Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Connection is at the heart of who we are. We cannot escape the need for connection, its engrained in our DNA. It’s what makes us human. Our need and desire to connect with others is undeniable, and many of us are realising just how important that is now.
Connection Is what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives. When we don’t have connection, we experience suffering. You might not find the word ‘connection’ on the list of core basic survival needs such as food, water and shelter but without connection, who are we? What else is there for us if we don’t have connection?
I am writing this at a time where some of us are completely cut off from human to human contact and connection. If we are lucky, we may be with a partner, our family, our children or perhaps we have flatmates that we are sharing four walls with, but many people are on their own during this time and probably suffering from a severe sense of isolation.
It’s likely that we are all feeling a sense of suffering from the inability to physically connect with others outside of this small group of people we are riding out this storm with. Zoom, skype and facetime are all really great modes of connecting online but it’s just not the same as the real thing is it? There is no escaping it and no one is denying that actually, some days, it’s really tough. We are having to face a lot of emotions that have been stirred up, perhaps from the past or perhaps about what the future holds, and most importantly, it’s bringing a lot of feelings and fears about connection that some of us maybe didn’t even realise we had.
I believe that we have been given this opportunity, this gift of time, to go deep within and learn how to reconnect with ourselves. If you are shaking your head at the screen right now, be patient and hear me out. This gift of time is the time away from daily distractions, and I don’t just mean work, but social commitments, things we think we need to do because of x, y and z, must be seen to be doing because everyone else is doing or things we must do because it’s the only thing that helps quieten our minds of buried emotions, fears and desires. Many of us have been making the effors to do the things we have bene putting off, doing things we have always wanted but for others, even the smallest of tasks seems like a big feat right now, simply getting out of bed is an achievement. Wherever you are at, I want you to know that this is O.K. Whatever you are feeling like right now, that is also O.K. There is no guilt or shame, we are all human, sharing this global experience together, but in our own individual ways.
Wherever we are right now, these thoughts, these emotions, they are trying to tell us something, and we have the opportunity to make use of this time to get in touch with ourselves, to open new doors of understanding, to shed old skins, our old stories. I have seen a remarkable spike in the vulnerability people are beginning to allow themselves to open in to – people have actually started honing their feelings and admitting to friends and family that actually, today was really tough. This adaptation phase isn’t easy for anyone, and when we have a good day, people are beginning to feel guilty and ashamed. STOP. There is no guilt or shame in you feeling good, positive or a sense of joy – we need this spirit to keep us alive, motivated and fighting for change. Your feeling of guilt or shame doesn’t serve anyone and only keeps you caged in downward spirals of thoughts and feelings. There is no right or wrong way to feel, there is no judgement – this is the perfect opportunity to give yourself the permission to feel whatever is coming up for you right now and to ride with it, whether it be grief, anger or fear. You don’t have to put on a brave face anymore, no one is watching. If you have been able to sit with these feelings, listening in and taking note, then I commend you. It takes a brave warrior spirit to enter this space, to spring clean out years’ worth of stored emotions and belief systems.
Most of us are professional at ignoring these feelings, some of us could even win an Oscar for our performances in ‘everything is fine’ and for some of us, people can see straight through the forced smiles. Yet both categories of people are more than likely to be trying to hide a feeling that they cant even identify or don’t know why its there. Why don’t we know what it is or why it is there? Because we have blocked off the connection to ourselves, and when we have blocked off the connection with ourselves, then how can we be expected to fully connect with others?
When we are not connected with ourselves, we become disengaged with ourselves and this can lead to disconnection with your partner, your friends, your career and the life you had planned out for yourself since the age of 11. You punish yourself and feel guilty for having these feelings because somehow, we have found ourselves in a society where we have been taught that it’s not ok to feel. “Don’t cry”, “why are you so angry”, “why are you so upset?”, “chin up”, “be quiet”, “get over it” are all terms I am sure we are all familiar with. From a young age, we learnt how to disconnect from our true emotions and figured out a way to push them to the side. We learnt coping mechanisms to keep the emotions at bay, possibly even adopted whole different personas that we have moulded ourselves to fit in to so that on the outside we appear happy go lucky, but on the inside we are a quivering wreck because we feel we aren’t worthy, or good enough or that we will never have enough. When we experience this it directly translates to our mind (albeit the irrational mind) that we are not capable or we do not deserve connection with others, reinforcing these thoughts and behaviours further.
Perhaps we were upset because we didn’t get a good grade at school and we created this story that we are not good enough, that we never will be, we would never make it – perhaps we were even told it, on multiple occasions by multiple different people. These emotions start to add up but they are too painful to face, so we bury them, and overtime we disconnect with who we are or what these emotions are telling us, not giving ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow from these experiences. We are unable to be ourselves because we are too busy trying to be someone who we think we are supposed to be or have been told we need to be, what is acceptable to society, moulding ourselves so that we fit in, to give us the chance to connect and we do it so well that we sometimes forget who we are inside, who we were born to be.
