Congratulations on being alive everyone!
In all our life's experiences there is one underlying commonality that moves through everyone, whether we are at the beginning or end of our life. The undercurrent of life is connection. It is the vital fluid that keeps all relationships, regardless of their depth or duration, salient and purposeful. When we are able to experience connection in its positive expression it is joyful, rewarding, inclusive, nourishing and uplifting. When it is expressed in unhealthy ways it becomes obsession, violence, exclusion/isolation, abusive, and lacks dignity or respect. Both forms of connection are present in some way in everyone's lives, and it is our awareness of the necessity for positive connections that allows us to choose to engage in relationships that are meaningful and supportive and rest in the goodness and worthiness of our own being.
In conversation I have heard myself and others say things that reflect a deeply held belief that in some way we are unworthy or not good enough to have positive and healthy relationships with others. This is a subtle form of self-deprecation and self-harm that can be tricky to identify in our behavior and leads us to making decisions that while appearing to fulfill our desires are ultimately in effect self-sabotage or at worse self-deception. Part of what makes relating to others challenging is the social context that creates the habit of believing that relationships need to fit into certain categories, or have certain characteristics. Every being we interact with is in a relationship with us, regardless of how they appear to look.
When we try to impose our ideas on reality we create a tremendous amount of suffering for ourselves and other people. One of the most intense and confusing ways we can disable ourselves is through addiction. This beautiful short video shows that there is old research showing addiction can be rooted in an unfulfilled need for connection rather than chemical dependency. Addiction, like depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts have been taboo in most cultures such that avoidance, judgement, ostracizing, and discarding people were the standard method of not meeting the issues. It is no wonder, then, that we find ourselves amidst a burgeoning movement of folks working toward opening the doors on family histories, cultural repression, and social transparency. There are no limits to theways we can start to heal ourselves from the burden of seeking connection in unhealthy ways, and the trauma that causes ourselves and each other.
To put us all on the right track, what if we made a pact with ourselves to cherish and invest in the relationships we do have?
What if we agreed that all people who we meet, regardless of the situation and how we perceive them, are delicate, sensitive, exquisitely intricate, and beautifully simple creates that occupy this life-giving planet that sustains us all equally?
What if we made a commitment to our own dignity, and already complete worthiness, to choose those relationships that foster and blossom our own already present beauty, gentleness, strength, capability, and compassion?
Our lives are valuable and worth living because we are connected. Our worthiness and goodness is guaranteed by our birth and does not come as a result of our actions - it is always with us. Our "work" is to be clear with ourselves about all the ways we close ourselves off to the connections we already have, and do what we need to do in order to foster and invite those connections that firmly place us within the context of our life, whatever it looks like, in a healthy, wholesome, and genuine way. No one else can do this work for us, and we are not responsible for doing it for anyone else. We are here to support each other and together we are strong. The secret, like the name of this Blur song from 1998, is to be with the part of ourselves that is Tender.
"Come on get through it.
Love's the greatest thing that we have..."
Or you could live like this person:
May we remember that we live in a world full of people, just like us, doing their best to live as best as they can. May we stay warm and open to those connections that remind us how fabulous it is to be alive!