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Creating Connection During Difficult Times


The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”

- Pema Chodron

December brings many things…. colder weather, less money in our bank accounts, a range of emotions, "overdoing it", missing and/or connecting friends and family, and revisiting treasured memories.

And of course…. “The Holidays”.

For some this is a time of great joy, love and togetherness.

For others it’s a time of disconnect, loneliness, anxiety and sadness.

Many of us are some mix of all of the above.

How can we both embrace the positive and be comfortable enough to sit with the negative?

Hint... We are more alike than we are different.


Challenge, discomfort, unease, worry, grief.... It’s part of life. We cannot escape it.

It’s the sense that we should be feeling differently… that causes trouble.

We think we should be happy all the time. Full of joy, skipping around, a pleasure to those around us.

We think, “No one else feels this way…. It’s just me”.

I’m the only one who is sad, fat, drinking too much weekday wine, depressed about kids growing up and leaving me, miserable in my job, not super happy in my marriage, wishing I had more friends or deeper connections with the ones I do have, wishing my body was different, wishing my family was different, wishing I could get my eating ‘under control’, wishing I wasn’t so anxious, nervous, angry, depressed, addicted, lazy, etc...

But really it’s the truth of our shared humanity to feel the full range of human emotions; positive, negative and everything in between.

This struggle against what is, (how I’m feeling now) and wanting it to be different - that space between - that’s where we get caught up.

We get stuck.

So, the next time you are sensing that familiar pang of aloneness, comparison, or separateness, try this simple practice to come back to that sense of connection to yourself and to those around you.

 


PEMA CHODRON, THE SHARED HEART


 

I was at the beach in NJ with my family. It was one of those beautiful LBI mornings with the sun shining and it’s light glinting off the waves. Feet in the sand, I watched my husband Dave holding hands with our 4 small children as they danced and giggled in the waves.


You know that feeling of being just overcome with love and warmth in witnessing something simple and beautiful?


This was one of those moments - perfect for Pema Chodron's Shared Heart practice I had just read about.

The act of wishing this kind of deep joy for others not only magnified the beauty of that moment 1,000 fold, it ingrained the image in my memory and forever changed the way I relate to myself and to those around me.

It's actually pretty simple.


You can do it anywhere, anytime. You don't need any special equipment, you can do it even in the space of a few breaths.


Essentially, when you're happy, think of others. When you're in pain, think of others.


✨ During times of deep happiness and connection {your peacefully sleeping child, a moment of compassion from a stranger, the knowing look from a trusted friend}, breathe into your heart and wish that same joy and peace for others.

✨ During difficult times {the loneliness of feeling misunderstood, the thought that everyone else is ‘doing it better’, the shame of doing or saying something you wish you hadn't}, breathe into your heart the comfort and recognition that others also feel this.


We are never truly alone.











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