Like all of you, I have spent many hours, in the past 6 months on Zoom calls for both work and social interaction. In fact, I just ended my first ever telemedicine call with my dog's vet, but that is another story! Last night, I had the pleasure of connecting, on Zoom, with a couple of friends, one who lives down the street and the other who lives on Vancouver Island. We did a short movement practice together, meditated, journaled and chatted about our experiences. One of the women shared that, before joining the call, she was 'very aware of spending time on ANOTHER Zoom call' and mused about the possibility of transmitting and receiving more feeling, actual connection, and not only words. This had me think about the experience I had this past weekend during a live online retreat I attended with Pema Chodron. This retreat was to be taught via the interactive zoom function, but there were so many people registered the organizers realized this wasn't going to work. They switched to a broadcast function which means we could see and hear her, but she couldn't see or hear anyone other than herself. I know that this is an odd position to be in, teaching while looking at yourself on a screen, as this has been my reality since April. She looked and transmitted feelings of being uncomfortable at the beginning of the first session, but once she started talking, that melted away. I was taken aback by the sincere feelings of warmth and connection I felt from her though I knew she couldn't see me and was talking to thousands of people at once. The theme of the retreat was welcoming the unwelcome, and part of the foundational teaching was to regularly practice sending warmth to yourself as a way to increase your capacity to hold difficult feelings. Maybe in the face of being uncomfortable with looking at a digital rendition of herself when she is used to seeing and 'feeling' people she is speaking to, she sent warmth to herself, and this is what I felt? Essentially, consciously sending signals of warmth and acceptance that we would unconsciously send when we are wholly in the same room as someone else. Maybe this is how we can transmit and receive more of the feeling and connection that we need as humans in this new age of seemingly endless Zoom calls.
How have you been navigating this in your life? What strategies have been working for you to feel connected to others when communicating in this way? I'd love to hear about it.
Sarah-Jane loves learning, listening, sharing and doing yoga!