ConnectionsOriginal Post: December 2, 2014

As I reflect on the last couple of weeks here in Doha, there’s a word that continues to speak to me: connection. It’s a simple word with a simple definition: a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. One thing that is apparently obvious being an expat is the connection each expat has with those from their same country. It’s always fun for us Americans to razz the Brits and Canadians over who speaks proper English or who can spell right: is it labor or labour; center or centre; and who delivers babies the correct way. It’s all in fun and it’s an amazing connection between the groups from the same country.

As Americans, we came together in many different venues to celebrate Thanksgiving, the holiday that connects us all. While we each chose to attend an event, we all made sure every American had a place for that connection. This was my first major holiday away from the states and even though I’ve had a routine for the last several years that I knew I’d miss, and I was totally okay with spending Thanksgiving alone in front of the television with Ramen noodles, but it was nice to connect with others and celebrate the holiday.

To take it a step further, I’ve witnessed connections amongst groups of people who have common interests. I’ve had an opportunity to attend an OB GYN Symposium hosted by my organization. While there were hundreds of people from all over the world, the connection was their desire to improve outcomes of moms and babies in the world. And boy, are they passionate about it. It didn’t matter their country or their university, they were all connected by the idea of improving outcomes.

I also have to mention the inspiring connection within the band at Jazz @ Lincoln Center Doha. @jazzdotorg The Jazz band that just finished this past weekend is an incredible band who came together just for @jalcdoha : Richard D Johnson, Billy Williams Jr., Jonathan M. Michel @JonMichel , Keita Ogawa, Gregory Generet, and Dominick Farinacci @dominick83 . Of course they are naturally connected by music and jazz specifically. What astonished me was the connection they demonstrated on the night they did Motown. It was a connection on a different level. They were all in their element. You’d think they played Motown every night. It was smoking! I’m still singing Papa Was A Rolling Stone and I hear the jam session/intro in my head before @ggeneret every sang the first word. Amazing connection.

Let’s look at another little piece of connectedness. If you add a simple word to connection and make it human connection, it becomes even more interesting. With human connection there’s an emphasis on the relationship between 2 or more people. Close relationships are crucial to our well-being and happiness. These types of relationships create psychological space and safety so as individuals we can explore and learn. When you don’t feel safe in a relationship, you’re less likely to develop that human connection that becomes meaningful and can lead to happiness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about relationships in a sense of boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, or you and your boo. I’m talking about any close relationship in which that psychological space and safety exists.

I can’t help but think about the connection between The Crew in Bremerton. Honestly, when I would go visit WA I was in awe of the human connection that existed amongst that wonderful group of people: Donnie Quitugua, Dee Hicks, Jason Collins, Jodi Collins, Aaron Crawford, Medina Crawford, Nilo Dela Cruz, Rose Quitugua, Janet Quitugua, Citas Brooks, Michael Brooks, Deb McFee Montez and the whole Rottweiler Bikes family. I still chuckle at the time we were at a DJJ party and Aaron Crawford was presented with a toilet seat. The backstory for others: Aaron accidently flushed his new eyeglasses down the toilet at the casino with the auto flush toilets (I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to why his glasses were ever in the toilet). As if that wasn’t humiliating enough…at the party, there was a prize give away.  They arranged for Aaron to be the winner. The prize was a toilet seat…My poor brother! Talk about psychological space and safety. Only those with a true human connection can pull that off and still be connected. I miss you guys!

You all may think I’m pointing out obvious things. However, when some live in a world of disconnect in order to survive, the concept of connection is foreign and human connection isn’t even on the radar. I ask each of you, who and what are you connected to? Many are connected to that thing we call social media. Guess what, that doesn’t qualify as a human connection. So make some connections that allow you psychological space and safety and I think you may find a little more happiness in life.

So if you remember, this blog is about my adventures in Doha and my personal reflections. Well, you got a reflection this time. I promise next time to tell you all about the fabulous food I’ve enjoyed lately…and it’s been a lot!

Living Life….and it’s good.

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