Flow Happens in Connection
At the last natural walking class the discussion went into how connection and healing are interrelated, that in some ways they’re the same thing. An attachment psychologist in the group shared the story of a nurse in the 1950s who watched a sickly baby begin to heal after she laid it with another baby. It occurred to me that are all like that baby, at every age. Healing happens in connection!
The interesting thing is that when we adapt to less connection, it can be very uncomfortable to receive it. Being disconnected renders the nervous system fragile, unstable, and less in “flow,” such that the amount of connection we actually need to be healthy can feel like too much; a commonly experienced and confounding Catch-22.
The research shows that connection is not only essential to recovering from addiction, it’s also essential to happiness, fulfillment, longevity, and healing from disease. One landmark study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and even high blood pressure.
So how can we get back into connection, especially when we’ve come to fear it as if we’re “allergic” to it? That’s the question, isn’t it?
There are so many ways, and the common thread is feeling. The simple act of feeling, both physical sensations AND emotions, quickly begins to shift the nervous system from vigilance or survival mode to restoration and flow. As the nervous system shifts, the breath returns and stress and built-up emotions begin to waft out of the body like vapor.
Studies in neuroscience have shown that it actually takes less than two minutes of feeling our emotions to process them and shift states. It actually takes much more work to hold on to them than to let them go!
Feeling can be challenging at the start, especially if there is a back-log. Sometimes the initial contact with our emotions can feel like a shock. It can really help to connect to the ground first to create a stable base like the third prong of an electrical outlet. Grounding is a powerful practice of connection. There are many others on my website under “Accessing Flow.”
Placing our attention on our own bodies is another form of connection. Oftentimes, we need another person, either to help us anchor, or stir layers of feelings so they can come out.
Grounding and connecting to our own bodies can help us know what kind of connection and with whom feels resonant in the moment. Feeling connects us with our “inner compass,” which helps us feel our boundaries and know what feels safe and right in the moment.
Connection may be the greatest biological imperative of human beings, meaning that no matter who you are or what you’ve been through, the desire for connection can be found within you, along with the skill for having it. It’s kind of like riding a bicycle. You quickly become better at it than you ever thought possible. I’d love to hear how it goes!