My intention is to share concepts to illuminate, alleviate, and elevate you. My offer here is ‘Connection.’
Friedrich Nietzsche was tuned in; “invisible threads are the strongest ties.”
Brene Brown’s Connection definition is “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
For years, perfectionism insisted I often traverse hard stuff alone. Muscle through solo without bothering others – or maybe avoiding dealing with opinions, disagreements, judgments?
When illness dragged on and, at times, moving from the neck down or speaking wasn’t doable nor was reading with clarity – among other issues, I avoided others existing nearly ghostlike to most. Family wonderfully supported while friends offered repeated help, visits, you-name-it… to Connect.
Mostly, I declined with excuses or no thank-yous attempting politely not burdening others. Hiding the truth, I disConnected myself from a web of beautiful, loving, kind, generous dears. As years slipped by, loneliness and losses piled up.
Then, 2017 seared my life – nearly to the ground. Adrift in a sea of solitariness in my parent’s spare room, after a treatment caused my adverse reaction to our newly renovated house (not kidding), I attempted independent-of-others fixes. Mostly, I cratered.
Receiving my own stem cells shepherded in wee glimmers of hope and healing; a month of full-time open windows and air filters in our home enabled my return. A standing ovation to God for this.
Having experienced extreme poverty of Connection and felt vast emptiness, I deeply longed to reConnect.
So, I started. Imperfectly. With the Divine and close dearest ones.
Appreciating, Focusing, kind-ish truth-telling, Responsibility Taking, walking, Listening, praying, hand-holding, Giving. Aiming to Accept whatever floated and lean towards Trusting. And, eventually Gratitude. Slowly mulling how life fractured and what happened to me. To unite a rainbow of emotions within and align with my dearest others after a rough decade.
Connecting over dinner or lunch, during homework breaks, on the porch, while ball tossing, or just after waking. Without allowing technology’s interference. Or Connecting via phone calls. Mostly in person felt more soothing and productive for moi alas to each his/her own.
In moments, it felt kinda risky to Connect, as it involved being seen and heard as who I truly was. Incrementally, it paid off; I noticed it aided healing. Not coincidentally, a meta-analysis of studies, 34 years of research assessed for similarities, supports that lack of Connection has a major downside.
Isolating and loneliness aren’t minorly impactful; they “increase the risk for early mortality” as noted here.
In What Happened to You?, Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D., and Oprah Winfrey thoroughly describe Connectedness’s importance. While “pain, distress, and dysfunction arise from some form of fragmentation, disConnection, dyssynchrony.”
Dr. Perry studies, treats, and teaches brain and developmental trauma. He discovered “a core element of all of the traditional healing practices [such as of Māori who are New Zealand’s indigenous Polynesians] was … reciprocal relationships, kinship, and a sense of family Connection.”
Connection’s a vital aspect of good health – and happiness.
Leaning into Connection, for me, included:
• Leaving space and time for longer conversations. Aiming for ok-ness with disagreeing, stepping away if needed, then circling back for “repairing” conversations. Getting it wrong to eventually get it more right is resilience building per Dr. Perry. He seems to agree with some of the below bullets too,
• Reconnecting with old and recently made friends and making efforts to create new ones. Even if fear grumblings suggested leaving people alone,
• “Paying attention. Attention is vitality. It Connects you with others.” Indeed, Susan Sontag,
• Listening more, talking less. Attempting to approach Mark Wayshak’s 80/20. 80% of time listening and 20% of the time talking. Ahem, I’m working on this,
• Taking breaks in Connecting when about to, ummmm, say something I regret, or when self-care would be more beneficial,
• Leaving wee messages to another I’d not spoken to of late, a brief hello chat with a neighbor, a short walk with family – even to the end of a short driveway (yep, really), or a text followed by a together tea. Achievable and honors people have full lives while considering others may seek a web of love too,
• Owning relationship mess-ups. Lovingly with humility helps. Or aiming for that,
• Forgiving myself – and others. Reflecting and pondering that people are doing the best they can, with the info. they have, where they are. Not intending this at all to mean allowing others to disrespect boundaries or trounce upon us. Compassion practicing increased my tolerance of oopsies and fostered Connection, and/or
• Increasing meaningful together people time, decreasing screen time. Over meals or snacks or wherever.
Connection. Relationships. Love. Is. Healing.
“Positive reciprocal relationships and a new sense of belonging helped heal” me. Connectedness truly does have the “power to counterbalance adversity.” Thank you, Dr. Perry.
Rather simple, myriad ways to do it, yet oh-so-potent, crucial, and life-giving. Connection is for our, others, and our community’s benefit – to thrive. 1 Connection at a time.
May Connection make your heart smile and fill you with a reservoir of Love,
Original Email Date: June 25, 2021
Click to listen to the audio podcast of the above post