Loneliness & Connection
18 January 2021
by Kristina Renée
“As we embraced, the hairs of my nose danced to the smell of her, sweet like roses with a nuance of salt, but not just salt from the water of the great blue, it was salt from the body of her own being. It was sweat. Sweet, sweet sweat. There was something warming about her smell. It was real. It was primal. It was the essence of connection. It was human”
What comes to mind when you read this? What do you sense in your own body as you read this? If you are unsure, read it again and allow yourself to envision the embrace of hugging this woman, and invite yourself to feel.
“The air began to fill with a chill as the sun was setting behind the mountains. As I waited in line, my senses awoke, the hairs on my arm stood erect from the coolness and I felt a shift in my belly aching for food. Standing like a tightly packed can of sardines, the aromas of the man in front of me found my nose. We were so close if I stuck my tongue out and he took one small step back, I would taste his shirt. His shirt, damp from perspiring after his jog, wafted an onion residue paired with a foreign chemical smell of cologne that met my nose. The man stepped forward to order his food, and the sun melted completely in the backdrop of the sky, leaving an Alpenglow of majestic colors, purple, orange and hints of deep red. Somehow, as unpleasant as the smell was that filled my nostrils, I found it comforting to be close to another human like we once used to be”
And now, what came to mind when you read this story? What did you sense in your own body here?
It is the one sense that ignites memory and strikes a drum within our hearts at the most rapid speed in the brain.
The pain of nostalgia, the joy of love and laughter, the great pause of gratitude, our sense of smell and the ability to inhale life is essential to connection. And while some may have no sense of smell or little to no awareness of smell, the connection of touch, sight and tasting enhances for them and is also a profound bridge for all sentient beings.
Our senses are vital in weaving ourselves together beyond the cognition of our thinking minds for connection, and here we are in a time of distancing, masking our smiles and frowns; a time when even a hand shake can feel suspicious and uncertain.
It is potent in our health.
It enhances our endorphins. It releases the “happy chemical” in our brains.
It moves us to deepen our other senses.
It is when we know the smells of our loved ones.
It is when we release our shoulders and sigh.
We know this by research.
We know this by witnessing children.
We also know this within ourselves.
We know this innately somewhere within.
We know this because we need it.
I am not alone in missing the physical connection of others. This is not specific to my journey, for the cauldron we all share is the collective loneliness from masking and social distancing. And while, the cause for such actions is understood, the emotional and mental effects are taking the stage with a vengeance that is heartbreaking.
We are all in the throws of grief in some way within our lives. Perhaps in its palpability more of us can acknowledge that truth. We are grieving the routines we once had, the people we used to see regularly, if not daily, the small family owned and operated businesses that cannot survive during all this, the death of loved ones, the transition of this unknown time and the grief of loneliness, that on both levels, micro and macro being effected.
I recently listened to one of Brene Browns talks on her podcast called Unlocking Us.
Have you chimed into these yet? I encourage you to do so!
In this podcast she was sharing a conversation with Dr. Vivek Murthy on loneliness and connection. Dr. Vivek spoke on the three types of loneliness.
Where do you find yourself dancing with loneliness right now?
Do you long for intimate heart felt conversations where you feel seen and heard by a dear friend, partner or family member? Do you crave a hug or the warmth of touch?
Perhaps you miss social gatherings, even small ones such as taking a class inside or dining at a restaurant inside, or attending a concert, traveling?
Maybe you feel the division of the collective more so now than ever and find a deep sadness within?
Perhaps you feel all of these things at differing times or all at once?
Since March 2020, the rates of suicide continue to rise in the USA. We know that loneliness and a sense of not belonging or having a place to belong is directly related to suicide. Isolation amplifies this. And this last year alone has shown us the devastating effects of our dis-connection to each other, ourselves and to the Earth.
This week, someone I knew in my local community here in San Diego died. Her death was from suicide, yet I can’t help but identify the cause of her death to that of isolation and loneliness in a world uncertain how to hold that container; a world that actually profits on our loss and pain.
The shadow of our ancestral wounds is illuminating like the bright glow of the Morning Star Venus in the sky right now. Beaming us with another nudge to anchor ourselves. Take the sails down, set the anchor into the vastness of the deep blue sea, now is the time to remember why we walk this earth to begin with: that of connection. And to whom or what you may ask? Why I leave that up to the individual for it is in our own unique footprint of remembering what connection to ourselves and to each other means that makes up the fabric of our collective whole.
What an auspicious time to be alive with its literal "mask" -ing.
We are seeing the dark cape of our own humanity hiding our raw nudity not just on the television and the news, but in the living rooms, with our own families and friends, drawing hard lines, imprinting dangerous divisions and cutting ties because of political and religious identities.
Instead of holding tighter to our ideals of what is “the right way”, instead can we open ourselves up to anchor into our hearts. In our hearts, the place of infinite love, there are no divisions. The polarities make up the whole, they are not the cause to blame or tame.
As we anchor into our hearts, we remember our collective need for connection, for love, for tenderness. That all beings need and can give love and presence. It is one of our many great gifts we can offer right now, pandemic and all.
Let's ask ourselves,
How do I want to show up?
How do I want to be in my body?
From this moment on, I get to choose who I am, what I am becoming, and how I leave my footprint. What is that footprint?
What is my unique craft that has been rendered "odd or weird" and yet I know it lights me up? Can I allow myself to embrace that inner power, that magic of my heart? How shall I share it with the world, being accountable to my human-ness along the way, staying committed to my heart?
We could use this time to question the status quo and harness our heart centered self in the presence of our ego and triggers.
We could use this time to peer deeper into the history of our time, the holidays we celebrate and why, the words we use and beliefs we have, whom they impact, and how our actions ripple into all things.
We could pause into this time to offer some space to ourselves and our wounds, our inner child pains, our ancestral traumas to understand, to heal, to mend and to love what could not be seen or held before.
We could use this time to co-create a new way of living — for to speak is to create: Abracadabra!
The need for mindfulness, compassionate curiosity, self love and intimate connection are beyond essential. As we become clear with our intentions and call them into conscious action, we create with our words, we create with our behaviors, we create with the elements of the Earth, we can leave a trail of infinite kindness and love if we so choose.
And where we do not -- where we are so far from the center of our hearts -- where we have fallen into the intoxication of an emotion (and we will), of rage, of sadness, of grief, of bitterness, of apathy, that is where our work lies. That is where we return to ourselves again and again. We return to the smell of our own sweaty tears, remembering who we are and who we are becoming. And hopefully soon, one day we will embrace one another, sweat, tears, smells and all.
May we harness the energy of compassion on how we can be wiser, anchored in our heart, connected to our soul self.
May you tend to yourself and your healing.
May you find support that aligns to your magic, your craft, and your offering.
May you know that you are worthy. You belong. You are a miracle.
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