Friday, April 23, 2010

THE BATTLE: Part 4 – Connections

Michael W. Davis

“The Battle” is a series of articles related to my real life trip through a minefield to survive cancer. My purpose is to share my thoughts in the hope others may find counsel in the journey.

All humans possess a network of connections with other people in their lives. This human network comes in layers: family, special buds, friends, business contacts, faces you see in local stores and say hi to each day, etc. This post is about the role the human network plays in our well being, but stick with me for a minute cause I need to interject a little background. Just…hold…on.

In the discipline of applied mathematics, the study and analysis of networks is a special sub field. A few real world examples will help. There are city networks (roadways), biological networks (our nerve or vascular system), infrastructure networks (our power supply), and a ton of other areas of application, including a sub specialty referred to as social networks (e.g. humans touching humans). We all have one, but it varies for each of us in terms of three properties of connectivity: namely depth, breath and strength. Depth pertains to the layers within layers and their complexity. Breath deals with how wide or big the network is, and strength deals with how strong the linkage is between the people in the network. Based on our age, gregarious nature, intro vs extrovert focus and many other factors; the shape, size, depth and importance of the human network to each of our lives is different.

Where in the world am I going with this post, well bear with me, its coming. To some, the relevance of their human network to their state of mind is minimal, in others it is paramount. I’m in the later category, always have been, always will. But I contend as people expand their awareness of what life is really all about, especially as they enter their later years, most begin to draw more and more strength from their network, especially in times of difficulty.

I’ll provide a personal example. Recently I was diagnosed with Cancer, that’s right, the big C word. My point is the tremendous energy that can be gained from your personal connectivity network. I am very fortunate to have a wide and deep network, mostly because I love good people, and I seek them out and do my best to stay in touch. I am also able to recognize and gravitate to individuals who are pure of spirit, broad of heart, and strong in character. I have drawn such powerful support and genuine emotions from my human network. The shared stories, experiences, personal tragedies, and prayers have really firmed up my foundation, and at 300 pounds this old body needs all the support it can get.

Everyone that reached out moved me higher and higher up the state of mind scale, and I can’t reference them all. I picked one as an example, and after you read this one, it should give you a warm and fuzzy about human nature. I have permission to site part of the message from Harvey Tate (

Four years ago I remember sitting in a lonely hospital room in the late hours, wondering if I'd recover from my second bout of congestive heart failure. The night can make you feel mighty dismal. For whatever reason, I began humming the tune "Rainbow Connection" very quietly. The tune kept me from total depression. I kept humming and trying to remember the words. The hours slipped by much easier. Sometime around three in the morning a nurse slipped into the room and told me that she'd seen lots of illness in her job, but the ones who had a positive attitude usually walked out the door. She patted my head like I was a little boy and told me I was going to be fine.

One of my favorite songs I sing my grand daughter has being Rainbow Connections (primarily because I hope she will pattern on the under lying message), but now it will always have another special meaning to me, and hopefully you. My point? Never be afraid to reach out into your human network. We are not really alone unless we want to be. The walls that separate us are by choice and can be torn down. Sure, not all will respond, but many will. Reach out, extend a smile, a hand shake, some positive little words to make someone’s day. You will be amazed how your network grows and grows while willing people that are just like you, that get lonely, need a hug every now and then; they willingly will join your network. And they are real, positive, honest connections. You’d be surprised how many are waiting with open arms to give you a hug, or hold you hand, and if you need one more, hell let me know and I’ll give ya a web hug. And I promise to be gentle.