Connection, from the Latin connexio meaning to bind or join together. When I think of the word connection it brings positive images of strong relationships, of communities working together, of people with people and it makes me smile. I believe its something we all crave, human connection…to see how alike we are, to know we have more sameness in our varied groups than differences.
With all the positivity I make to “connection”, I suck at it. If I am honest about it, I crave it. I work on it with myself and with others. And yet, when it comes to connecting with others, even with myself, once it gets deep, I get scared. I get “shy”. I feel insecure, losing my courage to be open and real, showing my vulnerabilities. So rather than dive into the deep dark void of emotion, mine and yours, i take a step back, slowly slipping away. It’s protective, safe, secure and deeply painful, lonely and isolating.
We live in a world of duality. I cannot know joy, peace, love, bliss without experiencing sadness, disharmony, grief, despair. Joy is all the more intense when the sadness has been profound. I know this because I have let myself feel these wonderful emotions. I have opened myself up to being vulnerable. Many times in these moments of unbridled (uninhibited) emotion/love, I have spoken my desire, barred my soul and have found my feelings not only not reciprocated, but ignored, as if what I shared wasn’t important at all. A lesson is learned: guard your emotions and feelings, reserve them only for yourself lest you get deeply wounded again.
There have been times when sharing my deepest emotions was met with love and acceptance. When I am honest with myself and really go within, In this release of truth I find joy, love, peace, acceptance. It feels amazing. But its rare. Hiding myself is easier. But this leads to a half lived life, one where my truth is squandered, where my gifts are under utilized and where I live without connection.
So, how do I, how do you, live in this world of duality, embracing the sadness and the joy? How do we get out there and really live without feeling defeated and dejected?
When I want to isolate, I have to look at what is stressful for me at this time. What part of my life is hard, what don’t I like about my life right now. And then I ask myself, what emotions have I attached to this stress, this thing in my life that is hard. And finally ask yourself, what is the truth of the situation. Naming the
stress and examining the emotions breaks the issue down into manageable pieces. Naming the truth brings in objectivity so you can see where the real issue lies.
As an example, my husband had a knee replacement 8 months ago. While many people feel pretty good by 4 months, it really is an 18 month recovery. It takes that long for the bone, ligaments and tendons to fully heal. I want to take those all day hikes like we used to, go into the back country and camp, I want to bike for more than just an hour…this is how we bond. Something about being deep in nature brings us much closer, stronger. I really miss it. It’s been 2 years since we’ve had these excursions. Not having this connection, is my stress. I feel it intensely. The emotions I have wrapped around this lack of connection: unworthy, “you don’t love me anymore.” The truth is: he’s in pain and recovering from a major surgery. To come back to a place of solid physical health, he needs to strengthen his joints and muscles and gradually return to his normal level of fitness. I am impatient. We are not connecting as well without our time in nature. How else can we connect? Time to brainstorm TOGETHER!
How this manifests in my life is sometimes nausea, sometimes cravings for sweets, my sweetness is missing. I start looking for connection elsewhere; food, work, projects/crafts, alone time in nature, spending more time with friends…all this leads to exactly what I don’t want, disconnection from my best friend.
But how does this method help me connect authentically to the greater community? How do I connect deeply and honestly with adult children, aging parents, siblings who are as lost as I am and friends who’s lives are busy?
Again, break it all down into manageable pieces. Doing so helps you notice how the mind, the body and the emotions interact. Realize your own participation in the (perceived) problem. I say perceived because while I think something is a problem, another person may not. And even though I want deeper connection, the other person may not. This is where I tend to get very hurt. I find it difficult, but I have learned over the years to ask simple questions like “What do you want our relationship to look like?” “How can I support you?” “What do you need at this time?” I may not like the answers, but at least I know where I stand. And, if I am lucky, I will have saved a lot of heartache in the process.
Thank you for listening as this little piece has certainly been clarifying for me.
Please let me know if this was helpful for you.