ICONS AND CONNECTION

Bernie continues to walk without feeling the ground under his feet.

When we were last at the Taub Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in March 2017, I asked Edward Taub, known for his work in neuroplasticity, if Bernie will ever be able to feel the hard surface under his feet. Taub said he didn’t know, but Bernie would be able to walk even without feeling it.

I think about that as I do my fast morning walk, apples in hand for the horses. I, after all, do feel the road under my feet. Some people call it resistance, others something to rely on. My yoga teacher says that the floor is the best yoga prop of all.

For me, it’s the most basic connection. When I trust the earth. I trust myself. Feel the ground under your feet, I’ve said to countless meditators.

But Bernie can’t, at least not on his right side. Connection on the left, lack of sensation on the right.

What makes for connection? Many men fixate on women and think that’s what it is. The scary ones stalk us, talk us up on buses or in restaurants, even while standing in a bank line. But even the non-scary ones look at us hungrily, asking, demanding, needing. We become icons in their eyes, icons of giving/withholding, loving/withdrawing. It makes us feel powerful, doesn’t it? But what does it have to do with real connection?

For all the passion one might find there, what you won’t find is connection. You can’t connect with an icon. You can worship it, admire it, write sonnets for it, but you won’t connect. For real connection you need a human being, not an abstract symbol.

To people who loathe him, Donald Trump has become an icon of greed, narcissism, mendacity, and thievery. Very often, those same people love and admire Barack Obama; they miss him, cite him as a great historical figure, the soul of an open, embracing culture.

Trump and Obama have become icons; in neither case is any real connection being made.