Archives For connection
I write to you while traveling in New Zealand. Exploring another culture I’m always curious about the soul of the people. The Maori (indigenous New Zealanders) have a term “turangawaewae” to express what all humans desire but few languages have a word for, the sense that our life is purposeful, fulfilling and that we have a place to stand.
I learned about turangawaewae when reading the story of a local painter and outdoor enthusiast. She takees multi-month kayaking journeys along the shores of New Zealand and paints what she sees in these remote parts of the coastline. In combining these two passions she she’d found her turangawaewae, her place to stand. The concept is defined as, “places where we feel especially empowered and connected… our foundation, our place in the world, our home.”
Finding one’s turangawaewae is a challenge for the majority of people I know. Even those with a clear and early artistic expression, talent or passion often struggle with feeling at peace creating space for it in their lives. Society conditions us that our purpose should be actualized in a job, financial pressures take priority over life balance, and we generally don’t receive any guidance from family, school or society regarding discovery of places we feel empowered and connected. We desire turangawaewae but don’t have a word for it in the English language or guidance to discover it.
If turangawaewae came easy maybe we wouldn’t value it or as someone once said, if you see a path ahead of you and each step to take, know that it’s not your path. It’s someone elses path. Your path only gets revealed one moment at a time, one choice at a time, as you live it. Suddenly you realize you’ve arrived somewhere even if you didn’t see that your experiences were adding up to somthing. You know its your turangawaewae because you’re at peace for longer periods of time, feeling empowered and on solid ground.
As I look back at my own journey to turangawaewae it was never a clear path. I was always curious about the spiritual world, what is unseen in the universe. From as early as I can remember I felt a deep sense of fulfillment from writing. As a young girl some of my sweetest memories are of writing poetry and prose among the grass and daffodils in our front pasture. But I often struggled with how these aspects of myself fit into what I was creating with my life and purpose.
I was attracted to self-reflect and heal incongruencies in my heart and mind as a teenager. This led me on a path of working with many spiritual, physical and psychological healing modalities. Then in my late 20’s I made a choice to learn healthier boundaries around my psychic experience, not even knowing how to define it at the time. I started clairvoyant training to help myself translate what I was experiencing and feel more at peace when in the the presence of others who were suffering.
Throughout my life I unconsciously empathically felt the energy or emotions of people around me. I often didn’t know when I felt bad that what I was absorbing or responding to in someone around me. For example, if I worked with a person who was depressed or angry, it would drain my energy.
For seven years off-and-on I took classes and regularly applied the tools for myself, becoming more and more clear on what I felt and what I was sensing around me. Feeling less and less drained or “off” from the energy of those I encountered. Eventually I was inspired to take the full clairvoyant certification training, again not planning to do something with it beyond using the knowledge to inform my own life experience and vanquish lingering doubts I had regarding my intuition.
The program had both a training and practicum component. Learning the tools, then applying them with other students or those who came to the school for student readings. I also began to share what I learned with friends outside of the classroom. I found it exceptionally fulfilling at the end of each reading to have shared what I had to offer to another soul as they were looking within to find more peace in their life.
In parallel I had been writing in the format of a personal blog for years when I found I was writing about self-reflective concepts, my passion for the soul’s experience and intuition. Combining these two expressions has brought me a deeper sense of inner-peace and fulfillment. Now over nearly 15 years after starting down the path of clairvoyant training and many more years of writing, I feel I have I had found my turangawaewae, the place where I feel the most purpose, empowered and connected both with my own essense and with others.
Connection is essential to feeling loved. We chase away loneliness when we choose to reach out to connect with people in the simplest of ways, eye contact, a smile, touch or an honest share of our feelings. Connections make life meaningful; contribute to our sense of belonging and feeling seen.
In December I was reflecting on past holidays as I decided what I wanted to create for my own experience. On one side of my family, I looked forward to being together because there was connection. We connected through conversation, music, crafts, games and sharing a meal. On the other side of my family, holidays weren’t negative but gathering together was sort of mundane. Family members didn’t know how to connect. It didn’t seem anyone looked forward to spending time together. People went through the motions of preparing a meal and opening gifts because that’s all they knew. It felt lonely even within a group of people I loved.
Love and connection is a two-way street. It requires two participants to be willing, interested and open to revealing themself. It can be vulnerable and not always comfortable to connect. Reaching out to connect can be misinterpreted because people have different points of reference. We may be distrusted, seen as intrusive or manipulative based on the recipient’s experiences/projections or if our energy comes from a place of neediness. More powerful than our resistance to trust connecting with others is the essential need we all have to be seen and accepted for who we truly are, to be loved and validated for our essence without contingencies.
Connection in current culture requires some effort and intention. Our worlds aren’t designed to be inter-dependent, rather independent. We are taught to be self-reliant and not ask too much from others. We are taught distrust of strangers. A sense of community has to be sought out and is no longer organically part of our cultural experience.
There is so much constantly happening around us that we often either let the vibration of our environment direct our feelings or find ways to check-out to tolerate it. The habit of maintaining a certain degree of distance in operating in the world, to keep our energetic sanity, also deprives us of the vitality offered through connections. Connections can only be fulfilling and sustainable if they come with healthy energetic boundaries.
