Sunday, April 12, 2015


Sunday, April 12, 2015

I am continuing the "Values Alphabet Game" with today's piece.  I have decided to skip over compassion because I have already written about it quite extensively here in my blog.  For a good piece on the significance of compassion please read this piece written last August.  I believe compassion is one of the most important qualities we need to cultivate in the world today.  The deficit of compassion is, in my opinion, more significant than the financial deficits we have been hearing about for years now.

So what of connectedness?  What type of a value is this?  I think connectedness may be experienced in a more subtle way.  Many of us might not consciously strive to cultivate a sense or 'feeling' of connectedness.  Perhaps we may not give this value such a conscious focus because the word doesn't exactly inspire clear imagery regarding what connectedness is.  Is connectedness our ability to reach almost anyone anywhere on the planet at most any time through the use of our unprecedented technology?  Does such an ability necessarily create real connectedness?  What does such a thing feel like?  If our easily portable technologies have fostered the creation of such wonderful connectedness why do so many people feel so alienated and adrift?  If we are more connected than ever before why and how can it be that American society, according to a presentation of Brene Brown, is composed of a cohort of people who are very addicted, medicated and in-debt?  What is the true quality of our connectedness?  Are we perhaps just living out what Richard Rohr would call an artificial aliveness?

Connection and disconnection is a topic very relevant to the issue of trauma.  When trauma overwhelms us we may come to cope with its impact through dis-connection.  We may learn to dissociate, distance ourselves, disregard the feelings of others and distract ourselves.  We may start living in a world of Dis.
I know for myself that I once was very skilled at the art of dissociation.  Dissociation may be defined as "a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memory and sense of identity."  Dissociation is an art I would rather not routinely practice in the future.

If we discover we have been practicing the art of dissociation how can we remedy our pattern through the restoration of connection? What, tangibly, can we do?  We can engage the world with our five senses.  We can say aloud or within our own minds what we are observing.  What are we seeing, tasting, touching, smelling and hearing?  We can also pursue activities that necessarily require us to really be present in our bodies.  Physical exercise is but a single example.  I have found great joy and release in the art of boxing.  I have developed enhanced hand-eye coordination as a result of boxing a few times a week.  Other good forms of exercise that require us to be really present in our bodies may include hiking, water-skiing, swimming and any activities where we engage with an exercise partner. By really getting into our bodies in the present moment we can establish new patterns in the neurophysiology of our bodies that will promote healing and greater wellness.

I feel connected to my sadness and grief in a way I often have not previously felt.  And yet to feel connected to something does not necessarily imply that we feel swallowed by it.  It is indeed possible to walk a middle line in regards to how we relate to our feelings.  The challenge for many a person in recovery can often be learning how to honor what we feel without finding ourselves on the extreme ends of a behavioral spectrum.  On that spectrum one far end is dissociation and avoidance.  The other end of the spectrum is such immense fusion and identification with our feelings that we many begin to feel we are our feelings.  But we are not our feelings.  We humans have feelings.  And when we are healthy we can experience our feelings without being cast away by them like being taken out with the tide.

I completed an eight week morning health program recently.  I participated in this program as a way of giving myself a gift.  I wanted to accelerate my process of healing.  I suppose the biggest win of my experience was my increased ability to cultivate a new relationship with the pervasive sadness that often felt like a tidal wave looming in the background of my life.  I had many very good reasons for feeling sad.  And sometimes I found myself on those ends of the spectrum.  Sometimes I wanted to deny my sadness and simply ignore it.  Other times I would feel caught in it and adrift at sea in an ocean of grief. I am now beginning to find myself more and more able to walk the middle path.

As a way of closing out my writing today I ask you to ask yourself this question:

What within you is asking for your attention?

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!