Connections... not for everyone

I’m not for everyone. I don’t even like my own company sometimes! I can be annoying. I take up space. I’m tall, outspoken (though working on restraint,) and privileged. I’m terribly transparent and like to investigate what’s beneath the surface. 

I prefer silence to small talk. I ask SO MANY questions… so many that when I was very small, barely able to read, my parents bought me The Big Book of Questions in hopes that I would leave them alone for a minute. This is how I’ve always been. 

You may also have a sense of “how it’s always been.” Consciousness has a wonderful consistency even while bodies, minds, and surroundings completely transform.

Along the way, differences become clear. Others emerge. Everyone goes through this process of differentiation. It’s an inevitable part of the human experience. We start to see ourselves as separate and even as part of us longs to be seen as such, another desperately tries to stays connected.

We choose this team, not that one, that food, to come or go, to stay still. The choices position us closer to some, and farther away from others.

I was “on the road” last month. I was graciously welcomed into many shared spaces. Some felt spacious and I could move around with east. Others felt full, cramped even and I felt constricted. Efforts to “fit in” sometimes seemed counterproductive. “Me too” for belonging, for connection and affirmation. I restrained my voice to take up less space. I feel smaller. I bet everyone has had some similar experience. We feel bigger in some spaces, and smaller in others. Where we are matters.

Energy flows with our attention. Whatever we give it to gets stronger. Scroll, shop, ruminate, laugh, love, affirm, deny… we reinforce what’s most important. Sometimes (often) subconscious takes over and it’s not immediately apparent how our actions are rooted in our intentions. Careful attention can help us see what is beneath the surface.

Everyone is connected

I’m not for everyone, no one is, at least not all the time. Neither is every book, piece of music, activity, or climate. Does this make us any less valid? I don’t think so.

We have infinite potential for connection. There are thousands upon thousands of possible connection from each and every cell in the human brain. There are billions and billions of these brain cells looking for connection in each of our brains. We are wired, we are made to connect.

If you’re reading these words I trust there’s something in my voice that resonates for you. And, just like that, we’re connected. We are not alone. 

My voice, presence, perspective, and privilege sometimes raise defenses… though I come in peace. Perhaps you’ve noticed this dynamic in your relationships too. Connections aren’t always pleasant.

Roles, responsibilities, expectations, and ego all lurk around the perimeter of our psyche. Everyone is trying to figure out where they fit. Senses act like sentries and call attention to any presence perceived as “outside” of ourselves. (I put outside in quotations here because the truth is that we are not closed systems.) There is a continuous flow of energy and information that keeps us connected. 

Consciousness: above and below the surface

Consciousness is a key that unlocks creativity and compassion as we go. 

Consciousness is complex and always at work. Everyone has the capacity to expand. Often (usually,) it is the subconscious that is perceiving, processing, and protecting. It is so good at what it does! Aversion to people, places, and activities might be relatively dull and perceived as a lack of interest or, it may be sharp as an arctic blast and result in a surge of energy through our organs, or even a scream or shout that emerges from our mouths (ask any parent!) 

We run into trouble when higher and subconsciousness run at odds. We’ve all probably had the experience of intending to be kind, patient, and tolerant in the presence of some difficult person and then seeing our subconscious take over and hearing our voice betray our intention with its tone, volume, and/or collection of chosen words. I know I have. 

Sometimes (usually,) it is not in the moment but in the aftermath of an encounter that we can see more clearly. 

Exercise for everyone

I like to coax my brain from the brink of reactivity (where it’s all or nothing, yes or no, love or hate, etc…) and back into the realm of relatability with a simple exercise around possibilities. All it requires initially is a third option. For example: It’s all about you. It’s all about me. It’s partly you and partly me. Here’s another: I like you. I don’t like you. I like some things about you and don’t like other things about you. 

There a couple of options for “next steps” when you find that you’ve got this part. You can keep going with options… instead of just 3 options, try to come up with 5. The examples that I gave were very simple (though I’m assuming quite relatable,) yours might be a little more situational and solution-focused, especially if you are using this exercise to process a specific experience. 

When you’re ready to look a little deeper, try a pronoun-swapping exercise. I find this one to be especially illuminating! Let’s consider our example: I like you. I don’t like you. I like some things about you and don’t like other things about you. Here’s another version: I like myself. I don’t like myself. I like some things about myself and don’t like other things about myself. And one more: You like yourself. You don’t like yourself. You like some things about yourself and don’t like other things about yourself.

I find when I do the pronoun-swapping exercise, there is often an “Ah, ha!” moment that opens up some space for energy to flow.

Freedom and flow follow. We can use them to lead… we can bring ourselves back to what matters most.

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