Updating Relationships

Relationships matter now more than ever.

This is sometimes assumed to be a tropism, a natural or innate tendency.

It’s not. It’s a cultivated skill, propensity and reflex. To relate to someone is to first understand them and connect with them on their own terms. It is secondarily to understand how to be helpful to them in appropriate ways, not excessively or obsequiously, not pandering to them, but just seeking to be of value.

And in establishing that rapport, trust and credibility, to be eligible to also be understood and connected with in turn, to also hopefully be someone reciprocally cared about and also potentially added value to.

Harvey Mackay put it poignantly, “dig the well before you’re thirsty.” In other words, relationships have to precede our need for them. And whatever it is we seek, be it respect, or understanding, love, or value, we had best offer it ourselves, passionately, authentically and unstintingly. People who do seem to outlay these things proactively, invite and seem to enjoy abundance. Those that cling to these things, doling them out reluctantly and parsimoniously, seem to invite a corresponding poverty into their lives.

The play IN THE NEXT ROOM (or the Vibrator Play) is a saucy, juicy, provocative, titillating (if occasionally a bit too extended) tale of Victorian repression and how women (and “artistic” men) came to doctors to be cured of “hysteria” (emotional anguish leading to a deadening of physical responses) by virtue of “paroxysms” (today referred to by other names with more recreational than therapeutic implications) brought about by vibrators.

But the play is really about personal fulfillment, the right to need emotions and self-expression, and the  default drive to find substitutes (if we must) for the love, passion and intimacy we really seek. But it isn’t just about vibrators. There are all kinds of toys we turn to,  and varieties of what has been called “cheap grace” from booze, to drugs, to consumerism, to promiscuity (the other extreme of repression).

Relationships are at essence about our need to touch and be touched…emotionally and physically. Let us open ourselves up over this period in particular, to giving in expanded ways…and receiving. And indeed these will then be, happy holidays! And the period will “vibrate” with far more expansive positive paroxysms (as well as gentler fulfillments) of all kinds than ever before.