As I sat on the top of the sand dune watching the rainbows appear and disappear, I felt a moment of absolute connection with the scene in front of me and all that was around me. I was in a womb of perfection, connected to sea and sky and color, aware of the water droplets and the geese, surrendering to the moment and my inability to capture it.
The world changed around me. The light shifted. The rainbows came and went and came again. The geese passed overhead.
I was helpless to either stop any of it or hold it. I could only watch from my soft, damp perch, allowing each of the characters to play its part. I resigned myself to my place as the observer, the cheerleader, the one who would carry it all away in my heart.
From Separation to Connection
Connection means, as you might guess, "joining together." Over time, the word evolved to have the context of relationship, but that meaning was not originally the essence of the word.
Connection is the opposite of separation. We become separated, or set apart, as a result of carrying wounds, attaching and avoiding, and demanding permanence.
A study of the word separate led me to discover that, in Latin, "se-" in front of another word stem denotes "without, apart, aside, on one's own." Related words include secret, which means "to set apart, divide, or exclude."
When we disconnect, we set ourselves apart from others; we exclude them and isolate ourselves. The separation comes because we do not see that we are all connected, that a Divine thread runs through us all. We forget that we are lovingly held by forces greater than ourselves. Our minds dart about wildly; the stories take us over. Our hearts hold anger. Our doubts and fears multiply.
Our grasping after things both within us and outside of us carries us away, secreted and separated. In this state, we have no hope for healing. We can only wound ourselves and others.
The First Step to Connection
The first step to connection is to open ourselves to the possibility that we can survive the hurts and failures that inevitably accompany our humanity and that of those around us. Self-protection, in the long run, is self-destruction. If we hide out long enough, nursing our wounds and keeping our imperfections out of sight, we will succumb to any number of emotional and physical ailments.
Connection is like light, it only takes a little of it to break the darkness and separateness. We need but a grain of faith to take the first step toward that light.
I am picturing a small child, scared by a clap of thunder, peeking out from under a blanket. Is it safe yet? It is safe enough—safe enough to take the first step, to jump out from under the blanket, run across the floor, and connect with your Source and the people around you. When you have that much courage, all the other steps will fall into place.
Connection Comes Through Nonattachment
My own journey in writing this book has involved learning the art of nonattachment, surrendering without all the kicking and screaming that usually accompany my need to let something go. Do I latch on because I believe that what I have at this moment is the best I will ever have? That is not just a limiting belief, it is a catastrophic one.
While I am hanging by my fingernails to the decomposing matter of what has been, my fresh and vital life is flowing along without me. My connections break down. Like the opportunists that they are, the grasping behaviors are then free to move in and take over the show.
Relationships. Job. Money. Health. Youth. All these things shift and change over time. The beautiful natural sights of this world change so frequently and so rapidly, grasping is futile. Having is impossible.
The stakes for learning this lesson are high. It is only through nonattachment that we are able to connect to everything—to God, to ourselves, and to our world.
Nonattachment: The Doorway to Freedom
Nonattachment is the doorway to freedom. You cannot go "there" while you are attached "here." You cannot experience true connection while you are grabbing on for dear life to things that you cannot change. You become connect-able when you let go of all the things you are holding so tightly in your hands and open those hands to receive all the love and gifts that are around you.
I have an exercise that I do when my iron fists clamp down and tell my head that I cannot live without someone or something. I stand with my eyes closed and my hands stretched out in front of me, palms down, and say, "I am letting go of everything that does not serve me today." Sometimes I have to say that 10 times before I really believe it.
When I have let go, I turn my hands over, so that my palms are facing toward the heavens, and say, "I receive all the love and joy and good gifts that are waiting for me today."
Palms open and up is a sign to your Source and everyone around you that you are ready to connect.
Connection is Our Ticket to Transformation
Our capacity to take the next big step in either our own personal work or in our service to the world comes as a result of our ability to be in connection. We are all in this together.
We now know we can stop the hiding. We can bring our doubts and fears into the open. We can let go of our hurts, practice forgiving ourselves and others, and step away from resentment and miserliness. We can open our hearts to love and generosity in all its forms.
For me, that is the essence of connection: joining our hearts, from a place of unconditional love, for the purpose of holding each other in the light, so that we might all walk our path in joy. We can be who we are, which means we can agree with our Creator that we are perfectly made.
We can celebrate our lives and our many blessings with grateful hearts. We can change. We can grow. We can leap over the barriers and fears that have held us small and uninspired. Now, transformation is not only possible, it is inevitable.
Connecting to Earth and All That Is
Grounding to the earth each day is one way to insure that you will remain mindful of that connection. You can ground to the earth in many ways: eating root vegetables, walking barefoot, hugging a tree (literally).
You can also ground to the earth in your meditation by visualizing that you are sending roots down from your feet or root chakra into the ground below you, deep into the heart of Mother Earth. Doing this each morning, and anytime during the day that you feel disconnected from the people and events around you, will help you reestablish a firm sense of connection and belonging.
Connect to your body and your Source. In this moment, you know that you are perfectly loved, perfectly safe, perfectly protected, and perfectly perfect just the way you are.
And it is so.
©2014 by Susan L. Westbrook, PhD. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com
Susan Westbrook will gently encourage you to look inward at what she refers to as the “grasping behaviors” that are not serving you and will help you take on thoughts and actions (the healing behaviors) that can facilitate your healing and growth.
About the Author
At the age of 50, after more than 25 years as an educator, University Professor, and school developer and director, Susan Westbrook took a leap out of the mainstream to become a high ropes facilitator, life coach, and Reiki Master/Teacher. A consummate teacher, storyteller, and spiritual wanderer, Susan is passionate about helping you go bravely into the dark corners of your inner life so you can begin healing the old wounds that are stealing the peace, joy, and abundance you were created to have. Visit her website at http://susanwestbrook.com/