what I am mulling over today. And I have no easy answers…. other than not making promises I can’t keep and being honest with people about what Ican commit to and what I can’t begin to deliver.

I just made one of my Flying Five Minute Visits to Facebook and saw a cluster of posts from people “de-cluttering their “Friend List” (and of course on Facebook even your 13 year old son or your 83 year old Mother In Law shows up as a “Friend!”) People are saying how they have no wish to have their page visited by people who never comment, never engage in communication. Which brings me back to a previous blog about “ghosts” (people one stays connected to on Facebook but does not interact with in everyday reality). So this social media clean up operation could be called “ghost busting”! (I have also heard people refer to “Facebook Voyeurism” but at least that implies people are showing some interest in your life  but not commenting…)

And Facebook operates a “5000 Friend Limit”. A 21st century OXYMORON?!!

I sometimes wonder if we need a word for the ‘shadow manifestation’ of the concept SOCIALISE -and I suggest “SOCIAL ICE”:

Putting a large number of relationships or connections “on ice”. Not committing to them fully but not cutting the thread either.

Or is it my own comprehension that needs to grow?! Can I really stay connected to thousands of people without creating expectations and disappointing (maybe without even realising it – and what about the “karma” of that?!)

I don’t  think I am going to solve this dilemma today but I would love to hear what others have to say….

Imelda Almqvist

Life Force TV Interview about shamanism with Imelda Almqvist

www.imelda-almqvist-art.com

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

Imelda Almqvist is a Dutch shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK

Advertisements