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Nothing replaces love and human presence. I was delighted to have this reinforced through a discussion I had recently with an FBI agent. I was a character reference for a young woman I have known for many years who was being interviewed for governmental work that requires security clearances. After completing the interview, we had an enlightening discussion. Over his many years of extensive world travel as an investigator, he has observed what could be cataloged as a case study in human behavior. I felt inspired by his belief in the inherent good in all people, across all cultures. We also commiserated on how and why communication breaks down between individuals, in families, in businesses, and in and between nation states.

Love and support are basic and primal for our personal stability and growth

His observations about individuals who commit espionage centered on many factors, but one key factor is their lack of social and emotional support. A sense of isolation creates a vulnerable void in their lives wherein they become susceptible to negative influences. This is not unlike the pull of gangs and cults. I began to share about my work over these many years with the Ornish program and in particular, how intimacy is a key pillar in lifestyle medicine in reversing (undoing) heart disease. He concurred whole-heartedly (pun intended); emotional and social cohesion is the cornerstone of our personal well-being. The implications are far reaching, extending their influencing from the connection that we have with ourselves, to our families, our communities, the nation, and the world.

The Need For Love is Primal

We both agreed that nothing replaces the innate need we have for human-to-human loving support. Its a primal need for our personal stability and growth, and ultimately to global stability and peace. As we all pay close, daily attention to increasing our daily activity, stress management and nutritious eating, let’s also devote more attention to cultivating human connection into our daily life. When face-to-face, in-person presence is not possible, I am grateful for the digital means by which we’re able remain connected. Making contact is the first step, but contact alone will never heal us. We need to feel each other’s presence.

As he turned to go, he smiled and said, “Nothing can ever replace being with others. I’m so glad there isn’t an App for that.”

Recently, I was able to reach my friend, Susan, many miles away, in New York. Our phones had been playing tag for too long. We had a good heart-to-heart chat, and then made a vow before we got off the line to put a concerted effort into getting together. I’m planning a trip in May to visit her. Tomorrow, I’m having lunch with a dear friend I used to work with every day. I miss her. I’m so happy I will be in her company. This coming weekend, we’re going to visit our daughter who lives two hours away. She has lived on her own for 7 years and we talk every day, but nothing compares to being with her, hugging her, sharing stories and soaking up her preciousness. These connections nourish my body and soul.

As my new FBI friend was leaving, he spontaneously expressed that he was excited to “check out” the Ornish Program. He thanked me for the interview, and especially for our discussion about the importance of presence. As he turned to go, he smiled and said, “Nothing can ever replace being with others. I’m so glad there isn’t an App for that.”

How do you maintain intimacy with your loved ones, near and far?

Contributed by

Mimi O' Connor
Group Support Specialist

Hearts linked, together we heal…

Better Health Begins With You...

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