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  • Writer's picture Cynthia Anne Hale

Virtual Connections & Resilience

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I hope that you are finding strength as we all face new COVID-19 challenges daily. We are healthy, although quite concerned about the short and long-term repercussions of the pandemic. As spring blossoms here in North Carolina, we process sobering news from all directions. We treasure the beauty and joys of ordinary life, even as we adapt our ways of being in the world.

A Story

In the midst of last week's distress, I was gifted with a sweet moment with a loved one who lives, as she says, "far, far away."

“A story, GG, would you read me a story?” Of course I was delighted to be asked by my always busy 4 year old granddaughter.

We lingered for a few minutes by the bookshelf, eventually choosing a children’s picture book that we had not yet read together. Just as I settled into the chair, ready to read, however, she disappeared.

I wondered if she had lost interest or been distracted by something in another room. She returned fairly quickly, though, with her comfort animal in hand. She climbed into the chair, holding her ”Bee” close and finding her thumb.

As we settled down together and began to read, I felt her breath slow. I noticed that mine did the same. We were almost at the end of the book when I noticed her eyes getting heavy. I felt her lean into me in that special way that children can relax and anchor themselves against us. After we said “The End” together, she slid off the chair and into another activity, a whirlwind of constant energy. 

In our virtual exchange, I nearly forgot that my granddaughter is almost 4000 miles away. The modern technology that made this moment possible had simply melted away. 

Virtual Realty ~ Mirror Neurons ~ Empathy

Research supports the reality of my experience. We see another person smile and our own neurons in the brain mirror that smile. We not only see the smile, we sense it in our body. Mirror neurons are thought to enable empathy. Isn’t it awesome that this can happen through video screens?

These kinds of connections are essential, now more than ever. Not only does a caring conversation help us manage fears and losses, it enables empathy to grow exponentially.

Building Resilience

From our homes around the world, we are reaching out more creatively. Whether sharing virtual dinner parties or simply chatting more frequently by text throughout our daily routines, we are reinforcing our relationships rather than neglecting them. We are strengthening our emotional resilience. 

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