A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk about connection. More specifically, it was titled, the Year of Continued Connection. The talk was delivered at our Community Education Instructor Forum. An event we’ve been planning and delivering for, well, almost three years now.
After the talk, I continued to reflect upon the conversation with the instructors, and the concepts they brought up, and just how important connection is in our lives. In many ways, it is the bedrock of many concepts we cherish, such as relationships, engagement, an open heart, kindness, care, and yes, compassion.
When we are deeply connected to our own humanity, we get a larger picture of our shared humanity, which increases the humility and compassion we have for ourselves, and everyone else.
In this post, I would like to elaborate on a few of the concepts outlined above as I understand them in their relation to connection. Ready? Good. Here we go.
Relationships – as I’ve written about many times, all of our relationships start with the relationship we have with ourselves. The connection we have with ourselves is the same connection we will have with the people in our lives. It just works that way. There was a time when I wondered why it was that my relationships weren’t as strong as I would have liked them to be; bottom line? The relationship I had with myself was not strong. Simple.
Engagement – when we are in relationship with ourselves, and then the people we surround ourselves with, it means that we are engaged. Engagement in this context means we have easy and difficult conversations. Both. When we hold ourselves accountable, we will do the same for everyone else, which makes navigating our relationships harder. Though harder, when we hold ourselves accountable, we get back relationships that have a deeper connection. Why? Because we are real, we are speaking our truth. That’s it.
Open Heartedness – when we are in engaged relationships there will be difficult times. For us, and for the people we love. However, when we are engaged, we won’t run, we will stand by their side, and stand for those we love, just as we stand for ourselves. And, when we are standing, we are being open to all that life gives us. We don’t pick and choose the times we are engaged and willing to stand for ourselves and the people we love. We do it all the time. Without thinking. It just happens. We create more openness within ourselves because we are living through experiences that we may have run from before; and, when we stand through all of the stormy times, our connection to ourselves and the people we love deepens even further.
Kindness – with our hearts more open in these engaged relationships, we develop more kindness for ourselves and everyone else. It happens as a result of continuing to navigate all of life’s triumphs and challenges. In essence, we become a kinder human being, because we’ve been through more challenges. We’ve become more vulnerable; and, when we become more vulnerable, yes, we get stronger, and we get kinder. All of which also creates a more intense connection with ourselves and the people we love.
Care – when we are kind, engaged, and open-hearted in our relationships, we develop more care. We have a better understanding of the human condition, and what it takes to stand for ourselves and the people we love. Every day. And, as we do this work, a deeper awareness develops within ourselves, which includes a deeper connection of care to everyone and everything.
The 3 S’s of Connection
I also like to think about connection in regard to three other concepts. Here they are.
Safety – when we stand for ourselves and other human beings, we stay engaged, regardless of the situation. A result of increased engagement is safety. When we know we won’t run at the first sight of trouble, people feel safe. And, when people feel safe with you, they will be much more connected.
Security – as a sense of safety develops in your relationships, a sense of security also develops. It has to. When we feel safe, we also feel secure. Secure in the knowledge that our relationships are a place where we don’t have to worry or create anxiety over people leaving us, or being upset with us. Now, that doesn’t mean there will never be disagreements, or even arguments; what it does mean is that people will respect each other, and speak their truth, without fear of reprisal. That’s security.
Stability – and, when we feel safe and secure, we also feel stable. The relationship we have with ourselves is more stable, which means all of our relationships are more stable.
When we have safety, security, and stability in our relationships, we have a deeper connection to those we love. It also means that we know when a relationship is not going to work. Whereas this is difficult, we stay true to our truth. The knowing we have of the kind of relationship we are creating, and want to have. Therefore, we are much more clear on the people we allow into our lives. In fact, we have much more clarity about humanity in general. Beautiful.
Connection and Compassion
With more clarity about our own humanity, we are much more clear on all humanity. I’ve written this sentence differently many times. Yet, it is such an important part of deepening our connection with ourselves and the people we love.
