Social isolation is one of the modern health pandemics. All ages and kinds of people have fear around connection and intimacy. Perhaps you wonder how to develop more meaningful relationships to those in your life. How do we turn towards love and belonging? How can we cultivate the freshness of feeling our feelings of fear without becoming them?
How can we find the intimacy that is always available moment to moment? Meditation practice and attitude can support us to live our values, root them in our bodies and widen out.
Sensei Koshin Paley, MFA, LFSW (via InsightLA)
Year one of motherhood brought a lot of failures, but as I reflected on it this past February I realized it brought both more and increasingly meaningful relationships into my life. This is a gift Hollis gave me. She helped me move from the isolation of disease and infertility into the welcoming folds of community. The thing is: that community was here all along. I was just too busy protecting myself to be a part of it. (And, others played a role, too. We need to do a much better job at connecting with adults who do not or do not yet have children, but that’s a story for a different day.)
Today, take a moment and ask yourself what factors are limiting your connection with others. Here are some common ones:
- A too-full schedule! We often overbook ourselves to the point that we simply don’t leave time for friendship. Friendship takes time. Leave space in your days so you can say “yes” to being with those you care about.
- A fear of reaching out. People always suggest I meet other mothers at the park or at class. That’s scary! But, one thing I’ve learned is no one smiles and chats to you without wanting to connect. Sure, there are people who keep to themselves, and you know they aren’t looking for new friends. But, if someone takes the time to ask you even 3 questions about yourself, they want you to do the same. We are all so remarkably alike in this area.
- Discomfort with intimacy. Intimacy is a very specific term, and it involves honest exchange of feelings without fear for how they will be received. It is incredibly uncomfortable, even for the most practiced person. Meditation and yoga teach us to accept discomfort as part of our experience. The more we boldly embrace the discomfort of intimacy, the more we find genuine connection with ourselves and with one another.