It’s time to dig deep. Be bold, be brave, be strong and gently invite these emotions in. Take a moment in this time that we have been given to start a dialogue with these deep rooted emotions. Say “Hi old friend, where have you come from, what are you trying to tell me”. This may seem scary and is likely to be a long process but by making the commitment to connect with yourself, you open the door for transformation and healing. You open doors to explore the world and life you want to create. This doesnt mean quitting your job and going travelling (although this is exactly how it looked for me), it could be anything from learning a new skill or starting a hobby which is going to elevate your spirit and you never did because you thought you didn’t have enough time or you didn’t think it was important enough, or it could be reaching out to someone from the past or in the present that you were too scared of rejection from or it could be starting that dream business you always wanted too. Without courage and taking action, change and growth cannot be facilitated. By connecting to your inner self, your authenticity, your inner child, you can take steps to address the old stories you’ve been telling yourself and the old wounds that have kept you trapped and you can tap in to what ignites the fire in your belly. You can create a new world, and together, we can come out of this pandemic, creating a new world together, each of us, step by step, little by little but as a community, together – all as one, supporting each other.
One of my favourite examples of our innate need for connection is by Dr Masaru Emoto, author of the book The Hidden Messages in Water. In Dr Emoto’s experiment, he took jars of white rice with some water and over the course of 30 days he did three things to each container of rice.
Jar 1: Every day for a month he gave his gratitude to one of the jars by a simple “thankyou”
Jar 2: Every day for a month he told another jar “you’re an idiot”
Jar 3: Every day for the month, he ignored the third jar
At the end of the experiment, jar 1 had begun to ferment and gave off a nice ‘aroma’, jar 2’s rice had turned black and jar 3’s rice had started to rot.
Now I’ve not done this experiment myself so I cannot confirm if his findings are true, but the fact that the rice turned rancid after being ignored and the rice being told an idiot had gone black I can fully believe and understand.
It doesn’t take long to search the internet to find dozens of people who did this experiment who experienced varying results. It doesn’t really matter if the rice went rancid or not, the bottom line that comes out of this experiment, and this book, is the conscious acknowledgement and understanding of the effects of positive or negative words or being completely ignored has on us. I don’t know one person who has not experienced either being completely ignored or having negative comments or situations happen to them, and guess what, it made us feel really really crappy. This is what a lack of connection can do to us. And it doesn’t stop here. If you feel comfortable enough, cast your mind back to a time when you may have experienced these negative comments or actions or being completely ignored. How did it make you feel? Be honest with yourself. Now take a minute to think about all of the negative comments or things you say and do to yourself, and that could include completely ignoring yourself in the form of basic needs like food and water or the emotions that you have put to the side hoping to never have to face again. Unless your spiritually enlightened, I bet by the time you’re reading this this could have been multiple times already today.
Now let that sink in.
Its uncomfortable right?
The negativity from outside sources, or indeed our internal self-talk that we experience on a daily basis and over the years, is rotting us from the inside out, just like the rice in the experiment. Negative thoughts and emotions can manifest in the body and in our environment as illness, as disease, both physiologically and mentally. When we are connected within ourselves, connected to nature and connected to each other, we thrive, we grow, we create a better world for ourselves and for others. Ignoring ourselves, our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions - is the knife that separates us from who we really are.
Take a moment in this time, tune in to how we crave that connection with other people and take a moment to notice how or how you are not connecting with yourself. What parts of you are you ignoring, what parts of you are you telling yourself you’re an idiot and what parts of yourself are you telling that you love them? Sadly for most people, the I love you list is probably quite short, or perhaps even blank.
Take this time to fill up your cup, be grateful that you even have a cup. When your cup begins to fill, and you begin to embody your true self, connect to the authenticity of who you really are and what you really want and watch your world begin to expand. Your ability to truly connect to others will also increase – when your less busy with your self-talk and old stories, you may begin to start to actually having the space to truly listen to what the person you’re talking to is saying rather than being caught in your own head, you might really be able to start experiencing what you are doing because you are more present.
If this seems far-fetched, take one day at a time. Take a moment to look outside, whilst we are giving nature a well-deserved break, look how she is blossoming. As she breathes, life grows and flourishes, she regenerates, she provides. We can give ourselves this too – we can give ourselves the opportunity to emerge and ascend from this situation stronger than before, more compassionate than before, more honest, more authentic, more grounded and in tune with ourselves and to what is truly important in life. For me, that starts with connection to myself, and I know deep within my soul that when I am tuned in to myself, I can’t help but see the joy, even amongst the suffering, and this allows me to show up for my friends and my family and helps me connect on new and deeper levels than I have ever been able to before.
We are all in this together.
We are all connected.