When we have authentic relationships, we are working hard on them all the time. And, as we do the hard work, we go through many challenges. These challenging times show us more about our own humanity, and then our collective humanity.
For instance, we can read every book ever written on being vulnerable, yet the only way to really know about vulnerability is to practice being vulnerable. It is the only way. Without the practical experience of being vulnerable, vulnerability is just information in our heads; we leave our hearts behind.
Yet, when we are open to all of the experiences life gives us, we get to learn so much more. And, it is inside of these learnings where we further deepen our connection with ourselves and everyone else.
As we deepen our connections, we also develop more compassion. We develop more compassion, because as we go through more challenges, we develop a new understanding of how hard life can be; and with this new experiential knowledge, the compassion we have for ourselves and everyone else deepens.
When we are more compassionate, we are also more patient, and have more love for people when they are struggling, because we can see ourselves in them. And, for me, one of the most magical experiences of my practice of self-inquiry over the past four years has been seeing myself in other people. It is a beautiful experience.
Remember, every connection we have in life starts with the one we have with ourselves. When we have a deep connection with ourselves, we will have a deeper connection with the people we love, and we will also become a more compassionate human being. And, guess what?
Well, let’s start with this past week’s reflections, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Alright, so this past week, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon inspiration. What is inspiration, where does it come from, how can we get more of it, and what do we do if we run out of it. Very important questions. And?
Well, this week I’ve also been reflecting upon the creation of a new series. A series that can encompass a multitude of topics, and, yep, this is it, and inspiration will be the first topic.
Some of these developmental discussions will be longer, and some will be shorter. It will depend.
Alright, for this entry, let’s tackle the first question on inspiration. Ready? Good. Let’s go.
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
I really do love this topic, as it seems so simple, right? Inspiration, well, it’s all around us. Some people say they find nature inspirational, or other people in their lives, such as their friends and family, or coworkers. And, that is beautiful. Truely. Yet, there is something missing here. Do you know what it is? Hm.
It is the viewpoint. Meaning?
That inspiration does not live outside of you. Nope. It lives inside of you. We look outward and place inspiration onto other things and people, yet that inspiration comes from within. Always has come from within, and always will come from within.
Why does this matter to your development? Good question. Here is one, of many, reasons why.
When we know inspiration comes from within, we stop looking outside of ourselves for our own inspiration. Being aware of the source of our inspiration is important to our development, because when we fully realize that our inspiration comes from within, we are not bound to the changing tides of people and things. Simple. And?
Well, we know that change is inevitable. It is part of life. Yep. And, when we get clear on the fact that inspiration does not live in the changing world, that, in fact, it can be developed, and maintained, regardless of external circumstances, we become more powerful. Really.
Does that mean that we don’t ever feel down, or stressed, or sad? No, it does not. We are meant to feel all of our emotions; to feel them, know them, and learn how to talk about them.
And, yet, we can still find our inspiration even during the most stressful times. Why? Because even though we may consider a situation stressful, we know that our inspiration is always there. Waiting for us.
Alright, so what can we do to connect, or reconnect, to our own inspiration? I think there is one thing we can all do that will assist in making our connection, or reconnection, to our inspiration stronger. What’s that?
Make time for yourself. A must.
When we create time for ourselves, to be with ourselves, just for ourselves, we get to know ourselves better. And, the more we know ourselves, the more clear on our own inspiration we become. Really.
Next time, then, when things are really hectic, and you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Stop doing what you are doing, and go for a walk, sit down under a tree and look around, or look up at the beautiful stars in the sky. Stop and just be.
For it is in this space, where your inspiration will find you.
7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life
How often do you run from here to there, and back, checking the clock on the wall, in the kitchen, on your wrist, or on your phone? Yep, normal, we all do it, or, rather, have done it.
Time is such an important part of our life. We construct our whole lives, in fact, around it. Yep. Time. When we get up, when we eat, when we work, how we work, when we sleep. All of it.
Yet, time also provides people with tons of stress and anxiety. Really. How often have you said, or heard, or both, there’s just not enough time in the day? Yep. We’ve all said it, say it, and have heard many, or, rather, most people say it.
