Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The importance of connection

by Anjana Deshpande

“I am so happy when I am in my yard” my neighbor across the street yelled.  She was in her element: dirt on her hands, saplings by her side, and the sun pouring all around her. She looked rooted, connected.  

Connection tells us where we belong, where our place in the world is. Strong connections lead to strong roots. But the most profound connection is the one we have with our self.  Not being in touch with who we are, changes our relationship to almost everything that we are trying to engage with. We may be surrounded by family, friends, work but still feel a sense being ungrounded, of not being rooted.  Sometimes the disconnect with self is a way of numbing pain, of not dealing with something from our past, or sometimes it is simply a  lack of access to our inner reserves.  Not being connected to ourselves may lead to issues like depression, but when we try to numb our feelings, we also shut down a creative and joyful part of ourselves. Life becomes flat, boring and devoid of joy .  As we constantly put ourselves on the back burner and cater to the world outside, we forget that we have a tremendous capacity to nurture ourselves.  

How does one reconnect then?  Many people instinctively take to writing to reflect on what is going on, to literally “hear themselves think”. The pages of a journal are a great way to recharge and reconnect.   

If you don’t know where to begin, here is a simple exercise:

Tonight, write down a feeling or quality that you would like to experience: clarity, calm, excitement, love, friendship, peace.  My suggestion would to be lean into a more positive frame of mind. Tomorrow evening, take some time to reflect on where you experienced this feeling or quality in your day. Write about it, and describe the situation/event/feeling in detail. As Kay Adams states, this becomes a fascinating exercise in creating your own reality and changing the focus of your thoughts.  

You may even choose to create a” word bowl” of feelings that you would like to experience, and pick one a day, and pay attention to how it appears in your life.  This pausing, this thoughtfulness and self-reflection is a small yet significant step towards reclaiming yourself.

Anjana Deshpande is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in working with Adolescents, Adults and Older Adults.  Please contact Anjana Deshpande, LCSW at anjana@writethought.org or 267-422-2861

The Magic of Connection to Create a Happy Life

by Katie K. May

Do you believe that you have the power to make life magical?

The truth is, you have infinite possibilities to create the life you really want and even YOU can create a life of happiness and success, no matter what your starting point.  The first step is believing that you have it within your power to make this change.  

A few weeks ago, I took my family on a vacation to Orlando with big plans to visit Universal Studios and Harry Potter Wizarding World.  With magic on my mind, we hustled through the airport to our gate, all the while expressing gratitude and excitement for the trip we were about to take.  

Upon arriving at our departure gate, we were told that our tickets had been upgraded to first class! (Insert celebration selfie immediately posted to Instagram here!)  We chatted the whole plane ride, enjoying lots of leg room while eating blueberry breakfast cakes and drinking our beverages out of actual glasses.  Imagine my surprise when my 8-year-old wanted to talk the whole time instead of burying his head in a video game!  (Yay connection!)

Arriving to Orlando, we enjoyed amazing sunny skies and warm weather.  It was a welcome change to the cold start of our Philadelphia spring.  We entered Universal with early admission to the park, psyched to explore Wizarding World.  Our first stop:  Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey (the ride.)  I smiled and greeted a friendly looking staff member at the start of the line to ask what the ride was like.  She chatted with me about it for a moment, then complimented me on my hair.  I thanked her kindly and we chatted a minute or so more.  

As I was saying my goodbye to her, she called out to me, “Wait!  We’re best friends now… I don’t want you to have to wait in any lines!”  She told us to use her name at every ride and attraction in the park and we would be let through with VIP access.  I hugged her and we were on our way!  We were escorted to the very front of every line in the park!  We waited a mere 20 minutes for a restaurant that had a wait over an hour long.  In fact, the longest wait we had all day was for the restroom.  And the magic all started with a genuine connection!

I'm not a celebrity or rock star, although I feel like one (and tend to color my hair like one!)  What I do have, though, is a belief in myself and my power to create magic in my own life.  I'm a big believer in harnessing life's magic and using it to create a life worth living.  Here are my top three tips to help you create a little magic in your life too…

Connect to a sense of gratitude. Soak in the good of every single moment. Enjoy what you have and express your gratitude and excitement for it. The more you can say I'm loving life right now, the more the universe will throw additional and awesome life experiences your way.

Connect with others. Truly and genuinely connect with others in a way that feels good for you. Show appreciation. Show interest. Be gentle and kind. And do all this just because connection is what makes the world fun and meaningful and not because you're expecting something more from it.

Connect to the present moment. Just BE in every single moment. Behave one-mindfully. Do one thing at a time. Make sure that you are living and acting in a way that screams to the universe I am appreciative and notice the good things that you ALREADY have in life.  Keep your eye on the positives and expect miracles in everyday life.

I love my life every single day. It's not always easy. And I'm not always happy. (I am human!)  But I do appreciate what I have. I do stay present in the moment and open myself to whatever experiences come my way. And, I'm always looking to connect and to genuinely care for other people in a way that makes my life meaningful.  

You too have the power to manifest life’s magic and live your dream life.  With these three tips alone, I can guarantee you that you will begin to connect to yourself and your life in a more magical and meaningful way.

I like to end my articles with an action step so you can connect what you read to your own life experiences.  So here it is:  Write a letter of gratitude to someone you love.  Share what you appreciate about them and how they add to your life in positive ways.  Then, personally deliver the letter to your special someone.  Really soak in the sense of happiness and wellbeing that comes from this practice of connection.

Bonus:  Share your experience with us on The Resiliency Center Facebook page [insert link:  https://www.facebook.com/theresiliencycenter/]  so we can stay connected and cheer you on!

Katie K. May is a Licensed Therapist with a passion for fostering connection, empowerment and skill-building in her therapy groups.  Katie offers a Teen Therapy Group, a Teen DBT Group and a Teen Girls Self-Love & Empowerment Group at The Resiliency Center.  For more information on Katie’s services, please visit her website www.creativehealingphilly.com