Lately the word connection has been popping up for me, so I thought I would write about it. We, by nature, are wired for connection. Our very survival is dependent on it, so why is it so many of us struggle to feel connected? Why is it that we tend to close off and retreat into a world of our own minds? Or why is it that for most of us we restrict this for only our very close friends or family (if we even feel connected at all!)?
This thought was sparked while I was participating in a class at the Y. It was a class called Centergy and the reason this is important is that I often participate in yoga (which I love), but when I am in yoga I use that time to be with my mind, like a moving meditation. Because of this, I rarely pay attention to others in the class. But in this class, it is a little faster paced and there are more moves. So, in this class, I do not focus inside as much. This allowed me to have this new perspective! As the whole class was moving through poses, especially when we were looking backward or in a flowing motion, I couldn’t help but notice the other people in my class. It was in that moment that I saw and felt this beautiful connection between everyone in the class. We were all in sync and moving together in a beautiful flow to music … connected in the moment. It struck me how easy it was to feel connected! It was a great feeling and almost brought a tear to my eye.
This brought on contemplation on the feeling of connection, how good it feels and how it is so easy to access. If this is the case, why is it that most of us, myself included, tend to isolate ourselves? Even if we are with others, a lot of us keep to ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to feel that connection. Why?
As I said before we are wired for connection, so why do we spend so much of our time searching for it? And why do we retreat from it when we are given the opportunity to connect? I think that this comes down to a couple of things.
Is your Heart Open?
First, I think that so many of us spend so much time in our heads that we don’t allow our hearts to open up to feel connected. I think we may participate in activities with others, but true connection comes from allowing our hearts to connect with others in that moment. We may join a group or spend time with others but a lot of the time we aren’t present in the moment. We are judging ourselves, judging the conversation, planning ahead, or feeling shame or guilt for what we should be doing instead! This works in direct contradiction to the connection that we are seeking, rather than being connected in that moment when we are in our minds. We might as well be alone. Rather, if we took some time to really be in the moment to be mindful and feel into the situation, we would get the feeling of connection that we were looking for in the beginning. It really is that simple!
Is There Fear?
Another reason I think that we don’t connect is that we have fears around feeling connected to others. Some may have a belief that by connecting to others we risk losing our independence or that feeling a need to connect is a sign of weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When we feel connected, our independence is not at risk and, if you are brave enough to reach out and feel in a world that pushes for independence, how could that be weakness?
Some may fear that when we connect we are vulnerable. It is true, it can feel vulnerable, but that does not mean that others will take advantage of that vulnerability and harm us in some way. Or that we will be viewed as weak and therefore become a target because we chose to open our hearts. There are way more good people in this world than ones who are out to get us, and if we are willing to risk opening our hearts, it encourages others to also do the same!
The beautiful moment that I had in my class was empowering, encouraging and supportive. All of which are positive, because I opened my heart to feel. I didn’t need to spend time getting to know the other participants or even know their names, all I needed was to allow myself to feel into the moment.
This week I encourage you to be brave and to feel into connection. Allow yourself to feel the nurturing, supportive, intuitive wonderfulness that being connected with others can provide!
Here are some suggestions:
- Schedule a coffee date with friends and put your phone away, be there fully!
- Fully participate in a class.
- Spend your family dinner time not talking about the past (what happened today), or present (what you need to do) but actually in the moment.
- Smile and make eye contact with people on the street. Even greet them!
- Get engaged in a conversation with coworkers.
- Have a spontaneous conversation with a salesperson and truly be involved in the conversation.
- Make an effort to meet someone new.
Whatever it is that you try, be present in the moment, and open your heart up to the connection. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of your efforts.