Connection can be as simple as looking someone in the eye and smiling as we pass them by. Acknowledging them, seeing them rather than leaving them in the periphery of our experience. No matter what I am doing, if I feel connected, whether it is to a person, an animal, nature or God, I experience life as very rich and fulfilling.
When I notice myself feeling lonely or wondering about life’s meaning, I ask myself, how can I connect in a way that brings me into greater alignment with myself? What can I offer in the connection so it is balanced and mutually beneficial? When I reach out to connect, my energy always shifts in a positive way. My spirit drops deeper into my body. I relax, feel more peaceful and purposeful.
My desire for a spot close to the front of the airplane had me sit in a middle seat between two women on a fight home to Denver last week. Expecting the usual, ignore the stranger next to you, behavior of business travel, I was surprised to immediately be in conversation with the woman sitting to my right. I can’t even remember how the conversation started but it didn’t pause until we landed two hours later. By then I had heard 72 years of stories, Naomi’s life in a nutshell, and more importantly witnessed her joyful perspective on life.
Her vibrant energy created a shift in me, revitalizing my sense of appreciation and possibility. Inviting me to match the level of joy she lives in. If I blur the lens of the words that passed between us, the pure vitality Naomi offered through her positive perspective was transformational.
Each of us radiates energy that is a combination of our natural essence, our beliefs and energies we’ve held onto that we’ve accumulated along the way. Often we don’t notice our own energy, what we are presenting as a vibration to the world. When our energy is clear of fearful beliefs more
of our natural essence shines and we attract energy that matches what we want in our lives. In order to experience the spark of inspiration that generates transformation we have to be available to human connection.
The most powerful insights can come from the perspectives of strangers. They have a fresh perspective, one we haven’t been exposed to before. They don’t know our history and we are inclined to listen more closely to someone we just met. Our awareness is heightened.
The type of connection I experienced with Naomi was wonderfully unexpected. We can prepare ourselves to recognize these opportunities and be open to the transformational energy that is available through connection. We prepare by taking time to align our vibration with our essence. Start in a meditative space:
- Send a psychic “hello” to your essence, your soul, your authentic Self. Allow your inner voice to ask if there are beliefs that are pulling you out of alignment with your essence?
- Visualize those fears, disturbances and non-aligned energies moving out of your space into a bubble. Watch the bubble float to a distant mountain top and pop, transforming the energy into a new form. This makes more room for your own essence to expand. You may want to repeat this with several different focus areas in your life. Where you are showing up with a certain identity, such as work, romantic relationship, friendship, health or creative practice.
- Imagine a big golden ball of light hovering above your head. In the center of that ball is a magnet calling your energy back to you from any places you have left it that you are ready to retrieve it from. Once the golden ball of light is full of your essence, in your minds-eye reach up and pop it. See the energy of your essence flow down into you, filling in all the space that was opened when you moved out the non-aligned vibrations.
We naturally attract matching vibrations into our lives. Sometimes we have the fortune of attracting a connection that wakes us up and elevates us to a new level of self-awareness. I believe this happens when the person we encounter can see past our current state and notices our soul’s essence. The practice of consciously setting our energy invites connections that are transformational.
Last weekend I reunited with a dear friend of nearly twenty years and was reminded of the power of commitment as we walked the land at Shambhala Mountain Center and meditated at The Great Stupa. Kimberly and I met working at a clothing store in Boulder, Colorado while we were college students. We had a casual social friendship but were living very different lives. She was single and free. I was married with a house in the suburbs. In those early years our friendship ebbed and flowed. We would lose track of each other then find each other again.
Once she sold everything and moved to Durango to live in a tent, I thought I’d never see her again, and then suddenly I ran across her on the street feeding burritos to the homeless. That was the year I graduated and she took a road trip to the west coast finding me in my hometown a week after I’d returned from my own post-graduation trip to Africa. The out-of-state meeting rekindled our friendship.
As we became closer we hit several bumps in the road. My fiery Leo energy was challenging for her watery Scorpio energy. Periodically I’d boil her out of the water without even realizing I’d done so. She’d need some space and I’d say “Huh?” It was the dance of cultivating a friendship that ran deeper than most, pushing us each past our edge to a new level of trust, accountability and transparency. More than once we formally quit being friends for awhile.
Each time we’d come back together somehow and remember what we valued in each other. She was the friend who was with me the moment I realized my marriage was over. She was the friend who understood more than anyone the spiritual path that I was compelled to walk. She walked it too.
Nearly a decade had past when we decided to consciously commit to our friendship. No more of the predictable break-up, make-up. We agreed to take responsibility for whatever was going on for us individually, communicate and hold space for the friendship as we worked through whatever was up for us. At that time we also acknowledged our soul agreement: our purpose for finding each other in this life was to remind each other of our spiritual paths.
Life is a series of remembering and forgetting and remembering again.
The tables have turned, now she’s married with a son and a house in the country while I’m single and free. Commitment and consciousness made our relationship more stable. We’ve had cycles of conflict since then, drifting apart and then finding each other again. But now days when one of us takes a path that the other doesn’t understand, we hold space for each other and wait for the rekindling of our connection. We remind each other of our true Self when life has taken us on a detour. It always happens, because we are committed.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves, too.” Goethe