How We Connect Matters
18 August 2021
by Kristina Renée
In what ways do you connect with others?
What is the bridge that brings you and another together?
Perhaps you connect on external circumstances: the weather, the days events, your routine or accomplishments or a presenting issue? Maybe you share your dreams, struggles, trauma and truths?
Have you noticed after you connect, with how you connect and with whom you connect how it feels?
I also wonder have you ever bridged connection through venting, being the advice giver, even if not asked, through gossiping, withholding truth and/or lying, or by people pleasing?
Mostly likely the answer to all of these questions is yes, because well, that is very human.
Our need for connection is engrained deeply within us.
It’s a part of our safety radar — our belonging; it is primal.
When our nervous systems are wired for trauma response, it’s common to seek and find connection in unhealthy ways that actually keep us in the exact trauma response loop we consciously or unconsciously are patterned to repeat.
I call this type of connection "wounded healing connecting."
The behaviors of wounded healing connecting often presents themselves such as:
triangulating between people, gossiping, venting, unsolicited advice, sharing information about others that is not ours to share, people pleasing traits, and enabling addictive aspects in ourselves or others.
When these many behaviors are held in the grace of compassion under the loving microscope of a safe haven, we can understand more deeply — for every cause has an effect — how to unbind ourselves, and move towards connection in more healthy ways for ourselves, and with others.
Breaking the patterns of wound healing connecting is courageous, and it is attainable with practice, self healing and guidance. It takes patience, love, compassion and a willingness to unlearn.
An even more challenging aspect of these types of behavior is that they have become normalized by our modern culture. We see it in our family systems, in our work environment, on the big screens and television shows. Thus, to actually pause to question whether or not some of the ways we connect with others may be harming to ourselves or to someone else is often missed, and seen by many as rebellious, rocking the boat, too deep, or not fun.
Can you relate to this anytime you have brought things up in your social or familial settings?
Our nervous systems, our primal body, needs to feel safe. To help this happen, our brain, in the moment of trauma or an uncertain experience, configures a master plan to create a safe and known place to return to — be it the story you tell yourself about the other person, or yourself, the story you tell others, an addiction you return to, the inability to listen to others, constant interrupting, unable to be honest or truthful, people pleasing, and/or unsolicited advice, to name a few of our interesting human behaviors.
It is not that these behaviros are inherently "bad." In fact, at times interrupting is necessary and very healthy, at times our stories serve us as we evolve and then as we heal, they shift too, like we do; and at times in our healing it is best to withhold our truth because it may not feel emotionally safe to do so with another person.
Rather the issue resides when these behaviors become a constant means to bridge connection — they become wired as patterns the brain then puts on a loop giving us a sense of safety. In fact, often we don't know how to connect any other way because of these patterns.
So how do we get out of the loop?
We must first learn how to get out of our own way, and that happens by becoming aware that we are in our own way to begin with!
Mindfulness has been teaching awareness practices for thousands of years, and now today, we have more tools and resources at our fingertips than ever. As we explore a mindfulness path, we are understanding consciousness, and bringing the unconscious to the conscious, the unseen aspects to the seen. We are learning how to stay curious, open and lean into uncertainty, which is everything our culture has advised and feared us to move away from.
In sum, what we are practicing is a change to the pattern, thus a change in the behavior and a re-adjustment to the brain patterns, the nervous system, and on a vast, broader awareness, we are altering the energetic and subtle body for Soul wholeness, connection and healing.
What we find as we unlearn our unhealthy coping patterns of wound healing connecting is that we are often unknowing shielding ourselves with a protective barrier, and because it has become such a part of “who we are” majority of us don’t even realize we are doing it.
I find nooks of my own old patterns arising amidst the moments of life When Things Fall Apart, especially when sleep deprivation as a new parent takes hold, and my patience for myself, my tantrum exploring toddler and stressed partner are all just trying to breathe for the day. And there, in a moment, yet with a differing perspective is my old friend, a wound, and I see it or feel it, sometimes in the heat of it all, and sometimes in the calm after the storm.
I am able to see this because of the behavior, because mindfulness practices show me how to be the witness to my behavior, thoughts and feelings to use them as tools, neither bad or good.
Maybe I witness myself interrupting and not listening.
