Finding connection–whether it be with ourselves, with others, or with the world around us can be challenging. Truly connecting is sometimes incongruent with our busy and often tech-focused lives–add on top of that the roller coaster of 2020, which has made some of us feel more disconnected than in harmony.
I’ve thought a lot about how connecting is the truest form of being present and am working on infusing it into my daily life. Connect has become a mantra I repeat to myself as a parent, as a yogi, as a writer, as a human.
Making Connection a Mantra
Each day, my daughter teaches me lessons in mindfulness, in communication, in how to connect with a small human who is learning about the complexity of emotion.
Connect, I repeat to myself in trying moments.
And, this mantra appropriately flows from being a parent into all aspects of my life.
When I feel edgy with my partner: Connect.
If I’m practicing yoga, but my mind isn’t present: Connect.
And, perhaps I unconsciously chant it as I’m writing–words on a page, words across a screen: Connect.
Connection is the goal in all of these things.
The work that I do is not important unless it finds connection. Sometimes it’s with a larger audience, sometimes it’s only with a few people or only for my daughter to read years from now. Sometimes it might only be to connect with myself, to who I am in the very moment that is unfolding before me as I write or move on the mat.
Now, more than ever, connection feels paramount to our neighborhoods, our communities, our country. Connection for me is the ultimate form of presence, of being so grounded in yourself, in another human, in nature, that you are one–there is no separation.
Here are my top five ways for finding connection in your daily life:
- Spend time in nature. Take a hike. Walk on the beach. Take yourself (or a friend or your kids or your dog) on a picnic. Sit next to a tree or a river bank or the ocean. Wherever you go, be with the natural presence before you. Bring your attention to something around you (flowing water, a cloud, a blade of grass) and take in every detail you can until your breathe softens and there is no separation between you and this moment.
- Journal. Writing is a great way to connect with yourself. It opens possibilities, ideas, and thoughts you might not have known before you embarked on setting pen to the page. Set a timer for as short as five minutes or as long as you want.
- Move. Choose a movement practice that gets you fully in your body. My go-to is yoga because of its mind-body benefits. I allow my breath to lead my body where it wants to go. Everyday is different. Be gentle, be curious, be willing to explore.
- Listen. Pause and stop talking–listening is a powerful skill. Listen to nature. Listen to your pet or an animal outside. Listen to your kids, your partner, your friends, to whoever is right in front of you. Take time to let their words settle into you. Make eye contact. Resist the urge to insert your opinion or your thoughts immediately, instead ask questions, and allow their words to become part of you.
- Create. There’s nothing like connecting to the present moment like the creative process. Create in a way that makes you feel passionate and alive: dance, cook, write, sing, collage, paint, work with clay, build a bench, etc, etc.
How are you connecting these days when disconnect has become more of the norm? Send me a note or comment below.