My best friend hugged me this week. I mean she REALLY hugged me. We were sitting at breakfast on the final morning of the retreat and she came up behind me and put her arms around me. The depth of connection hit me right at my heart and I felt a wave of emotion, a wave of love for her and for our friendship that has been in my life for nearly 30 years. It brought tears to my eyes and I felt very open and very vulnerable.
I get hugged and I hug others a lot so what was it about her hug that was different? It was unexpected and it caught me in a moment where my shields were down. I was open and vulnerable and so when it happened the power of our acceptance and love for each other, as women and as friends, poured into my soul.
As I reflected on it, I realized that I haven’t received an unexpected hug from someone in a long time. In truth I haven’t been open to receiving that level of connection unless it has been with someone I trust completely. Previous hurts and heartbreak has hardened me in ways and there is fear of letting down my shields. By protecting myself, I am not allowing myself to live fully and experience a full range of emotions that come with allowing a connection to form and grow.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
During the Forrest Yoga Mentorship Programme, I have struggled with being physically assisted by my fellow mentees. When someone gets too close I feel claustrophobic, like I can’t breathe. I find myself getting angry and the trigger sits in my gut. I want to shake them off me. Even though we are in a learning environment, I find it difficult to say what I need and what does and doesn’t work for me. It has been playing on my mind over recent months and it’s as though I want to control the connection.
The beauty of connection is that it comes in many forms. It can be a smile, a wave, a hug, a kiss, an email, a text, a voice message, a phone call. It can be seeing something and being reminded of a person we knew, a memory we have and we are transported to that place again. It can be a connection of love, joy, kindness and compassion or it can be a connection, which is more challenging; one where it doesn’t feel good, and it can be in anger, in frustration, in disappointment.
Sometimes it can be so powerful it overwhelms and we get lost in it, we forget who we are and we grip tightly to it. We define it as special and suddenly there is a build up of pressure that destroys it before it can ever truly exist. Sometimes it is there under the surface, something we can’t quite put our finger on but we know its there. And other times it takes patience, it grows with trust and love because we take care of it, we tend to it regularly and we don’t try to define it.
Over the last couple of months I have been consciously stepping out of my yoga cave. I like my cave, its comfortable and it has served me well in life but it is also time to take a walk outside and check out what’s happening in my extended world. It means new connections are forming and old connections are reigniting. There is magic in the air and there is possibility. And I am also aware of the fear that pops up to say hi. I am aware of my pattern of thinking that nothing changes and I always end up hurt or feeling as though I am back to square one when I allow myself to be vulnerable. It means taking a walk outside and requires my committing to being open to connection and allowing it to form without controlling it.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is a beginning not an ending.
Neale Donald Walsh
I am uncomfortable right now. Life feels unknown. Changes are afoot and it feels exciting and scary at the same time. I know that to move towards my dreams this is required and while I don’t have a clue of what is around the corner I am challenging myself to be open.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the full staircase.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Does it feel scary to consider taking a walk outside your own cave or can you take a chance and step into the unknown? Have you taken time today or this week to connect and I mean REALLY CONNECT with someone, to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and touched in a way that speaks to your soul?
Take a leap today, see the end of your comfort zone and go for a walk, give someone a hug, connect and take it one step at a time. You never know where it might lead.