Six Ways of Plugging-In to Life!
by: Frankie Pérez
There’s nothing quite like it – the euphoria, joy, and happiness of feeling connected! We feel connected when we fall in love, when we have a long heart-to-heart with a good friend, when we commune with God or nature, or when we spend time really listening inwardly to our heart’s wants and desires. As social animals, human beings are not meant to exist in a vacuum. We are relational beings who require connection in order to thrive, be fulfilled, and feel happy. The old concept that we ought to stand on our own and depend on no one is damaging and obsolete – interdependence is a higher state than independence. Recent studies have linked feelings of connectedness with longevity, improved immune function, lower blood pressure, healthy aging, emotional growth, and mental health. Babies need touch and connection in order to develop, grow, and thrive! Connection truly is the key to well-being and happiness!
Unfortunately, feelings of isolation and disconnectedness have reached epidemic proportions. Even in our largest cities with millions of inhabitants, many of us feel challenged to connect on a deep level to others, to our community, and even to ourselves. However, if we were to truly consider the interconnectedness of all living things on this planet, if we were to allow ourselves to let go of the fear of revealing who we are, to develop an ongoing relationship with ourselves, and to establish a relationship with our spirituality, it would become nearly impossible to ever feel lonely again!
Growth always begins with a decision, an internal choice to move in a determined direction. Make the decision right now to begin the process of connecting. Each of the following ways of connecting is important on its own accord. Undertake to connect; it is like plugging-in to a life-giving wire – the result will be a deep sense of belonging and of feeling connected to the richness of being alive!
CONNECTION TO SELF
Do I approve of myself? Am I connected to my emotions, wants, and needs? Do I enjoy my own company?
The most important primary relationship is your relationship with yourself. While in our society this statement may seem self-centered, consider that it is impossible to give from an empty well! Listening, loving, approving, and accepting ourselves is fundamental to any other quality connection we may have. Unless we connect with ourselves first we approach others with a sense of wanting to get from them what we feel we are missing. We seek to get as opposed to give. Seek to connect first and foremost with yourself. Re-acquaint yourself with who you are and what you want. Keep promises to yourself and dare to re-connect to your emotions. Learn to like being with your own company, to enjoy being alone with you yet never lonely because you are engaged in an active and loving relationship with someone truly special – yourself!
CONNECTION TO ANOTHER
Do I have one person I can trust and confide in? Do I feel accepted and seen? Have I dared to reveal who I really am?
It is fundamental that we have at least one person to confide in. This may be a best friend, a family member, or a spouse or lover. When we feel connected to at least one person that we know cares for and loves us we become emotionally and physically stronger men and women. We create this intimate connection to another by giving of ourselves, by listening, by caring, and ultimately by having the courage to reveal ourselves. Humans are wired to respond with love and caring to genuine emotion and vulnerability. Often, it is our fear of getting hurt that prevents us from allowing ourselves to connect fully with another. While there’s no guarantee that you will never get hurt for sharing your heart, the real gift lies in the act of extending it. If you have connected with yourself, then the risk won’t seem as great and the rewards will be well worth it.
CONNECTION TO OTHERS
Do I feel a sense of belonging? Do I have people in my life that are positive and happy? Do I feel appreciated and cared for?
We have opportunities of connecting with others everyday, of experiencing human moments. And while it is great to have many such connections, it is really the quality and not the quantity of the connections that really matters. Your connection to others becomes your sense of belonging, of family. It establishes invisible but tangible ties that foster love, compassion, caring, and fun. Our web of connections include our family, our friends, co-workers, and pets! Seek out connections with healthy, positive, and happy people. The more high-quality connections we have, the richer our experience of life. Take every opportunity available to connect heart-to-heart, to look beyond the surface to the beautiful soul that is before you – deep connections begin with a desire of the heart.
CONNECTION TO PASSION
What fuels me? What makes me happy? What gives me a sense of joy, satisfaction, or contribution?
Take the time to connect to work, hobbies, or activities that you feel passionate about. Life is too short to spend it doing things we don’t enjoy, no matter what the monetary reward. The “great quest” of tapping into your life’s passion will fuel you as oppose to drain you. It will give you energy, inspire you, mobilize your creativity, and instill a deep sense of happiness. It will bring about a sense of abundance – emotional, spiritual, and even material. Connecting to passion, like connecting to self, fuels us from within to a state of overflow from which all of our other relationships benefit.
CONNECTION TO LIFE
Do I appreciate and respect life? Do I see myself as belonging to the brotherhood of mankind? Do I take responsibility for how my thoughts and actions impact the world in which I live in?
John Doone wrote that “no man is an island”. Our interconnectedness is a mind-blowing reality. We share the same supply of air and water as every single living organism on this planet. We are connected to each other through every single breath we take. We are citizens of the world, citizens of the Universe, and the fabric of life unites each and every one of us into a tapestry of oneness. We belong here. Every out-breath is nourishment to the plant forms of the world. They say that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can set in motion a chain of events that can have profound effects felt on the opposite side of the planet. As citizens of the world we have a responsibility to care for each other, to care for nature, to care for the world in which we live in. To take the time to appreciate each sunset, each moonlit night sky, to notice the wind’s direction, and the movement of the clouds in the sky. Life is rich! There is so much beauty, so much love, so much to feel grateful for – if we only allow ourselves to connect to it.
CONNECTION TO SPIRIT
Do I have a relationship with Spirit? Do I have an on-going conversation with God? Do I listen inwardly to the “still small voice” inside that guides me?
Whether you call it Spirit, Higher Power, Energy, The Universe, God, Jesus, Atman, Buddha, Sixth Sense, or Instinct, an on-going relationship with something that we recognize as larger than us and that is for our good is essential for inner-peace, happiness, and well-being. So often we seek to fill that sense of void and disconnectedness with things from outside of us that we think are going to soothe our emptiness. We look to relationships, drugs, shopping, food, alcohol, sex, etc. to fill that void when it can only be filled from within. The only two things that will heal our sense of emptiness is our connection with ourselves and our spiritual connection. That is what loving from our overflow means. It means turning inward to fuel our hearts with love by giving to and honoring the self, and by turning to our spirituality as our main source. True spiritual connection is not a mental construct but an experience, a tangible and breathing relationship that connects you daily to the loving intelligence of the universe. So to experience the joy of connection “seek ye first the kingdom, …and all things shall be added unto you”. (Matthew 6:33)
I encourage you to put some energy each week into each of these ways of connecting. Little by little your cup will fill to overflow— you will feel connected and plugged-in to the richness of living.
May your heart be light, filled with love, and may you experience the joy of connection in your life.
Frankie Pérez, LMFT
Frankie Pérez, LMFT, is a relationship specialist, soul-centered psychotherapist, and Franklin Covey Certified Personal Life Coach. He is the founder of MindGym, LLC, a psycho-educational service offering counseling and/or coaching to individuals, couples, and groups.
Frankie also presents workshops on Couples Communication, Dating, Mindfulness Meditation & Soul-Centered Psychotherapy, Sports Related Communication Excellence, and Peak Performance using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy. He may be reached by phone at:(214) 289-7995 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .