Connectedness

We are all connected. Everything’s tied together. So the next time you feel disconnected, look up, because you are the Universe expressing itself. It’s impossible to be separate from it. … Christmas brings us into a connective heartbeat. If you sit still, you can feel it all around.

universeThe above is excerpted from the movie, “Finding Christmas.” I really love what the writers introduced in this scene, especially the soulful reminder that I am an expression of the Universe and that we are all connected—at all times and under all circumstances. Whenever I feel disconnected, stressed out or put off by anyone or anything, it’s because I’ve directed my consciousness away from this fundamental cosmic truth.

I also love the reminder to be still often and long enough, especially during this time of the year, to feel the omnipresent connectedness I don’t pause often enough to experience. The past six months have been a whirlwind, since I started a new chapter of my professional life. Even though everything there is going swimmingly, I’m truly looking forward to having some time off to tune into that connective heartbeat of which I am a part.

Connectedness for the Holidays

The Holidays can be magical and difficult all at once. It depends on the consciousness and perspective we bring to every moment, which may very well fluctuate. As a case in point, a dear friend of mine has just suffered a great loss. While tremendous grief is dominant in her consciousness, she’s also simultaneously experiencing the support of the community she has built over the years. To her, it isn’t all magic or all pain. Rather, it’s a blend that isn’t straightforward to tease apart.

Not everyone is suffering from fresh heartbreak like my friend. Yet, when we can’t feel the connectedness that allows us to recognize the magic of the season, it’s because we feel separate in some way—from loved ones, from expectations of what our life ought to look like, from attachments we have formed with people, things or even ideas. While there’s no way around going through real grief or other difficulties, there are a few simple phrases to help us remember that we are always connected and never truly separate from anything or anyone.

Thank You

thank you

We can’t be in gratitude and also be thinking of what’s missing in our lives. Being in gratitude doesn’t sidestep real challenges—such as my friend’s loss—but it allows us to have moments of remembering the connectedness truth, instead of letting the feelings of separation and loss overwhelm our consciousness. For many years, the Holidays were really difficult for me. Today, this time of the year still challenges me in some ways. However, taking time to remember reasons to be grateful has definitely made it easier to meditate on connectedness and experience it, even if only energetically with those who aren’t physically with me.

After You

When we’re standing in long lines, circling the parking lot looking for a spot, or being cut off by someone in a bigger hurry than we are, the last thing that comes to mind is how connected we are to those people. We want nothing to do with them, let alone connected to them, thank you very much! It’s a zero-sum game in which there’s a winner and a loser, and we’d be darned not to come out the winner!

What if we were to do an experiment of choosing to see that we’re all after the same goal—e.g., getting just the right Christmas present for a loved one, trying not to be late, etc.? Last Saturday, while standing in a long line after spending considerable time picking out the perfect gifts, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. Seriously? By the time I got home to get my wallet and went back to the store, all the items I had picked out were gone. After the immediate reaction of great disappointment, I imagined that someone had gone home with perfect gifts for their peeps. It wasn’t my personal gain, but someone benefited, and that was ultimately a good thing.

I’m Sorry

When stress runs high, it’s prime time for ego to dominate and continue directing the plot of separation. The more we insist on being right and gun for the winner spot, the more it perpetuates the illusion that we are separate and in competition with/opposition against one another. Remember the last time someone looked you in the eye and delivered a heartfelt apology? How did that make you feel? Didn’t it take the edge off of your anger or hurt? Didn’t it help make you feel heard, seen and validated? Didn’t that help to connect the two of you, even if part of you might still be miffed about what they did?

What would happen if you said “I’m sorry” for accidentally cutting someone off, or for the part you played in a silly misunderstanding or a long-time feud? Regardless of the immediate outcome, notice how it feels within you, whether or not it helps you to feel less separate from the opposing party.

I’m Present

Smartphones and mobile devices have provided higher connectivity but not necessarily greater connectedness. A few weeks ago, I was standing in a taxi line with a few colleagues on our way to a celebratory dinner. We each had our smartphone out, checking email, texting, doing whatever we do on smartphones these days. Even though I was one of the offenders, I couldn’t help myself and remarked, “What did we all do before smartphones?!” To that, one of my colleagues chuckled, “Talk to and visit with each other like civil people?”

Being in the same physical location is not the same thing as truly being together. This Holiday Season, make a point of putting away the smartphone, the tablet and being truly present with loved ones and connecting with them. Let’s not confuse connectivity with connectedness.

So, what do you think? Do you believe we’re ultimately connected? What other suggestions may you have for remembering our connectedness during the Holidays and beyond? Happy Holidays!

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Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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9 comments
RainerProksch
RainerProksch

Excellent post Alice!  Thank you so much for reminding the importance of staying connected.  This topic has a lot of importance these days when we remain busy in our own world, that we forget to stay connected with people around us.

Hiten Vyas
Hiten Vyas

Hi Alice,

Wonderful advice, my friend.

I do believe that we are universally connected, yet so often our egos create separateness, which then can make us insecure, compete, become selfish etc.

At times when I've recognised that my ego has taken over, I remind myself how I'm already connected to everyone else and that we are one and the same. Doing so really does help in subsiding any negative emotions.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

AlliPolin
AlliPolin

As always, time well spent reading on your site.  Connection is something we deeply crave and can't have without being where we are.  Each truth resonated with me.  Thank you for this and for your virtual friendship and shared learning.  I appreciate you, Alice and wish you all the best in 2014!

scott_elumn8
scott_elumn8

Thanks Alice. Love the "both / and" theme in these truths. Great reminders for this time of year...and any time of year.

ThinDifference
ThinDifference

Wonderful reminders, Alice. To really connect, we need to be fully present. Thinking of the larger picture and community, we gain an inner satisfaction and any sense of frustration dissipates. Your shopping experience shows us the way. This season, continue to keep the spirit of being present and, in the new year ahead, continue to connect with community. During the past year, I have enjoyed learning from you. All the best in the year ahead! Thank you. Jon

DrAliceChan
DrAliceChan moderator

@Hiten Vyas Well said, my friend. It really boils down to how many of our waking hours are spent forgetting that we're connected to everyone and everything and acting from that place of being separate. Always appreciate your adding your spin here from your own personal experience. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a great new year, Hiten! Thank you for your virtual friendship this past year.

DrAliceChan
DrAliceChan moderator

@AlliPolinAlli, the feelings are very mutual! I'm grateful for having connected with you virtually and exchanging ideas and learning via our blogs. You always have very creative ways of framing questions and reflections to which we can all relate. Looking forward to more in the new year. Happy Holidays, Alli!

DrAliceChan
DrAliceChan moderator

@scott_elumn8Thanks, Scott. Yes, the older I get, the more it's clear that life is a series of dualities. Happy Holidays!

DrAliceChan
DrAliceChan moderator

@ThinDifferenceJon, thank you for always reminding us of community. It introduces a tangible frame around people with whom we share this life beyond our family, friends and colleagues. I, too, have enjoyed learning from you and am grateful that social media have connected us--this is most certainly a benefit for increased technological connectivity! Happy Holidays, Jon!

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