I was doing an eating disorder group workshop last week and this question was asked.
What do most of us do when we feel disconnected?
Some of us obsess over our iphone, others have random sex, some of us eat too much, drink too much, take too many drugs while others constantly instagram their ABS while living in the gym addicted to social media and being "liked" for their outside, all the while they feel hollow and unloved on the inside.
And yet others simply stop eating to numb the emotional pain, in attempt to feel in control in a world that feels chaotic and scattered oftentimes.
So how do we reconnect when we feel disconnected and we just want to distract from the unease of being human - of feeling uncomfortable emotions?
Well, we start by turning every day into a meditative sort of experience. Life becomes the practice. Every encounter turns into a learning opportunity for growth. We do not have to sit in silence and meditate to reconnect, yet at a point it can become helpful to join a community to gain some concrete tools in a more structured setting that we can use in everyday life also.
This allows us to recognize how we can be more present - how we can reconnect and in turn live a life in the flow again.
When we are going to fast in our head, it is not realistic for most of us to take up a silent meditation practice, because the dissonance of where we are, and where we want to be is too great.
When we want to reconnect, we need to take the next smallest step possible at the edge of our comfort zone.
This, so we don't freak out and retract into our turtle shell. If we freak out, we check out. We disconnect like so many times before. And if the emotions become too strong, or if we force it too much, we will not grow - we will experience that which we are scared of: that we are not capable of dealing with life and its stressors without compensating or being destructive in some sort of shape or form.
And while this is NOT true; this has been our story for a long, long time, when we are addicted to something.
We feel flawed, hollow, incapable, unloved, broken, scarred... and wounded.
Our worst fear is often that if we feel whatever it is we are so afraid of feeling, we will not be able to deal with it. We will collapse.
We will break into a million pieces like shattered glass on the floor, never to be put together again.
This is not true, but we have often made this our story - and why we use excuses for why we cannot - when the truth is we can, we just need to take the smallest next step possible.
So below are the 3 keys to reconnecting body-mind-soul.
1. Breathe deeply, fully.
When we cut off our breath, we cut off our connection to our body, cortisol goes up and we are stuck in fight-or-flight mode. No rationale decisions or logical thinking is made from this place. When we want to get reconnected, we need to use our breath daily as a tool to get access to our body intelligence of what we need at our core. Mind you, this is a practice that takes time. Give it a month. And you will notice an ever so subtle switch in reflecting rather than simply reacting.
2. Feel it. And then let it go.
Where in the body do you tend to tense up when you feel challenged? Breathe into that area - when you do, you will begin to tap into whatever the emotion is that is being built up in you. When you no longer repress it, you can release it. This is absolutely key to avoid our actions being formed from yesterday's emotional leftovers.
We want to start each day clean from scratch to create our ideal self and not repeat past patterns over and over again.
However, if you are not used to feeling certain emotions, you will want to be able to get out of this with again within your tolerance level - go back on your phone, read a book or whatever. We do not want to create such a high level of emotional distress that we not yet cannot go on with life without resorting to destructive coping mechanisms, so this need to be done in micro-steps.
Many of us actually have a very limited emotional range of comfort: i.e. we get angry or happy, that's it. Others get sad og hyper, that's it.
Many of us are so scared, that if we feel emotions like jealousy, resentment, disspointment, broken-heartedness we will bleed to death. Forever and ever. So we obsessively avoid anything that could trigger these emotions.
The thing as human beings we all have these emotions, they are not bad per se. The defining factor is, whether we can identify them and let go of them again. Not get attached and let them become our destiny.
3. What do you hunger for?
And lastly, a basic question to become aware of, is what it is that we crave emotionally at a grande scale. Some of us might crave more kindness. A world in which we can be kinder to one another. A world in which it feels a bit softer, like being wrapped in a giant hug, as we were caressed as kids. That everything is okay. We are okay. And that after every stormy night, there will be another sunrise. Others might long for acceptance. That we can be seen and accepted in this world with all our scars on display. That we can be "naked" - and that there is nothing that is not lovable. We are perfectly fine just the way we are - there is space for us to be who we want to be. We can breathe. We might long for the freedom that comes with it - of being true to our core self. That no one can tell us we are not good enough. That we can recognize that every human is made of the same material - the same essence. And that makes us connected.
When we can answer what it is we crave, we take on the challenge to become this in our everyday life. The action step here is to ask ourself: How can I embody what it is that I so crave in every situation that I encounter throughout my day? How can I embody kindness? Thus life becomes our practice.
When we become what we crave, we reconnect - with our needs.