I’ve been contemplating and musing on connection and its myriad forms these last few weeks, as I’d offered to write the next blog for the Body Harmony Association. What is it? How do I create, maintain, sustain the sense of it, and why do I lose it? The dictionary defines connection as a) something that joins things together, and b) a relationship between people and things. There is the connection I have with my body, the one I have with my self, with the Divine or something greater than myself, with other people, both those with whom I have an deep and intimate relationship and those who are passing acquaintances, with nature and the Earth and with my environment.
There are the many, many connections within our bodies – ligands, the connections between neurons; ligaments, connecting muscle to bone; tendons connecting bone to bone, and of course fascia – connective tissue, which runs throughout our whole body connecting every part to every other part. As human animals, our very first physical connection occurs when our father’s sperm penetrates and connects with the egg in our mother’s womb, where we remain intimately and physically connected with her until birth. Then comes our initial experience of the external world as separate beings and from there the story of our life unfolds with varying degrees, levels and periods of connection or disconnection, depending on our circumstances and how we react or respond to them – which is the subject of a whole other blog!
Brene Brown, a researcher into human connection, defines connection as “the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship” (her Ted talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o is highly worth listening to). She says “ A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to.”
There are many studies that have been done, linking a sense of connection and belonging to better health, to happiness and to a longer life expectancy. Also studies that show how when the basic need for love and sharing is not there, the consequences are disconnection leading to depression, mental imbalance, physical ill-health and addiction. In the words of Dean Ornish, an American physician and researcher, “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water and food.”
In my own life there have been periods where I’ve felt this deep sense of connection and belonging, and others when I’ve felt very alone, disconnected and separate. My ability to connect is intimately related to how I feel about myself, to my sense of self-worth or lack of it, and to how I relate to the feelings and sensations that arise in my body and my mind.
I have been contemplating those times in my life when I’ve felt both states, and what my attitude to myself, to life and the specific circumstances that engender a sense of connection or lack of it are. The common themes that have allowed this sense of connection have been, in no particular order of priority: when I’ve been involved in community or creative projects in a way that takes me out of myself; the miracle of the pregnancy, birth and new human life and the love I felt/feel for my children and grandchildren; being in the presence of spiritual teachers who embody their teachings and connection to the Divine and remind me of my essential nature; when I’ve felt deeply connected with nature, an awe-inspiring sunset, the peace of walking through a wood with sunlight filtering through the trees, the gorgeousness of the flowers in a garden; the deep love, appreciation and acceptance I feel for and from my friends; the joy I feel after a good conversation over Skype with dear friends on the other side of the world; the way a Body Harmony session unifies and connects me to more of myself and to new possibilities; meditation and breathing exercises; humour and laughter “Everybody laughs in the same language because laughter is a universal connection.” Yakov Smirnoff (Comedian, actor and writer). There are so many ways to experience connection!
Receiving and giving Body Harmony with my friends and colleagues in this community and participating in the classes and Association events have been a massive support for growth, both in deepening my understanding of who and how I am and in the lack of judgement, compassion and love that I’ve been offered when I’ve been out of whack. It’s my go-to place when I feel separate and out of sorts and equally what I turn to when wanting to create and manifest something new. I’ve come to feel safe to be vulnerable, to be real and to be seen. It has helped me recognise my worth and value and encouraged me to tune into and access that innate wisdom that lives in my body/mind and bring me into a deeper and more enjoyable connection with myself, with my body, with other people and with my life. And for this I’m truly grateful – what a blessing.