Phew. It’s tiring. Really.
I remember a time in my life where I was more concerned about what time it was, then about what I was doing with my time. Maybe you can relate?
Either way, time is not what we think it is.
Time is actually socially constructed. Meaning, it doesn’t even really exist, except for that we create it, agree upon it, and as has been aforementioned, organize our lives around it.
A social construction, you ask? Sure. Here you go.
Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/
A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.
A social construction is something that is constructed and agreed upon by a group of people, of which time, as in the continued progress of existence and events as in the past, present, and future, is one. Phew.
You may now ask, well, there is a past, present, and future, therefore time exists. Yet, I would invite you to really think about that. Does the past really exist, or the future for that matter?
Think about what you are doing right now. Does the past exist in the present moment? Does the future? Nope. They don’t.
The only thing that ever really exists is the present moment. Right now; and, then right now, and now. That’s it.
Therefore time is in many ways irrelevant, an illusion actually. Yet, we continue to create our whole lives around it. Pretty powerful.
You may now be saying. Okay. Fine. Yet, why is understanding time as a social construction important? Very well.
Let’s take a look at
7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life
1. Increased Flexibility
When we hold time as a social construct, we are more flexible because we understand that there is an infinite amount of time to do all that we’d like to do. Really.
We become more flexible as we continue to consider time as something that we can choose to release ourselves from. We know at a different level that, yes, we need to move our work and lives forward, however, we also know that there is plenty of time to do so.
2. Less Stress
As we become more flexible, holding the awareness that time is socially constructed, which takes practice, we then realize that we can release the stress that we create about time-bound situations and events. Yep.
We can release that stress, and replace it with a renewed interest in being present. Present to everything in our lives, in each and every moment. Precious.
3. Reduced Anxiety
Holding time within ourselves differently, which creates less stress, also reduces our overall anxiety levels. There are so many people on this planet that have high levels of anxiety.
Yes, about lots of things, yet, considering time as one of the most important aspects of our lives causes a ton of that stress and, yep, related anxiety.
Yet, releasing that time-bound stress, releases the anxiety. Very helpful.
4. Greater Understanding
We also learn more about ourselves, and then have a greater understanding of, yes, ourselves, and about all people. We can connect with people on another level entirely. Why?
Because, we have connected to ourselves on an entirely different level. It works that way. We become more aware of our time-bound habits, and then can see them more clearly in ourselves and in others. Helpful.
5. More Grace
As we are more aware of our own behaviors related to time, and practice releasing the stress and anxiety that develops as a product of time-bound thinking, we can give ourselves more grace. And?
We can also extend that grace to others. If there is one thing on this planet we can all us more of, it’s grace. Given to ourselves and to each other. Important.
6. Deeper Compassion
Along with granting ourselves more grace, we also develop a deeper level of compassion for the human condition. Most all of us are socialized to place importance on time.
With that knowledge, we can release ourselves from any blame or shame for the stress we’ve caused ourselves and others at the expense of time-bound thinking and acting.
And, as we deepen the compassion we have for ourselves, we also deepen the compassion we can extend toward others. Lovely.
7. More Peace
With our practice of holding time differently in our awareness, we also have more peace. More peace about all aspects of our lives that we once associated with time-bound situations and events, and the associated outcomes, or results.
And, when we have more peace, we can also extend that peace out to everyone. Phew. That is important.
Alright, there are 7 Reasons Why Considering Time as a Social Construction is Important to Your Life. Fun.
Remember, time is only important, when we create that importance. I’m not saying that we don’t take our commitments and agreements that are time-bound seriously.
Those time-bound commitments and agreements are very important. My days are full of them; and, I mean full. All day, every day.
Yet, we don’t have to associate time-bound commitments and agreements with a stressful conception of time. It’s a paradox, like most things in life.
You can both hold time as a socially constructed illusion and as an important aspect of your life in regard to meeting our commitments and agreements.
It is really in between the two, considering ourselves as bound in time and not, where you have the power to live, laugh, and love with less stress and anxiety, and way more flexibility, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace.