“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” – Martha Graham
I happened upon this image and was taken by it. I got to thinking how this mosaic is a metaphor to describe our lives— the depth and breadth each of us contains. Not one piece alone defines us, but the unique pattern which emerges as we accumulate experiences and express dreams, desires, and talents, is what highlights our individuality.
Recently while attending a volunteer effort, this guy struck up a conversation with me. He seemed interested in me, because he made it a point to find me again and continue the conversation. We talked again in the days that followed, yet what struck me, was the fact that he always seemed to stay at a shallow level with his dialogue.
I asked myself, if he wants to get to know me, why isn’t he asking me the right questions? I gave him the benefit of the doubt, so I started with some of my own questions. He answered safely, but didn’t go deep in his answers and asked me the same questions, perhaps out of obligation. I answered without much depth myself. I get guarded like that when I’m in the company of someone who has a heavily armed guard at his gate.
I proceeded to have a dialogue in my head, in the absence of a more interesting one with him. It went something like, “There’s so much more to me. He hasn’t even scratched the surface. Does he even notice this? Why isn’t he asking the questions that will reveal the tiles to my mosaic?”
Our tiles are the very real things that mold and shape who we are. It is the reason why no two mosaics are identical. As such, that’s part of the excitement in getting to know someone, discovering their unique pieces.
Often however, when a person has intimacy issues, they have difficulty expressing an interest at a deeper connection level. That’s why we single people have to be careful not to let the physical feelings or the chemistry distract us from noticing that we really don’t know this individual. Some people want to get physically involved because they think that is intimacy. It’s not. It’s just an act without going through the discovery and the bonding that occurs with this process (which means over a long period of time), when we seek to truly know what lies within another.
“Time with someone does not a connection make. Only true sharing and intimacy create connection…If you spend significant amounts of time with an individual and still feel far away from him or her, something is wrong. You do not have a connection. Furthermore, this can be a signal that real danger is present. People who are not able to get close often act out that isolation in affairs, two-faced betrayals, broken confidences and trusts, addictions, and a whole host of other problem dynamics… If you are uneasy about a relationship, ask yourself, Does this relationship breed more togetherness or more isolation within me? If you feel alone in the relationship, that’s not a good sign.” –Cloud & Townsend’s “Safe People.”
I would add that we must steer away from people who pursue us, but do not want to truly know our hearts. And as for the ones who do want to get to know us, pay attention to how they use this information. Do they keep it safe? Or do they exploit us or try to hurt us with the vulnerability we’ve shared? That’s why in the beginning we should take care how we share our private selves. We must build upon trust, step by step, without pouring it all out during the first conversation. As they prove to be trustworthy with what we’ve already shared, we can then share more within the boundaries and timetable that’s safe for us.
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”— Proverbs 20:5
Each of us is a beautiful mosaic, containing a wellspring of life. To connect with others we must share our tiles. If we keep them hidden, they do not have the opportunity to glisten; moreover, we halt the flow of life, happiness, and our spirits become diminished. And anyone who isn’t excited about our tiles, needs to go explore the vinyl section instead.