Does connection scare us?

Does connection scare us?

"Does connection scare us?"

by Maria Furlano, DMQ (China), MTOM, L.Ac.

I hope you're having a terrific Monday.

I love walking. 

Walking has always been my go to exercise when I need to get some energy flowing. But I also love walking just because it gets me into fresh air. The morning air is my favorite.

Something that I've been more aware of recently on these walks, is how very few people are making eye contact or connection. 

And I'm wondering how something so natural, has become somehow too "intimate?" Many times it seems we go out of our way to avoid simple forms of connection. I know I've done it myself – have you?

So this morning, I made it a point to openly make eye contact and connect with a simple smile. And, when it felt right I decided I would also say "hello" to everyone I crossed paths with during my walk. 

I had no intention to invade anyone's space – quite frankly I did not want to stop and chat, I wanted to keep my own walking pace. But, I was willing to take a moment – just one – to gently connect from the heart.

One woman I passed 2 times while walking. The first time she looked away and then during the second pass, as we were walking directly towards each other, I decided to smile brightly and say "hello." I think my enthusiasm was a little high, because she actually jumped slightly in surprise. She did gather a smile and say "Hey" back to me. I laughed (hopefully she didn't hear) because I honestly didn't mean to startle her.

But it really made me think – On my walk I counted 5 other people who actively looked away from me and would not engage at all. So, naturally I did not try to engage them either. I'm very big on personal space. But before my walk was over there were 2 people who did smile back warmly. 

I live in beautiful Southern California – we are people who are often outdoors and active. We are for the most part, pretty cheerful and have a "relaxed and easy going" reputation. So it made me think, are we as a culture really moving further and further apart from simple connection? 


Are we so self-absorbed that we can't take a moment to (at the very least) give a smile, a nod, or say a genuine "hello" as we pass each other on the street, in the market, at the bank, or to the person who takes our parking lot ticket money?

To be absolutely honest, I know I've been in places in my life when I was too self-absorbed in my own "stuff" to be able to show simple kindness to others.

So it brought up the age old question for me.

How are we really treating each other?


It matters.

It matters because how we speak to, speak about and engage with others, is a direct extension of ourselves.


I have received emails recently and had client sessions with many topics related to the sadness, fear and frustrations that many are feeling right now with various events in our world… 

Something I've been doing lately to keep myself on track, is ask myself this question…

"How do I want to personally extend my energy into this world today?"

One of the ways we keep our sense of compassion with each other, the animal kingdom, mother earth and all her gifts to us, is through our ability to connect with everything.


So, my question to you is…

Are we loosing perspective on the importance of these very small (but powerful) daily personal connections to each other?

And, if you feel we are, would you be willing to add one warm smile and hello during your day to another person? Without trying to gain anything, or impress anyone, or do a "good deed"… Simply to connect?

Is this something that you see the value in for all cultures?

Or, has it just become too uncomfortable, too intimate, or maybe just too inconvenient for us? 

I welcome your thoughts…


Signature Maria Furlano tagline Personal energetic expansion is at the heart of everything I teach.

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  1. Kathy October 9, 2017

    love this topic, I find that many people are hurting and feel unsure so they’d rather stay in their own space to avoid anyone or anything that may be negative. I never let this deter me. I am a bringer of light and refuse to let darkness diminish my cause which is to lighten the mood and spread love which feels completely natural for me, it’s just me, it’s who I am. Any time I cross paths with anyone that is with drawn or uncomfortable as I more forward I then meet several more that are engaging. It’s very important now for us to feel unified and not separate and alone. I believe their is safety in numbers especially when we are walking in love.

    • Maria Furlano, DMQ (China), MTOM, L.Ac.

      Hi Kathy – I truly want to thank you for sharing your insights. I agree with you that so many people are hurting and would rather stay in their own space. I have felt that way a lot. Totally get it. I love, love, love that you state so openly that you “are a bringer of light” !!!! YES! This is what we all need to remember and I personally want to thank you for all that you’re putting out INTO the world. And your final comment “I believe their is safety in numbers especially when we are walking in love” – perfectly said. Blessings and many thanks.

      • Kathy October 10, 2017

        Thank you from my heart Maria….thank you for your beautiful blog and for all the beautiful support and for all you share that brings so much love and light and food for thought to us all! You inspire me greatly …much love to U always.

  2. Lena October 9, 2017

    Hello, Dr. Furlano,
    Coincidentally, I was just thinking the same thing about saying hello on the trail. Yesterday, I took a hike along the crest of the Sandia mountain in Albuquerque – a popular place among natives and tourists alike, inspite of its 10K feet altitude. It was crowded and most of the people were friendly and happy-looking. However, I noticed that while almost everyone of my age and older were either making eye contact and initiating a greeting, or at least were responding to mine, a few groups of young people simply did not bother. I also noticed that in mixed groups, the way elder people said ‘Hi’ sounded more from the heart and more genuine, while the youngsters just mumbled or ‘threw’ it pretty indifferently. I also recalled the period in my life when I was so absorbed by my own ‘problems’ that I did not have any energy left to even see what/who is around me. I think that for most of us our life-styles are so stressful that even when we go for a walk or a hike to get away from it, we are still carrying our problems with us that do not allow us to be fully open to the surroundings. I am also observing a shift in values among young generation compare to previous generations. In the past, relying on a neighbor was not uncommon, now, people rely on technology and therefore, the younger generation feels less need for human face-to-face communication. It is sad, and I wished it was otherwise. I felt really-really happy every time I heard that ‘Hi’ on the trail yesterday. It added so much warmth and positive energy to my hike, so I don’t want that wonderful tradition to vanish. I know, I will continue greeting people and will be making eye contact even if they don’t, with the hope that the tradition will go on.

    • Maria Furlano, DMQ (China), MTOM, L.Ac.

      Lena – I thank you for taking the time to share your insights with me (and us) here. I too have noticed a difference in generations and their ability to connect with each other. Although I do realize that we have all gone through “puberty” and those awkard and difficult times when we thought grown ups were really “dumb.” 🙂 And there will always be those cheerful kids who reach out with joy and those who don’t. I think what you said about a shift in generations and noticing the reliance on technology vs. our neighbors is very valid. I have noticed such difficulty with younger generations ability to make eye contact, or even shake hands when first meeting. They have been doing so much research on how our technology is affecting our brains. I think we just have to keep reminding each other that it’s OK (and normal) to reach out to each other. That it’s safe to connect and we can still maintain healthy boundaries when we do it. The only way to do this is through example. This can’t be taught, it has to be experienced with each other. You also reminded me when you said that the “hello’s” added warmth and positive energy on your hike, that we need to just keep connecting and not worry about the response back, because their are so many people who want to be seen and expand their hearts. Much love to you Lena. Many, many thanks for your sharing.

  3. Elen Lauper October 9, 2017

    I have also perceived this; when walking, I smile or nod, or say hello. My sense is that people feel so divided politically, that they’ve retreated into themselves. I get it. But smile anyway.
    And keep breathing. Random acts of kindness and all…

    • Maria Furlano, DMQ (China), MTOM, L.Ac.

      Thank you Elen for giving your thoughts and I think you are right on. Your comment speaks clearly to me because I have definitely retreated into myself since January and I know it’s a form of self preservation. You’ve given me hope though, that perhaps as time moves forward and I have every hope that we will clear what needs to clear – we will again feel more open to connect again with less hesitation. Thank you very much.