The Need for Connection

It is easy to feel small, to think we are just one person, to believe we lack the power to produce positive change. It can be disheartening, what is happening in our world. But in truth, we have more power than we give ourselves credit for. One change – just one – can make a difference in the life of someone else. One simple act of kindness can make a difference and it doesn’t have to be costly or elaborate.

A perfect example is the store clerk many people walk past every day without acknowledging their existence, without noticing them or saying a word. I am amazed when I see a customer at a checkout who remains silent. Notice them! A simple “hello” or “how are you?” is enough. When I’ve done this, the clerk usually responds with a smile that actually meets their eyes. Some of them even look surprised to be addressed at all. Then they connect – they smile in return and then I feel good. My giving of a few seconds of my day gives back! The greatest part of this action is that it ripples out. One positive change will feed another. You can’t stop it from happening.

Granted, you will occasionally meet someone who isn’t quite ready to receive your light, but that’s okay. Smile anyway and wish them well. Who know? They may be in the middle of a bad day. Regardless, don’t let negativity from others stop you from reaching out again. Open your heart and remain open – that’s the key. Yes, the world has hurt us at times. It happens. Some have been hurt worse than others, but all of us must remain open to ultimately find healing.

A little story…

When I was about twelve years old, my family and I went to the beach. I loved playing in the ocean and had absolutely no fear of it. I would search for shells and sand dollars and try to catch the waves that flowed by. One day, I walked into the ocean and caught my big toe on the edge of a sand dollar, tearing a small gash. When I was a kid, you only went to the doctor if something was broken or bleeding profusely, so I carefully bandaged it every day and eventually it healed, leaving a small scar.

A later time at the beach, I carefully waded into the ocean, stepping gingerly to avoid attacking sand dollars. As with most beaches, there were jellyfish too. Many of us know someone who has stepped on one and gotten burned (or at least watched the Friends episode with the jellyfish). Naturally I was a bit more cautious after my run-in with the sand dollar…not quite so fearless anymore. Anyway, I wade out to water that’s about thigh-high and pause for a moment to look around. Kids are playing, people are laughing, the sun is shining – all in all, a perfect day at the beach. A second later, I felt something brush against my leg. I looked down and saw the biggest jellyfish I had ever laid eyes on. Well, I didn’t simply back up and move away. Oh, no. I turned and ran – well, as fast as one can run in thigh-high water. Once I reached shore, I ran to the safety of my towel, a screaming mimi all the way. You would have thought I had seen a shark.

Needless to say, I didn’t get back into the water during that trip. On any trip after that, I limited myself to wading ankle-deep. I stuck to the safety of sand castle building and shell seeking – and robbed myself of joy. I kept the ocean at arm’s length, making sure I had an easy escape. I was given the opportunity to jump in and experience something beautiful, yet ran away because of fear. How often has that happened for you? Have you bypassed opportunities and avoided connection due to fear, irrational or otherwise. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out anymore due to fear. I want to remain open to people, experiences and opportunities that could ultimately enrich my life and offer me the chance to enrich others. In any matter that involves the heart, there is risk. I choose to take the risk. I want to connect.

When my journey here is complete, I want to have lived my life fully. What happened in the past is irrelevant. I lived years blind to the power of fear or how it affected my life. Now I know, and I refuse to give in again. My burning desire is to push against my comfort zone and stretch the boundaries. I have always known I was put on this planet to serve. When I’ve spent days holed up, struggling against a deadline, doing soulless work with no face-to-face interaction, I began to shrink. I withered a little each time. This is what led me to pursue becoming a life coach and grow more as a writer. My ultimate goal is to connect with others – primarily to help them find their power and purpose.

Sometimes we need to be among those who are like-minded, those who get us. But sometimes we need to be with others who think differently, who challenge our thinking. This enables us to stretch and grow and become more aware. We are energy and everything around us is energy. Energy is not stale or static. It constantly moves, evolves and changes. We must remain open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Many of our younger generation has an amazing power. They are wide open, willing to engage in new thought and new ideas. And they are willing to act. They are the ones that will ultimately bring positive change to this world. I want to join them.

The need for human connection is real. Those who think they are connecting through social media or other electronic means are lying to themselves. We need to be among other humans. No one can live in permanent solitude and be genuinely happy. It’s why solitary confinement is a punishment. It disconnects us from what makes us human. It is true that some have made peace with being alone. Some have even found enlightenment. But eventually most people reconnect and find fellowship with others.

We are not meant to walk this path alone, but rather meant to help and encourage one another. We are all one, connected on an unseen level. It’s time to re-engage. It’s time to connect.

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More Than a Cosmic Burp

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”  Rumi

One morning during my regular reading and writing time, I came across this message, “Old and negative habits, patterns and beliefs are being replaced with new, more positive ones.” I was struck by this message because it wasn’t telling me to replace the negative, but rather that it was being replaced. Then I thought maybe, just maybe, I simply need to let go and allow the Universe to bring positive change into my life, rather than my usual mode of doing, struggling, achieving, failing, guilting and shaming. In other words, controlling. Maybe I needed to let go of control and let the Universe shoulder the load, to become a co-creator of my life rather than trying to do everything on my own.

Our lives have flow, just like nature. Much like a tree that sheds its leaves in the fall and rests throughout the winter, spring arrives and new growth happens, bigger and better than the previous year. The tree doesn’t try to do this. It doesn’t look at its neighboring tree and compare its growth with theirs. It doesn’t chart goals to achieve or take pride at checking items off its list. It just is. This cycle of growth repeats year after year until the tree dies – shedding the old, resting, allowing new growth. The tree never reaches a point of complete or finished. It simply continues the process. There are some things that are in our power, but for others, maybe we need to release control and trust in something bigger than ourselves. To simply allow growth to happen.

