Novels of Acquaintance – Opening Your Heart to Others

It’s a beautiful day when you can let others into your heart again after having been hurt by people. We’re all wandering around on this planet feeling just a little bit hurt. Can we see that in one another and make each other’s acquaintance? What is possible then? 

The sting of rejection hurts. We were born into this earth in need of connection, bonding, and love. Psychologist John Bowlby coined the term ‘attachment theory’, which explains what happens when we are not given enough security at early phases in life.

“Bowlby’s studies in childhood development and ‘temperament’ led him to the conclusion that a strong attachment to a caregiver provides a necessary sense of security and foundation. Without such a relationship in place, Bowlby found that a great deal of developmental energy is expended in the search for stability and security.”

It explains why, when you’ve had your heart hurt, and hurt again and again, you may develop quite naturally a psychological and behavioral pattern of coping as a means by which to get what you need in relationships and, conversely, protect yourself from the potential of being hurt or rejected.

Coping mechanisms of detaching or becoming anxious about others may develop if you’ve never felt loved enough or if you’ve been hurt severely. Suddenly the world you live in is a threat…here, there, and everywhere. You may find yourself retreating, becoming smaller than you really are or putting demands on yourself or others that can strain a relationship or interfere with your ability to cope with life independently.

It’s a hard way to live.

Pema Chodron, Buddhist leader of the Shambhala tradition of Buddhism, and a teacher who inspires me, talks about having a soft heart – an open heart – a receptivity to life that is without judgement, but rather it’s about staying with the pain in your heart, staying open to that and open to others, and if you can get there…staying open to appreciating the pain in others, too.

We may have different circumstances and stories, but we’ve all walked through life and been on the receiving end of emotional injuries. We’re all just a little bit affected.

The song ‘Novels of Acquaintance’ by Rising Appalachia speaks to having the openness to connect with others. It speaks to me because when I first moved back to Saudi Arabia in 2015, and quite naturally as an expatriate put my guard up as so many of us do and decided I would not let others get too close to me, it worked for a bit, to give me the time to assess the situation I found myself in. But with time, this decision no longer served me.

This year I opened my heart and decided to allow connections to form. It’s brought some lovely people into my world. As a friend said to me earlier this year, “Can you allow yourself to connect with people who are not your best friends?” That was a new idea. I decided to give it a try.

It’s been a marvellous journey, bringing down the walls.

To your journey,

Novels of Acquaintance – Rising Appalachia

I met you over mountain moon
Bander riffs and fiddle tunes
Sugar river stair creek first

Once now twice now every weekend
Lean in beloved friend
Bits of tender reel me in
Tip the cup and pour the rubies
Wild laughter, lust and beauty

Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance
Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance

Thank you dear family
for stepping up unanimously
Everywhere we’ve gone we’re home
Voice for glory grace where shown
It’s Boundless what we’re in
The movements growing, spreading kin
Teach me treasure, grow me strong
Give me strength in every song

Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance
Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance

Dear quiet mystic neighbor
Hears to trails and trails of paper
A firm footed letter lover
You’re the best thing I’ve discovered
It’s a love song it’s true
No hints no riddles no clues
No threats no strings no bound
And, damn, maybe you make me grounded

Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance
Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance

I’d never be here without
All your hands rejoice and shout
You who came broke and weary
Sick step into the clearing
Let this be a moment healing
I see you picture perfect
Rise together lose no faith
That I’ve got you and you’ve got me

Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance
Yeahh
Fine tune me with patience
And I’ll write you
Novels of acquaintance

 

 

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