Saturday, 15 February 2014

Well Connected

A friend sent me a link to a You-tube clip that supposedly explains the difference between men’s and women’s brains. Well! Who could resist that?(You, too, dear reader, can learn the answer to this mystery by going to and getting enlightened.)

It turns out that the featured speaker Mark Gungor is not a psychologist, he’s a comic. So much for that. A TED talk it’s not. Still, it was fun to watch. Men’s brains, he says, are full of boxes, each one with its own contents: a box for work, a box for family, a box for sports (very big, I’m betting), a box for hobbies, etc. If you start talking about family, he’ll take out the family box, but please don’t confuse him by introducing a different topic, for instance work. He’ll have to pack up his family box, tuck it back into his brain, and open up the work box. The boxes don’t even touch each other.

Women’s brains, on the other hand, are a tangled mass of interconnected wires. Everything, EVERYTHING, is connected to everything else. Bzzzzzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzz, bzzzz – there’s a constant snap, crackle and pop going on in women’s brains as connections upon connections are made every waking moment of every day, and probably in dreamland too.

I’m not a man, so I can’t judge whether there is anything to Gungor’s theory. Science does seem to agree that women’s brains have more connections between the left and right sides than men’s brains do, but science doesn’t mention boxes. It may be a fertile field for exploration.

What I do know, for myself, is that connections are hugely important.  On Valentine’s Day, we are supposed to be honouring our closest connections, our sweethearts and significant others, and that’s all good. I’m the lucky lady who got a dozen red roses, and he’s the lucky guy who got his laundry done on time and delivered with a kiss. Oh, and a steak dinner, to boot.

But I’m thinking that maybe a heart symbol isn’t big enough to hold the people I wish to honour this week. I’d like to draw a big wide circle as well to hold all the important people who have connected to me in some way in the 65 years I’ve been on this earth. We are connected to so many people who have, sometimes unknowingly, sent us on our way better people, warmed by love and encouragement and words of wisdom, better equipped to meet the challenges of life.

Live and learn and pass it on with love: some of my family members gathered round the quilting frame.
I think of family and friends, of organizations and work relationships, of mentors and children and grandchildren. I think of people who are down and out, yet have said something so profound that it leaves us stunned and grateful. I think of authors and thinkers and musicians and poets, of teachers and preachers, and yes, even politicians!  If you follow the connections in your wired-up brain for even 5 minutes, searching for images of people, words they’ve spoken and actions they’ve taken, that have given you a boost in your life, your brain will be abuzz with wonder. There’s no box big enough to hold that.

I know there are also horrible people that can pull us into a vortex of agony and pain. In our heart of hearts, we have to deal with those people and somehow, to achieve a life that is whole, find a way of making peace. But that does not prevent us this week from paying tribute to those who have blessed our days.

I think of all these good connections as strands in a nest that is woven to hold us. That is the image I was working with as I created this piece of textile art. It is inspired by the work of Sue Benner, an artist from Texas. You can check out her work by googling Sue Benner.

This piece includes small nests within the bigger nest, spin-offs woven from the same fibres, for isn’t it true that what goes into our lives will be used to shape and form others’ lives?

The nest has lots of unfinished fibres hanging from it, for there’s never an end to the connections we make and the possibilities of being blessings to others, until the day we’re gone. And even then, our lives reach out, leaving behind legacies we may not even be aware of.

If, as you view them, you are reminded of someone who has made your life richer, whisper (or shout, or sing, or dance) a prayer of thanks for the ties that bind us together.

5 Golden Strands in my Nest. Oma loves you, kids!

1 comment:

  1. I really needed your message this week. Generally I am a grateful, appreciative person, but this week was tough. Your message supported me to get back on track.
    Thanks for being the a voice I needed to hear.