I am in a professional training program that requires me to travel out of town once a month for weekend long training workshops. And because of the pandemic, like most events these days, this in-person experience went virtual back in the fall when it resumed after summer break.
Initially, like many, I questioned whether or not I wanted to get involved in this again this year, or just take a year-long hiatus until it would be possible to meet again in person.
I mulled it over because, like many of you these days, I spend most of my working hours in front of a screen. And then to connect with friends or family in my personal time, it also requires me to be in front of a screen. And I knew that virtual connection with these folks would pale in comparison to the in-person interactions that I had become accustomed to.
On top of all of this were my own personal issues around connection and how easily disappointment can be energized inside of me whenever a connection takes place that doesn’t feel meaningful or fulfilling.
And whew, talk about virtual connection being a poor substitute for real, meaningful, in-depth, face-to-face connection. The opportunities to get triggered through this kind of interaction were vast.
My biggest concern was that by being forced to virtually participate in these experiences that typically have been deeply fulfilling in person, I would stir up the old, deep disappointment and longing inside of me around how much I needed a meaningful and deep connection in childhood and often didn’t get this need met.
I knew this because I’ve done quite a bit of deep emotional healing work around this very issue.
It took me quite a long time in my own personal process to even be able to recognize that this unconscious desire to avoid these kinds of situations that had the potential to be disappointing was really about my childhood, not really about what was happening in the present moment.
Simply said, my desire to avoid the possibility of being disappointed by a present-day virtual event was not really about the here and now.
Avoiding the possibility of stirring up painful feelings from childhood was the real source of my declining present-day events with meaningful people and experiences. It was one of the unconscious ways my spirit had organized to help me manage the deeply painful experiences of needing real connection (as defined by me and my personality type) and not getting it.
Interestingly, even armed with this knowledge, it wasn’t enough to encourage me to sign up for virtual events. Which I found incredibly fascinating, but not surprising.
This is the perfect illustration of how a cognitive understanding of your emotional issues is not enough to heal the issues inside and lead to lasting behavioral change in your outside world.
The healing of these kinds of emotional issues is a deep internal process that transcends time and consciousness. It’s deeper than words. It’s older than time.
Words and affirmations just aren’t going to cut it in terms of changing these ingrained patterns. In fact, they’re likely to keep you stuck.
In order to deeply change and heal unconscious emotional issues, you have to get beyond your brain, beyond talk and cognitive understanding, beyond your *story* and back into the experience of what happened.
Only in this way can you heal it at the same level it impacted you: in your body, in your energy and in your spirit. And this the only way to resolve something in your life, once and for all.
One of the fascinating outcomes of this pandemic that we are all living in, is that by being forced to socially distance and engage with others virtually, this arrangement is providing everyone with an incredible opportunity to learn about your own unconscious energetic and bodily experiences of attachment and bonding.
Everyone has an incredible opportunity right now to learn about your deeper emotional world and how your connection / bonding / attachments affect you at a deeper, energetic and physical level.
In case you weren’t aware, connection with others affects us physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, cognitively and so on.
Given that most connections, other than those with folks in your household are virtual, it’s the perfect condition in which to explore how the quality of your connections have the ability to affect you physically and emotionally in a variety of deep ways.
Bear with me for a moment and I’ll explain.
I noticed the other day, after participating in “ZOOM” calls with several different groups of people in my life, a significant difference in how I was feeling physically, emotionally and energetically after each call.
(This observation wasn’t necessarily a conscious or intentional effort, it’s part of living mindfully in each moment and just *what I do* most every moment of my life.)
What was fascinating for me to recognize (not just in my brain, but more importantly in my body) was how different the experience was in my physical body after each of these virtual calls.
In one case, I felt expansive, supported, open, excited, solid, grounded, peaceful, full of life and ready to take on the world. I could feel that experience as the dynamic movement of energy throughout my body. My body felt relaxed and at ease.
In the other case, I felt small, closed down, defended, hardened, insecure and ready to give up my most essential internal body organ if it would just make these unpleasant feelings go away. And yes, I could feel this as the experience of tightness in my muscles and body structure and deadness in the energy of my body.
It was fascinating.
In one case, my body and energy felt alive and bright with high vibration and in the other case, my body and energy felt very dead and blocked, with a very low vibration to it.
And that’s when it dawned on me:
THIS is the body experience of the difference between how deep and meaningful connection impacts me physically, emotionally, spiritually, energetically, and so on and how dissatisfying connection has the capacity to wipe me out in all these ways too!!!!!!
It was the perfect real-life example of how the difference in the kinds of connections I bring into my life can either ground and center me or knock me out of my center.
So what I had was a powerful experiential physical recognition of the difference (energetically and physically) between satisfying bonding and dissatisfying bonding creates.
Powerful. Experience. Indeed.
Like many consciousness-building experiences, I didn’t recognize this happening as it was happening. It wasn’t until a few days later when this deep awareness came together inside of me, around how it physically feels different when on the receiving end of satisfying support and connection and not.
Here’s another interesting part to all this: this deep attunement to your body/mind/spirit is how you were born and designed to operate in the world.
Unfortunately, you live in a world which values logic, objectivity and rationale. In many parts of society, being disconnected from your body is rewarded and seen as a sign of strength and prowess.
No pain, no gain, right?
I’m telling you though, if you truly want to be happy and satisfied in this lifetime, it requires you to connect back to your body in a deep and energetic kind of way.
Your body never lies. It will always guide you towards more satisfaction and away from dissatisfaction. That is if you know how to listen and decode its wisdom.
So, to start working towards that, you might try this little experiment next time you have a virtual call with someone or groups of someones:
Afterwards, take a moment to check in with your body and your energy levels. Write down as many words, phrases or descriptors that you can come up with to describe how you’re feeling after the call. 5-7 minimum.
And then start doing that after these calls or virtual interactions. Begin to notice any patterns or interesting experiences that you have. Take it a step further then and as you get comfortable describing how your body feels, actually close your eyes and let yourself feel these experiences in your body.
It’ll be an interesting way to start learning more deeply how you respond physically, emotionally and energetically to the types of connection you’ve cultivated in your life.
And wouldn’t that be a nice thing to begin to pay attention to?
When meaningful connection of any kind is at a premium right now, wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to more finely-tune your time available to connect with others so that you could be sure to bring in as much support as possible?
I sure think so, but then again, that’s *what I do*. https://youtu.be/Akq0xeu-RHE
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.