I just returned late last night from a four day fishing trip in Alaska. This is an annual trip that my brother treats our family to, a rugged Deadliest Catch kind of bonding. After 13 years of making this trip, and at the end of each one swearing I will never do it again, I find myself packing up my dramamine, wool beanie and thermal underwear for the next annual adventure.
I’m not sure what it is about this trip. It’s definitely not the getting up at 4:30 am, being out in a boat on the ocean in windy and rainy conditions, or being so exhausted at the end of the trip that I need a couple more days just to recover. But when it is over there is a feeling of accomplishment, the slaying of the dragon, and our bond becomes a little tighter with each war (fish) story we share and the many laughs that accompany them.
|A surprisingly and wonderful sunny, calm moment ~|
These trips are about much more than fishing. They are what we call primary food. Primary food is the way we feed our souls, the way we feed our relationships, our careers, our joy, our need for connection. And speaking of connection, it is so obvious to me when I am on this trip, away from my computer, my cellphone, emails and Facebook, that this is what true connection means. Face to face, together in the trenches. Those trenches can be true "down in the dirt" or shopping together in the designer jean aisle at Neiman Marcus. Doesn’t matter. The fact is we are together, in the flesh, sharing our time, sharing the experience.
For me, one of the hardest parts of coming back home after those four beautifully challenging days is that I have to turn the computer back on. Panning through the numerous emails to find that my delete button is showing it's wear and that the only messages that really matter are a mere handful. Looking through all the Facebook posts that have accumulated during my downtime, only to find that, truthfully, I could have lived the rest of my life without knowing the majority of what is going on in the lives of most of these people.
Social media and all the rest is a part of the way we live now and it is not going away. And, I am very aware of the advantages, especially when it comes to business. But it is extremely important to remember that when it comes to true relationships and friendships, social media should be treated more like a garnish. The real meal by which we are nourished comes from relationships that are shared and nurtured when we are together. We are filled up when we share real experiences, a good belly laugh, stories, and conversation.
It is important to feed your relationships, your friendships, with true connection. If you can give your time, give it ~ in the form of a visit, an outing or a phone call. And while you might “like” their photos and status updates on Facebook, make sure you are giving them the true attention they deserve. Hearing someone you care about laugh can go a whole lot further than an emoticon when it comes to lifting our spirit and healing our soul.