With the onset of 2021, upon us, as we struggle to maintain yet another Pandemic Lockdown; my mind is focussed upon the importance of reciprocity. In a time where we are unable to provide the emotional support we usually cherish with friends and family, we may become aware of the incredible force of “relationships that are grounded in emotional reciprocity.” My very good friend said to me before Christmas, “Well Kathryn that relationship is troubled because it lacks reciprocity.”….and this is the thinking that provided me with food for this essay. For months I have been considering the influence of emotional reciprocity in all of our lives and drawing a limited conclusion that during a pandemic this is one main ingredient in all of our relationships that may be difficult to resolve.
Most of us are using the social networks and Zoom to connect with loved ones and in many ways these avenues have been successful. However, the common behaviour of exchanging things with others – whether it is time, money or presents may have been difficult for some of us. There may have been no hugs.
The question for me has been exacerbated by the fact, that I feel reciprocity is sorely lacking in the way we govern our civilization, in the arrogant behaviour of most, if not all of our politicians, and our refusal to listen to science during this pandemic. At this critical time when emotional reciprocity, adherence to protocols and respect for our leaders is of fundamental importance to all of us, we continue to bicker. It is for our mutual benefit that we wrestle the pandemic to its knees and maintain civility in this country and yet, there are disagreements even in this small town, about whether or not we should be wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands. Some of us even consider the pandemic to be a hoax in spite of all the proof to the contrary.
And this got me thinking.
As long as we weave seeds of doubt in every situation is there really any truth. You remember the old adage, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there, did it make a noise. ” I’m here to tell you it did! It certainly did make a noise. The Forest has knowledge. And the forest never operates alone, like so many of us try to do. And the forest has to rely on truth. Truth is…….. there is now a wind...we must hunker down. Truth is….there is a drought – we must conserve our water intake……
“We’re all – trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria — pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent Oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved. These struggles often result not in the evolution of stronger, more disconnected selves but in the dissolution of the self into relationship.” (pg. viii The Songs of Trees. David George Haskell).
Trees rely on one another and are never considered a “Self” or “One” because their lifes’ blood is intertwined under the soil and in the air as they sway to and fro. They protect one another and nurture new trees. “To listen to trees, nature’s great connectors, is therefore to learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance, and beauty.” (pg. ix The Song of Trees. David George Haskell)
When we truly listen to trees not in moments but years, may we better understand the significance of silence. May we become better able to listen to other people? Would our emotional intelligence grow so that we might become less urgent for the next fix of adrenalin in whatever form that takes. Our truth should mimic the forest in an order to aspire for understanding and belonging.
This is just the tip of my mind’s iceberg.