I left home when I was fourteen years old. First, I went to a boarding school then I was in France at an international ballet school. When I returned to Montreal from France, I shared an apartment with another dancer. The next year, another apartment, and another dancer. I went on to live in endless other apartments over the next twenty years. Sometimes I shared quarters with others, sometimes I lived alone. Sometimes we remained friends after we moved away, sometimes not.
Bonding and connecting with these friends has turned out to be different processes in life. Bonding implies an irreversible process of opening our hearts and souls to another human being. I only have to think of the miracles in bonding when I saw each of my children for the first time after they were born.
Of course, not all bonding is so spontaneous, some bonds occur more gradually. I have formed bonds with certain friends so quietly that I didn’t actually know we were friends until we had already become best friends. The trick about bonding is that there is no such thing as a dis-bonding, or un-bonding. The only thing that can happen is that we break a bond.
Losing the bond usually only happens when something terrible happens. Or many terrible things happen and there is anger, regret, resentment, resignation, rejection, and all sorts of other r-words involved. With the loss, there is mourning: if we are lucky, freedom as well, which is good if the bond was unhealthy or abusive.
The whole process of forming bonds and breaking them is loaded with emotion. It can be equally joyful and sorrowful, almost at the same instant. We learn to live with these ups and downs though. Even if it is normal, it’s hard not to despair.
Connection and disconnection on the other hand, is a dance, which signifies the joining and separation of two souls. I imagine it to be a complicated Elizabethan court dance. There is the curtseying, bowing, sashaying to-and-fro, the joining of wrists, the entwining of arms, feet drawing delicate patterns, heads tilting towards each other, a twist of the waist, then we are apart again… the movements, though familiar, are forever mysterious, seductive, and new.
Contrary to how it is when we break a bond, disconnecting is solely an action of letting go: a release. There is none of the emotionally laden tug-and-pull as there is with bonding. It is simply an act of disconnecting, which often, eventually, or predictably shifts back into a connection at a later point in time.
I do not want to give you the impression that connecting and disconnecting is without emotion; it is definitely does have a lot of emotions ‑ all those hellos, there-you-are, and goodbyes. They are endless, yet, different.
There are some people, friends and family, who I feel bonded to. Sometimes we are connected, at other time not. There are certain friends I only have to hear their voices on the phone, or read a letter and we “connect”. The thread of our dialog shines golden. It doesn’t, apparently, matter how often we see each other; the thread is instantly and enduringly golden. Why this happens remains a mystery. Why does it work in some relationships and not in others? Who knows.
There are, unfortunately, certain others where the thread does not light golden. This has happened even though we really love each other. Yet, we are more disconnected then connected.
In some cases, this process of disconnecting has been gradual. There have been a few tragic crises, which have accelerated the process, but generally it has been an unspectacular process. When we connect there is little exchange. We are not above-board with each other. This and many other complex issues have contributed to the loss of connection. This saddens me.
To make the thread of connection shines golden, we must be willing to agree to disagree. No matter if we disagree or argue about the essential elements of life, we must make sure that the connecting and disconnecting is purely a joining and a release: a marvelous dance.