Our connection to ourselves is a determining factor for how well we connect with everything in life.
What is it like to connect with yourself? Is it something you do very often? If it sounds like a foreign practice, here’s a few things you are probably already doing (or avoid doing) that allow you to connect with yourself.
You can connect to:
- Feeling and acknowledging your emotions
- Noticing your body sensations
- Sitting with your thoughts
- Making sure to do things you truly enjoy
- Focusing on your breath
- Using Movement aka. noticing what moves you and how you move
- Understanding your image in the real world, not the virtual one you sometimes share with others
In general, connecting to you means connecting to some aspect of your experience and creating a conversation or learning opportunity from it. Many people go through the motions of their day and never stop to connect to anything in the list above. When student athletes come to Move Strong Mind, most of them have done one of these as an intentional practice although they aren’t sure what to do next. When parents come to Move Strong Mind, the list above encapsulates the things they know they “should” be doing more.
The older you get, the more you interact with the world around you regardless of whether it’s face to face or screen to screen. As such, it’s increasingly important to understand what connection is for you. Knowing this is the path to creating meaningful connections in your life and the path to fulfilling one of your fundamental human needs.
My younger clients say they’re connected all the time and they are! Anyone born between 1985-2012 has a uniquely different perspective of “connection” and what it means to “connect”. While their parents and grandparents revel in the novelty of texting and social media, trying to figure it out and learn “how to connect” in today’s world.
So I ask you again. What is connection for you?
For me it’s the ability to feel. Having had an intense visceral sense and body awareness for as long as I can remember, connection means feeling. It means listening to my body like an old friend who calls me with the 411 on what’s happening in her world.
In many ways and for many reasons, I lost touch with the way I naturally connect to myself. I trained myself out of connecting as a dancer. As any athlete will tell you, it’s necessary to “disconnect” from the messages of pain or limitation sent as red flags from our nervous systems. As an athlete, you don’t let the pain in your body tell you the limit of what can accomplish. While this has great application for sport, training yourself to disconnect from aspects of your natural internal messaging system isn’t effective for much else.
We all have some experience of disassociating from our innate and natural form of self-connection. Everything from childhood experiences of being made fun of for the way we are, to training ourselves to ignore internal connecting like I did. Emotional and physical trauma of any kind can dampen or diminish our natural internal guidance system. While this can be abuse or neglect, it doesn’t have to be. Trauma can also be the way we experience major life changes and transitions such as injury, illness, divorce and death of those we love.
Moments that we disconnect from are also not just the one’s we experience directly. National and international news of intense human experience such as suffering, can cause disconnection as well. If we let ourselves fully feel, hear, see, contemplate or process everything that comes our way, we are likely to get overwhelmed.
It’s not so much the disconnection, regardless of the reason, that creates a challenge for people. That’s a natural process. The real problem comes when we don’t acknowledge and realize that it’s happening. If you don’t know you’re disconnecting, then how do you know what it feels like to be connected? How do you know when you need to listen to the voice inside, the feeling in your gut, the image in your mind or the repetitive thought that doesn’t want to leave you alone?
The truth is, without the intentional practice of learning and using your ability to connect to yourself, you may not hear the voice, feel the gut, see the image or notice the thought that’s being specially delivered to you, by you, in the very moment when you need it most.
Let’s get specific here and talk about what your best method of self-connection might be. Some of us are profound thinkers and it is the questions of this world, the problems to be solved and the endless hypothesis of the mind that drive personal connection to self.
Others operate on imagination and it’s the endless curiosity, potential for creativity and a desire to see what’s “over there” that makes them feel at home in their own skin. And some feel a sense of connection to a higher energy, power or actualized self. Their connection to a greater sense of all things within themselves unlocks their heart and mind as much as the facts of the thinker or the creativity of those who imagine.
Regardless of how you connect, today’s blog is meant to get you thinking about the natural way connection was born or bread into you. There are ways that we are and there are ways that we’ve learned to be. Noticing our relationship to connection is key to choosing what types and what ways are best for us to connect in life moving forward.
Cultivating a connection to ourselves is one way to ensure that our choices and actions line up with the outcomes and performance that we truly wish to achieve.
Without strengthening the ability to connect to ourselves, we are left to wave in the wind like a leaf ready to be blown away, at the mercy of a force we didn’t ask for and have no ability to change. This is one dialogue that commonly comes from a chronically disconnected internal messaging system. We begin to feel our own insignificance in a way that may have us believe we are at the mercy of forces around us.
This is but one perspective of reality that makes you small, insignificant and powerless in your own life. I’ve been in this perspective and walked along side many who visited it and I know the antithesis and the truth is that you were not born into this world to merely exist. You were born to be you and who you are is the one mystery you’ve been charged with discovering in this life.
The fastest way to solve the mystery and empower yourself to great success, achievement and fulfilment is by connecting to the one source you have an unending supply of and that’s YOU.
Let’s Get Cookin!
Try on at least 3 ways to connect to yourself just like you’d try on more than one pair of shoes. Here’s a few examples to get you started and you can of course make up your own!
1) Go outside for 5-10 minutes and notice what moving does to your experience (aka. notice how you feel or what you’re thinking before, during and after movement)
2) Have a conversation with someone and notice your internal dialogue (what the voice in your head is saying while you’re trying to connect with someone else).
3) Set a timer for 1-3 minutes and focus on your breath. Breathe in and out and keep coming back to noticing “I breathe in and I breathe out” until the timer goes off. (aka. notice how you feel or what you’re thinking before, during and after movement)
I’ll write another blog on connection soon to help you keep exploring and in the meantime, begin to notice your best way to plug into You.
Wishing you ease as your practice connecting to you!
With love and support for all that you are naturally,
p.s. in case you’d like a theme song to go with this blog, you can click here 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJUM11goXAU