One particularly clingy, negative belief of mine is that I don’t deserve good in my life. Whether it’s been happiness, love or achievement, I have sometimes had difficulty receiving it due to this belief. But why wouldn’t I be deserving? I was created just like the tree outside my window or the little wren that stops by to visit. In fact, the very truth that I was an “accident” points to the awesome magic of the Universe – the miracle of creation. Nature reminds us often that it doesn’t need our help, though it welcomes our participation in co-creating our lives with open arms.

You are meant to be here.

Any control we perceive is illusion. Just let it go. Let go of the idea that you need to try harder or do better. Allow yourself to simply be and know you are enough just as you are – right here, right now. Allow yourself to grow and become the wonderful creation you are meant to become. Observe yourself with curiosity rather than judgement. See yourself with eyes of love, not hate. Because no matter what circumstances brought you into this world, you are no accident. You are meant to be here.

There are some who are born into this world under the weight of enormous expectations. Born into positions of power and pressure, they are “destined for greatness.” I was born into the opposite circumstances. No one expected anything from me. I was a cosmic burp, nature’s uh-oh…at least to the family I was born into. But the vast wisdom of the Universe had other plans for me. My story isn’t finished. In fact, it’s just getting to the good part.

I have enjoyed much good in my life. My heart has been touched by three beautiful children, all of whom are miracles stories in their own right. I have known true love. The message I received that morning is clear – trust the process, release control, allow change and growth, allow the Universe to rearrange my life if need be. It has a bigger perspective of the picture of my life than I could ever hope to.

So breathe through your growing pains. Let go of expectations. Release the “shoulds.” Erase the image of what the world told you to be. Just be you and know that is enough. Each of us is a creation and because of that, we also are meant to create. It could be a work of art, a loving home for your family or a more economical way to create clean drinking water for those who don’t have it…what you create does not matter. Oh, and don’t worry about the how. Just start taking little steps each day toward what you know you must do and the Universe will meet you there. I promise.

Resistance

“Rule of thumb; The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

— Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Being our real, authentic selves is easier in front of strangers than those close to us. Strangers don’t have reference points of our past. They haven’t seen us fall down over and over again. They haven’t seen where we struggle. Those intimate to us, such as family and friends, have witnessed the foibles, fumbles and meltdowns. When they don’t see the path of light we are called to follow as we do, well…

They can reinforce our own doubts and fears without trying. All it takes is a questioning look to send the message of who do you think you are? swirling around the brain of a budding creative. One innocent asked question can send many running for cover.

I want so much to believe in my abilities, my talents, my inner voice. I want to believe work can be both fulfilling and make enough money to support me. I’ve done so much work at the expense of health and sanity, all in the name of money and the scales don’t balance. I don’t want to be one of those stories where I ignore the path I know I’m meant to follow until a doctor hands me a death sentence. I am a writer and an artist. Period. I am choosing to trust the process wherever it leads.

We are hard-wired for hope.

In truth, I think those intimate to our walk want us to triumph, to win in our struggle. They want to see us overcome resistance, even if they are unaware of it. Heck, they may struggle with the same thing. Their own fears may come to the fore as sabotage, but I believe there is a part of them that wants us to win. It’s that part within us that roots for the underdog. The one that cheered for David even though it looked like Goliath had him beat. We are hard-wired for hope.

Ignoring our path costs us more than the joy of doing the work we’re called to do. When we give in to resistance and ignore our calling to keep others happy (read: comfortable), we sacrifice not only our personal happiness and peace, but we also rob the world of our light. Even those close to us will ultimately suffer. Maybe if we allow them and ourselves to be uncomfortable for a little while, they will move past resistance and embrace their own path. When people become aware of their prison and the fear of making positive change no longer outweighs the pain of staying stuck, they will move.

We cannot continue to enable just to keep those around us comfortable. This doesn’t mean we need to get all “tough love” on them. It means loving ourselves. It means respecting ourselves and our boundaries. It means having compassion for ourselves and others. It means stopping the cycle of self-sabotage and taking responsibility for our choices and decisions. We own our experiences and open up to the possibilities of our life.

What is curious about self-sabotage, whether in the form of food, alcohol or other medium of choice, is once we start waking up to the life we are called to live, the numbing no longer works – not even in the short term. We cannot undo growth or positive change we’ve made, nor can we tolerate discontent with staying stuck. After a while, you reach a point of being so over the shame and guilt that follows self-sabotage. Like a rerun of a bad show you’ve seen too many times, you know the words forward and backward. You’re done with it.

We have to deal with the discomfort that comes with making positive change in our lives and doing work we’re called to do. We have to face the “shoulds” head-on and say NO. We have to be willing to let others be uncomfortable.

I’ve determined comfort is overrated. Comfort equals safe. Cozy. Predictable. Stagnant. As I create positive change in my life, I aim directly at the barrier of my comfort zone. I am uncomfortable. But given the choice, I would rather be uncomfortable. I’m breaking down the barrier.

What about you? How has resistance shown up in your creative work? How have you dealt with it? Let’s start a conversation…

Time for a change

Hello all! I wanted to let you know that I’m putting on my big girl pants and launching my official writer blog. I would love to have you follow me here.

Thank you so much for reading and following!

Love and light,
Karen

An update…for whatever reason, WordPress isn’t functioning right today and my link to the new blog is not showing up. Please find my new blog at www.kebaltimore.com. Please forgive the technical difficulties…
KB