In the Clifton Strengths Finder , my greatest gift is Connectedness.
For those not familiar with the Clifton measure, Connectedness measures faith in the inter-connectedness of all things and dedication to seeing and building patterns of relationship among people.
It’s funny in some ways, in that the next 4 of my personal gifts are all aspects of strategic thinking. Cumulatively, that weights strategic thinking as my strongest quality.
(the first paywall first gives you the top 5, though I’ve done the whole 34 – it reveals what those who know me well would likely expect)
There’s no shortage of room for strategic thinking in this moment.
And connection (in the right dose for any given person – I see you and respect you, my introvert friends) – is part of what we need most right now.
Yet the constraints of contemporary life were already making it harder, especially in its non-transactional-economics-driven guises – and now we have this moment. And we have the ways in which the grim forces of this moment threaten to further constrain (and capitalize upon) our spirits.
Having left my indispensable pocket notebook on my desk during my weekly mail check visit a couple of days ago and finding myself lost without it, I walked the couple of miles to the church and back this afternoon.
I am lucky, in that doing so allowed me the opportunity to wave to neighbors I know and those I don’t and serendipitously to a number of friends.
The distance among us, however necessary and appropriate, felt wrenching today – and made all the more so by how dependent our vitally important cyber-connections are on the tools of surveillance capitalism.
I was already tired of ‘promoting things’ — really important, meaningful things – and of navigating the ethics of promoting important things so that they are not buried in the noise of neoliberal capitalist marketing – or reliant upon toxic methodologies even for good ends.
And it’s harder now – and worse now – and we have little idea of how it will turn out or how to figure out a way to do it any better, try as we might.
These moments of cultural connection pale in some ways in relation to the life and death exigencies of COVID suffering – and I would not in a million years detract from our attention to those needs.
But this is the stuff of meaningful living – and it makes me sad right now.
There is of course always hope and faith and always work to be done – and I have the former in ample supply and the latter as a disposition.
I am just taking a moment for lament, as one part of this era’s season of griefs.
I both appreciate and further grieve that our collective mournings are part of what connects us at this time.