It took a while for me to come up with the name of my blog. The quote from E.M. Forester 'Only connect' was just a chance resonance. I ran into it while I was looking for something from the American Unitarian past-- some Emerson perhaps -- a little Over-soul reference. But here was a quote from a British author that I knew nothing about.
Only connect. It had the right Bloggy qualities. I didn't even know the context of the words. After I picked it, I found myself saying it to myself like a little mantra. Only Connect.
Then I found myself saying it when I was facing generic personal encounters like grocery store check-stand money hand-offs. I would say it to myself and look at the check-out clerk directly and listen. The irritation and the blankness dropped away.
I tried it for other encounters where there was more at stake. Especially when there was an element of fear, complexity, competition, irritation, all the nasty things that can interfere with, well, connecting! Just saying it to myself drops my shoulders down from my ears. I relax.
I think it works as a reminder that success in the encounter is not about the transactional aspect of our being together. Its not about if they do what I want, check my groceries quickly and error free, or consider me the smartest person in the room. Its whether I connect.
I've since looked up the quote and Forester used it differently. He was writing about connecting the parts of a single person. Loosely paraphrased, connecting the practical to the emotional. Making a whole person.
But I like my interpretation of the phrase. Try it yourself -- OnlyConnect.