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In conversation with a girlfriend last weekend, the topic of meaningful relationships came up. With friends, family, people we love. The importance of relating to one another at levels beneath the surface where there’s more curiosity, engagement and heartfelt dialogue.

Because chatter can be so noisy. It requires decibels and frequencies that drain our energy supply. Chatter has a quality of busyness to it; frenetic contribution to get ideas and points across to one another, sometimes so circuitous we lose sight altogether of meaning. Wait, what were we talking about? I lost my train of thought.

MY train of thought.

My opinion.

Me, me, me and MY big stories.

And as we moved through our conversion around relationships, my friend brought up the concept of attunement, as a way to have her needs met with others. The need to be attuned: aligned, in sync, harmonized, in flow with one another, for the sake of deeper and truer togetherness.

Man, I can relate. Is that the word I’ve been looking for? Attunement? I’ve put lots of other words to those feelings of being heard but not listened to, looked toward but not fully seen. For a while now (and certainly during the pandemic), this sensing has become more acute, as if proving to me no, you’re not being oversensitive/irrational, this is happening. Because perception is reality, right? And...well, reality is reality too. Some friends truly aren’t here with me, like they were before -- and I’ve lost sight of them too. Things shift and change and we pull apart, come back together; evolve beyond one another.

Sometimes being who we are -- who we’re becoming -- widens the space between us and the people we used to attune to so beautifully.

When this happens for me, I turn to grasping and self inquiry. I minimize truths about where I am in this world, what I’m learning, who I’ve met and what we’re building together. Shhhhh, stay quiet on all of that. They don’t want to hear it anyway. Grip tightly! Things are changing in our relationship and change is scary…

I create stories around my own meaning, in the context of the widening gaps between us. Like small talk is a balm for feeling misunderstood. It’s not a balm. It’s just a way through. And it certainly doesn’t lead to attunement.

We’re here for a short while and change can be swift; sometimes surprising and uneasy. It can be curious and inviting though, too.

Where is the depth in our relationships? The juicy conversations, those shared moments in time, synergistic and connected? Are there some that don’t serve us any longer? Can we allow that to be okay…? With whom might we share our full selves, unabashedly real and loved and here?

Reminds me of a Mark Nepo quote I have on a sticky note at my desk: “You do not have to do anything to be loved. And being who you are does not let others down.”

Let’s let ‘being who (we) are’ enliven our own hearts.

And the hearts of those we’re most joyfully and honestly attuned.

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