Staying Connected

CONNECTION – a definition: ‘The state of being joined or connected in some way with someone or something… a sense of togetherness that offers strength and sustenance.’

The desire to connect is a fundamental human need that we all share. We are relational and tribal. We belong together. Given the challenging times we are facing, with so many of us feeling isolated and cut off from those we love, we are unsurprisingly yearning for deeper connections. As Professor, Brené Brown says it best,

“Connection is why we are here. We are neurobiologically wired this way. It’s what gives meaning and purpose to our lives.”
For me there are 4 layers to deep connection:
  • Connection to all parts of ourselves – this includes our bodies, our emotions, our mind, our shadow, our inner child and of course our Spirit.
  • Connection to each other – actively seeking out ways to come together in community to share, laugh, love and heal. Being there for each other.
  • Connection to nature and animals – recognising the need to be regularly outside and present to the earth. Where possible connecting with animals too. (You can learn a lot from observing a cat ‘do’ life!)
  • Connection to the ‘otherness of life’ (in which ever way this feels meaningful for you) – daily rituals and regular practices that support us to connect with the deeper meaning of existence. Helping us to remember that which we never really forgot.

I believe that ultimately we need all 4 levels of connection in life in order to feel the true sense of safety and belonging we yearn for. These 4 layers form a solid foundation from which to build our lives. They guide us back to remembering our wholeness and indeed our very humanity.

Here’s some simple and yet powerful ways that you can deepen your own connections:

FACE TO FACE conversations – we need to keep talking to each other and ideally seeing faces. This is what boosts our oxytocin levels which helps to reduce our stress and fears. So if you can’t meet those you love in person, choose video calls over what’s app messages or phone calls.
SHARING meals and walks together where possible. Listening and talking with each other so you feel seen, heard and validated.
GIFTS – sending those you love surprise notes, letters, flowers and gifts to stay connected. This giving and receiving works two ways and supports you both to feel that you matter and belong.
ACTS OF SERVICE – finding ways to support other people within your community or the wider world. A great way too bring more meaning and purpose to your life.
COMMUNITY – join online groups and retreats, learn a new skill, focus on your personal development. Find your tribe. Working together towards a shared purpose makes all the difference.
PHYSICAL CONTACT – if you’re not able to get some hugs from within your own family/ support bubble, then pets make a good second! If you don’t have one, try to find a way to arrange a safe cuddle with a loving pet. A huge oxytocin boost awaits you!
LAUGHTER – no matter how dark it may feel at times, regular periods of humour and lightness are so important. Big belly laughs with others or watching a great comedy will do it.
MOVEMENT & EXPRESSION – sing, dance, shake, run, write poetry, play music. Whatever gets you up and moving and allows you to access and release your emotions.
NATURE – no surprises here but daily connections to nature are as essential as the food we eat and water we drink. If you live in a city, try to walk regularly in the park and buy some plants!
SPIRITUAL EXPLORATION – taking up a meditational or spiritual practice of some kind and committing to it. Allowing yourself to become curious and open to spirituality, which in itself, offers the ultimate form of connection.

“Spirituality is recognising and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”
Brené Brown
Article written by Donna Lancaster, Co-founder of The Bridge Retreat