During the process of coming up with my word for 2020, I toyed with the idea of having two. An inner word, like alignment as in making decisions and choices that are in alignment with purpose… And an outer word, like visibility as in meeting more people and putting myself in experiences that will help elevate my relationships and work.
A dear friend and I were discussing what our words might be; she said something to the effect that she wants to not isolate, to be out more with people. She suggested Connect or Connection as her word. I said, "Great word. Maybe it's my word too." I laughed, because, of course, it is. Connect is all things inner and outer!
We connect. It’s what we do. Until we don’t.
Several months ago I hit a wall of overwhelm. I didn’t know what was wrong. I felt cloudy and unfocused. And, not a little bit sad and I didn’t know why. I was on the phone with my sister when I started to cry. She felt so far away (she’s in Austin I’m in LA) and that’s when it bubbled up, what was wrong. I felt disconnected, from everything, my family, my writing, my relationships, my work. So, I did what I do when I’m stressed and in an unsettled mind. I got quiet. Interestingly, my word last year was Mindfulness. So, I got mindful. I meditated, prayed, journaled and counseled.
The answer that came was: You need to disconnect to connect.
So, I did. I did a 30-day digital detox where I disconnected from all things media - online and off - unless it had to with work, my writing or something that would lift my soul. I wrote about it at the time, but the upshot is I reconnected to myself and connected to what I value. It was a powerful shift. It got me thinking about how our connection, or disconnection, drives our lives.
Connection is a personal power
As human beings we are receptors in constant connection. Our bodies tell us when something’s wrong or when we feel good.
Our eyes and ears connect us to our world. The attention economy is all about grabbing our eyes and ears, our attention. And, then engaging that attention until we fully connect. That’s the end goal. To win and own our connection by holding our minds and hearts. It’s one thing to capture your attention, but to make a connection that leads you to click, to watch or read, to share a post, to make a decision, to purchase, to change a belief, to vote… that’s everything today.
Cal Newport is his book "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World" says: “Outsourcing your autonomy to an attention economy conglomerate—as you do when you mindlessly sign up for whatever new hot service emerges from the Silicon Valley venture capitalist class—is the opposite of freedom, and will likely degrade your individuality.”
It’s your power to choose if, when and how you connect. That’s pretty massive personal power. And one that it’s easy to forget.
It’s your choice if, when, where or how you connect your attention. Your connection is more valuable than a Wall Street commodity.
Be finicky with your connection
As human beings we are fully equipped with input and output channels. But, our bandwidth is only so wide. Be selective about what you allow to connect to that personal real estate. Be selfish with it, and discernible.
On the other hand, you can choose to be generous with your connection when it serves the greater good, a higher purpose, whether it’s your own or another’s, a worthy cause and relationships worth fostering.
To Connect is a primitive human need. I mean if the human race was designed to evolve and expand, we kinda have to connect with one another. I’m just sayin'.
Here are some ways to deeply Connect in 2020:
Connect to the body symphony. It’s the tissues in-between, the veins and joints and body scaffolding that keep us strong and healthy. Make a loving connection to your body with the right foods, moving the body and getting a solid 8-hours of sleep per night.
Connect to mind/heart/spirit. Meditate to get quiet, to receive your highest wisdom. Pray to receive God’s guidance. Learn from the ancient Stoics and philosophers by reading them. Practice self-love.
"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." Marcus Aurelius
Connect to the present moment. The easiest way to do that is to connect to your breathing. Often.
Connect to community. I’m focusing on my Kindness Community: those people who are part of my Mobius where we lift each other up, promote each other’s goodwill, always, and never gossip about one another. This is a requirement for an inner circle’s true connection. I saw a quote recently that said, “I will only sit at a table where I won’t be the topic of ill-will conversation after I leave it.” Amen. That really spoke to me. Part of loving, consistent, kind, safe, boosting connection is fostering that promise.
“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohr
Connect more live and in-person. With people, rather than online. Which, for me means getting my butt out of the house more. Walk. Take in more life experiences. Explore great places around town. Make more dates. Gather friends for write-ins and discussion. Create a list of people you want to connect more with this year.
"Great communication begins with connection." Oprah Winfrey
Connect to purposeful work. For me that’s creativity. And, connect in a deeper way. A new way, every day, in a rich, advancing-the-story manner. Look for fresh avenues to progress your work in pure, authentic connection. Meeting people from that place, the projects and partnerships that are in alignment will flourish. The rest will fall away.
Connect deeply with current projects and the people involved, nourishing those rich collaborations.
Connect with other creators who are living their creativity. What can we give to and receive from one another? Read great writing and storytelling by reading several books each month. This one would for you be whatever is your purposeful work. Connect with others who are living it.
Connect with nature more. Animals. Trees. Explore unexplored territories. Be in service to the earth.
Connect with family in meaningful, memorable ways. Be of service.
Connect with money and finances on a regular basis. Examine and reexamine goals to create and protect your future. It’s never too late to get serious about it. Connecting regularly keeps it on track.
Connect daily with your goals. Get clear about them and commit. By connecting with them daily they become a part of your vernacular.
Connect to your attention. It's a fast life, but what I found when I disconnected to connect, the more I was in touch with where I placed my attention, the slower life became, the moments in-between held more air and space to breathe. To create.
Connect the dots. When you start to realize that we really are all connected with all that is, things make sense.
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow man." Herman Melville
Want more meaning in your life? Connect to what you value.
Want to be healthier? Connect to your body, mind and spirit.
Success? Connect to your goals and your collaborative relationships
Peace of mind? Connect to your spirit.
Want love? Connect to yourself first. Connect to others from a place of self-love. It levels the field and you'll receive the most committed relationships when you're solid on your own worth. It becomes a powerful connection.
"Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued - when they can give and receive without judgment." Brené Brown
Connect. Connect. Connect.