What we all need: Connection
No matter what the challenge, when we feel disconnected from ourselves the challenge is heightened. Problems large and small. Humans older and younger. Whether grief, anxiety, infertility, abandonment, work stress, school stress, pandemic fatigue, parenting, being a human, being a kid. When we feel most "unmoored," most in need of grounding and centering, most afraid, even, we are usually also feeling disconnected to ourselves.
No matter what is happening in your life in this moment, I invite you to ask yourself: What do I need, right here, right now? (Is it peace? joy?) What do I want? (Love? contentment? a family? to belong? abundance? All of the above? Or is it unclear and you seek clarity?)
Notice what shows up for you here. And if your mind is going 100 miles an hour, or even if it isn't, invite acceptance. Whatever's showing up just is. You are a human with a human experience. Let go of judgement. You don't have all the answers. You are experiencing something very difficult. It's okay to not know. To be confused. Notice, and add a layer of acceptance.
And then extend self-compassion. Be gentle on you. Be kind, even. Breathe. You don't need to feel calm (though that sounds well and good), but you do need to feel connected - to your own voice, your own needs, desires, even your discontent. If you have an unsettled feeling in your stomach, a nagging ache, a craving in your heart, listen to it. Only when you listen to it can you decide your response. If it is grief you are experiencing, the challenge might look like the greatest sorrow. Unfixable. So whatever is showing up, honor it. Honor the loss, the hurt, the suffering. It deserves to be honored.
So, (1) Notice your need in the present moment. (2) Accept what's showing up. (3) Extend self-compassion. And then (4) Shift to connection. Put down the phone. Remove yourself from distractions, listen to your innermost voice, maybe even place your hands on your heart. Acknowledge: My feelings are valid, my truth is my truth, my experience is my own.
This is the path to healing: Noticing, accepting, being kind to you, and in that context, listening and connecting to YOU. You'll better understand your needs, you'll notice the wisdom of your life experiences, maybe you'll hear the language of your heart. You'll be able to get perspective, experience yourself in new ways, and begin feeling grounded and centered. Connected to you. You are so worth it.
Alexa Adamo Valverde, narrative play therapist, is passionate about stories, healing from trauma, and finding our way to create our family.