Maybe I am venting and not turning inward to understand.
Maybe I am judging and maybe I want to say unkind words about someone.
Maybe I have a story on repeat in my head that actually helps me close off, rather than open up.
As healing is not linear, but a cyclical rhythm, I often like to envision as the Fibonacci, it is helpful to remember that these moments of “falling apart” or disconnection into wounded behaviors are mirroring our disconnection to ourselves -- and these moments of discomfort are an opportunity for conscious healing; they too are a part of our processing.
In truth, if we look at healing in this way, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of all beings, and all healings — generational, ancestral and beyond.
I once read that if constant growth happens, it is actually a cancer.
Think about that for a moment.
If cells produce at a rapid rate without pause, without integration, without the return to center, without a cycle of death, so it may rebirth, alchemize, and transform then it becomes toxic to the body.
With wounded healing connectioning we keep the growth of that unhealthy pattern alive; we are deepening the loop, the script and the coping mechanism to feel safe, to connect, to try to mend our discord, our suffering. There is no cycle of ending in this way, unless, that is, we step in and see it; unless we bring consciousness to the pattern of how we are connecting.
When we look at connection from this paradigm, we begin to see how wounded healing connections actually distance us from our own inner peace, and provide a disconnect within our relationships, our outer peace.
How we connect really does matter.
Think for a moment, have you been in a conversation with someone and were connecting from a place of wounded healing connecting and you realized at some point during or after, “wow, this really isn’t helping me at all! I actually feel worse.”
When we are willing to be open to seeing ourselves as we are, and not as the world thinks we are or we think we are, we gradually get out of our own way and can begin to integrate a new operative of connecting to ourselves, through self love, self forgiveness, self acceptance and self healing. This is when we create — or what I often like to say is "to re-create” — a practice on how to return to our center in heated moments, how to set our ego aside and apologize, how to set healthy boundaries, how to speak from love and truth, and how to understand and hold space for forgiveness.
Let’s be clear, this practice does not mean we won't partake in the behavior again; this practice is about how we respond to the behavior, ourselves and how we become accountable to ourselves and others.
Over time, the more we partake in the practice of inward coming to peace with our wounded healing connecting, we slowly re-wire the brain, we put a pause on the loop, we interrupt the pattern and soon, that particular mode of operation, that behavior starts to become a foreign feeling. It is no longer the how you connect regularly, but rather a mindfulness checkpoint, a medicine, a tool for consciousness and compassionate healing.
"I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion -
and where it is not, that is where my work lies"
These powerful words by Ram Dass always stay with me as a practice in my life.
AWARENESS PRACTICE OPPORTUNITY
If you would like to take a self inquiry journey to deepen your awareness with your how in connections, please join me for this invitation.
Notice first what you’ve defined as “connection”, and then notice if some of your wounded healing connection behaviors, or patterns when you feel distress or pain. We all have them, because no one leaves humanity without experience some level of trauma. The sooner we normalize that, the sooner we all can find a collective inner and outer peace for all sentient beings.
Here are some questions to explore.
Take your time. Maybe journal about it.
Come back to it.
There is no wrong here, my loves.
In moments of connecting with others,
How is your body language?
Are you leaning in, pulling back, someplace between?
What are you doing with your hands or facial expressions?
What words are you using, are they yours or have they been adopted from someone else?
Adopted or not, do these words feel aligned to your Soul, heart or good intent?
Are you speaking from your ego to be seen as if to fit in, please or fight?
Are you sharing from your heart, trusting that you are enough as you are?
Are you already thinking about what you are going to say or ask even as the other is talking, so not practicing conscious listening?
Are you trying to solve the persons problem or focused on how you will be perceived so you can say or do something “right?”
And most importantly, how do you feel after you leave the conversation?
What emotions arise for you?
What perceptions do you notice in your body?
Would you say you feel Seen? Abundant? Depleted? Used? Icky? Unseen?
As you choose or do not choose to walk this path consciously, please remember this is a practice.
Healing is not linear.
May you find the support you need to keep exploring the dark caves of yourself so that you can touch and know the unbound-less-ness of an infinite life of inner peace and inner connection.
and so may it be for me,
and so may it be for you,
and so may it be for all of us.
Kristina Renée, Medial Womvn