"Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little — just right.
"Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from deep conversation to mere connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves.
"We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.
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I love this wind-blasted, twisted old Limber Pine growing out of the rock. Actually, it's on an island jutting up in the middle of The Loch, a subalpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. To get to it last week, I hiked out over the ice of the frozen lake. To me, this tree symbolizes the messiness of both our individual personalities and our relationships with others. I pray that we all can learn to value that messiness - the awkward pauses in conversation, the foot-in-the-mouth verbal blunders, the rough and unfinished parts of our personalities. After all, we really do need one another to help make up for our own imbalances. The true self subsists in a web of presences - which includes, of course, the beings of the natural world :)
Photo: Twisted Limber Pine growing on an island in The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, December 14, 2015
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.