Connections aren't just about getting from A to B by public transport across a crowded city or country. There are a myriad of other ways that connection exists in our lives.
A lack of deeper connection to ourselves and others leaves us feeling empty at our core - adrift in a sea of strangers, unable to know who we are, what we want or how to get it.
Never in history have we had so many gadgets and ways to help us to connect with other people - and yet I doubt that we've ever felt so disconnected from our souls and tribe; from our passion and compassion.
Mental health studies tell us how many days are lost in the workplace, and how many teenagers and pregnant women's lives are blighted by mental health problems and lack of connection (ironically) to the help they need.
We see far too many homeless drug-users or alcoholics who have been traumatised by life and made to feel like an outcast. They are disconnected from the care they need and they soothe their pain in any way they can...which only makes things worse.
What's missing is the lack of meaningful connections – the root cause of most of our ailments and woes.
We crave those connections which enrich us and give us something to smile about. The sort of connections that give us something to live for.
We all have a need to belong somewhere, to feel appreciated and wanted, to feel worthy and worthwhile, and to make a difference.
We all need to feel loved and deserving of compassion, empathy, love and support.
Without meaningful connections we often try to squash or silence that bitter pain of disconnection by being over-busy, over-eating and drinking, gambling, drugs, sex, retail therapy, computer games, pornography – in fact anything that alters our mood in the short term.
We try to overlay our pain with coping 'tools' and 'resilience strategies' – but pain still exists. Our core childhood emotions are still there...bleeding under the surface of our adult selves – unhealed and raw.
If you felt disconnected from love in your childhood it becomes much more difficult to trust any loving connections as an adult. The testing out of such potential connections often ruptures and destroys them...leaving us alone in that familiar pit of solitary despair.
How can we 'ELICIT' what we're disconnected from?
Existential awareness – the bigger picture of our human life and what it means to us. The observation of the 'Self ' and our deepest fears of isolation, vulnerability and death. The root of our concern is...Will I survive another day? At what cost? How do I give my life meaning and purpose in the time I have left?
Instead we plod on in our daily lives as if in a trance, carrying out the duties and roles expected of us. We sacrifice our deeper existential awareness for the veneer of connection to our small daily drama with its limited cast of characters.
Love – and the wonderful feel-good hormone called Oxytocin - which washes over us like a warm wave when we feel loving touch and loving kindness.
It's not about who says they love you, it's about who you FEEL loved by.
Inner Life – disconnected from both our fears and dreams – and from our inner child's yearnings and pleadings - which we silence and ignore at our peril.
We can also become disconnected from our own good feelings due to traumatic experiences which have overwhelmed our emotional brain and shut out those positive feelings. We do this so that we can more sharply focus upon, and be prepared for, the next threat to our survival.
There's also a disconnection with our senses - the sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells around us. Our brains 'habituate' and follow familiar patterns each day. Our subconscious mind shuts out the extra 'unnecessary' information around us. We become separated from a huge part of the world around us – particularly when we are in 'survival mode' and at our default position of defending our fragile egos.
Comfort & Safety – and that soothing feeling that we 'belong' where we are – safely anchored and without being at the mercy of the tides of misfortune.
Intimacy – with our own spirit, vitality, arousal and desires. Without this we become stagnant, bored, disappointed, lonely and disillusioned with life.
The moment – we miss the savouring and pleasure of the tiny details around us when we are disconnected from the moment. Instead we maintain unhelpful connections with the past (and what went wrong) and the future (and what might go wrong).
What could life be like if we found and made those connections?
Imagine it for yourself.
Being in touch with your own inner thoughts, feelings, preferences, goals, and fears – and more than that being able to look at them objectively, without self judgement or self criticism.
To become aware of what you want to stay connected to, and what you want to continue to give your energy to.
With greater connection to our self-awareness, we are then able to create better, more honest connections with others. We no longer need to hide behind the mask that we thought they preferred us to wear.
We have no need to defend our fragile ego. Instead we can put it aside and feel lighter and more connected to our own true self, our vulnerability and our strengths. We have nothing to fear because our connection to ourselves ensures that we will take care of our own needs and not rely upon or expect anyone else to do that for us.
We will form social groups with other like-minded mask-free seekers of an abundant life - who are keen to connect, to be known, to play, to support and to grow.
We can connect with one another face to face, warts and all - to enjoy seeing and feeling our eyes reflect back our love.
We can become impacted by the strong energy field around the hearts of those we have a deeper and safe connection with. We are energised and we thrive from our reciprocal energies.
We reconnect with and absorb the natural beauty around us. We enjoy simplicity and creativity. We are in our state of flow and awe, free from the constraints of the over-thinking mind.
We trust ourselves to keep ourselves safe – and not be poisoned by the fear-inducing media. We have faith in the goodness of humanity – which hasn't been warped by fear and hatred, greed and trauma.
How can we become more connected?
We may never get the love and care from our parents that we needed to set up the template for our later loving connections ...but it's never too late to fill in the gaps.
When we know what it takes and what we need to do, then we can create a connection with our future self – that enhanced version of us (which Quantum Physicists say already exists in 'potential wave form').
We also need to disconnect to be able to better connect – which is another of life's paradoxes.
So let's get away from our desks and technological devices. Let's take off our mask and step boldly into a new way of relating to ourselves, others, the planet and whatever our own bigger picture is.
This is TRANSFORMATION through connection!
My own solution to this massive epidemic of disconnection starts with self awareness.
Then comes education and learning new skills to help us to connect and stay connected to what serves us well.
We are then free to take charge of our emotional state – as we identify and express our emotional truth. This powerfully connects us with those who resonate with us - those who are on our 'wavelength'.
We can then find the control and clarity to make the choices we want to make to bring about our own version of transformation...in our own way...on our own terms...with the aim of taking our life to a much higher level...that of a spirit and soul connection with one another.
When we combine our personal connections with connecting with nature and with each of the gifts of our senses, we have a winning solution to the bigger problem.
When we are connected we feel whole, we heal, we grow, we love - and we love being in the world.
Maxine Harley (MSc Integrative Psychotherapy)
www.maxineharley.com. Please see my website for the many ways I can help you to FEEL better.
You will also see how my process called 'S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life' fits in to all of my services
LEARNING NEW SKILLS
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE & BALANCE
CONTROL, CLARITY & CHOICE
www.maxineharley.com WHERE YOU'LL FIND A PAGE OF FREE RESOURCES - to help you with your therapeutic self-development. And for those with a toxic parent you'll find a FREE e-booklet 'The S.H.I.E.L.D' to get you started on the path of healing and recovery. You will also find 5 online self-help courses - to help you to help yourself, your relationship, your children and your business/career
www.maxineharleymentoring.com - helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours... to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better in their lives
www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - a series of 10 online self-help workshops to help you with different aspects of your life
www.qpp.uk.com - changing the sub-conscious belief system or S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time