One of my favorite professors at Gettysburg College was Dr. Samuel Mudd. He taught many psychology courses, but I had him for “History of Psychology”, which was a very dry course about the development of psychology as a science and its evolution over time. Dr. Mudd was a very tall, very “old” (at least to 19-year-old me), very intelligent, and very engaging man who made it his business to find some point of connection with all of his students.
I vividly recall my first day in History of Psychology when he ran through the attendance sheet, calling out our names. When our name was read, we were to raise our hand and mention the town that we were from. When I raised my hand and said, “Bally, PA”, he said, “Ah yes! Home of the Gold Toe Sock factory”. I blushed and said, “I’m not aware of that.” He told me to “ask around”. Sure enough, Great American Knitting Mills in my hometown of Bally, PA was the site of the first production of Gold Toe Brands, Inc. socks. Dr. Mudd had made the connection (and a huge impression). He finished with the roll call and proceeded to write on the board the word “CONNECTION” in all capital letters. He accentuated the written word by saying, “It’s all about connections, people.” During that semester, I learned how one moment of scientific inquiry connected to another and another. I saw how Freudian psychoanalysis connected to Adlerian theory and so on. Many years after his death, I have never forgotten Dr. Mudd’s phrase, “It’s all about connections”. I hear his words in my head quite often and marvel at the connections that are revealed to me over time, some that are new and others that have existed all along, unbeknownst to me.
Today I again find myself reflecting on that web of connection. I’ve written about the healing power of connection in other posts, but it has never been made more clear to me than through my recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder. I think about the counselor who helped me identify my disordered eating as B.E.D. and how that connection led me on the path to recovery. I think about the connections I’ve made during the course of my recovery, by sharing my story with others. I think about the college students I now counsel, some of whom struggle with disordered eating, who will take what they learn and share it with others…again, more connection. I think about the ripple effect of healing and growth that can take place through connections. It’s inspiring to imagine these connections forming a tapestry of colorful threads, woven tightly in some spots and loosely in others, but connected just the same.
How will you reach out in connection with others today? Is there anyone in your life you’re avoiding? How might that connection be healing to you or them? Stay connected, friends.
Peace, joy, and health,