Connection Is Why We Are Here

deeclarknz.comNeuro-biologically, we are hard-wired for connection. Connection is why we are here. Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The feeling of being connected is the ability to link or associate with something, to belong; like what holds the pedals of this flower together.deeclarknz.com

Ask your closest friends and family about connection and they will tell you their most excruciating stories of heartbreak and feeling excluded. That place where we see at a distance what we long to grab hold of and feeling like it is too far away or attainable.

deeclarknz.com

That place that screams from the deepest part of our heart and says, “I feel alone and it doesn’t feel right”. I have been there. I have been holding the hand of someone whom I desperately desired to connect with and feel the distance is too great a span for meaningful connection to occur. I have felt that no matter what I do, there is no kindness or gentleness or acceptance. It makes my heart weep and scream and whirl.

deeclarknz.com

In the midst of the screaming and feeling alone, we begin to gather shame. Shame is the fear of disconnection. It is the belief that there is something about me that if other people know or see, that thing will make me unworthy of connection and I will remain alone.

deeclarknz.com

Universally, we all feel shame unless we have no capacity for human empathy. It looks like: “I’m not _____ enough.”

  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m not thin enough.
  • I’m not rich enough.
  • I’m not beautiful enough.
  • I’m not successful enough.

deeclarknz.com

Shame unravels connection.

deeclarknz.com

In order to connect, we must find the courage to tell the story of who we are with our whole heart. We must be willing to be imperfect and fully who we are, letting go of who we think we should be to be considered worthy of connection. We need to be brave enough to see that we are different from those standing right next to us and that truth makes us beautiful and unique.

deeclarknz.com

We must fully embrace vulnerability. We must allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. On my walk to the beach this morning, I met this gentleman who was walking his pet lamb (isn’t it cool that he has a pet lamb and is taking it for a walk?). I stopped to say hello and make a connection. He told me, “She does not like the lead. She is a bit stubborn.” I rubbed her ears and said, “We girls can all be a bit stubborn at times, can’t we?” As I walked away, I was flushed with a sense of shame that I had just told a complete stranger that as a woman, I have a stubborn streak. Yet, after thinking about it, I felt brave as well. I looked at an imperfection and declared it openly with vulnerability.

deeclarknz.com

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and joy and creativity and of belonging and love. When we find that vulnerability and tenderness are important, we will surrender and kind of walk into it. When we do, we find a willingness to take risks that bring us closer to each other; let our hair down, ask for help, initiate an embrace, love without guarantees and more.

According to Brene Brown, true, meaningful connections can be made if we will follow these 4 simple steps:

  • We allow ourselves to be deeply and vulnerably seen.
  • We love with our whole heart even if there are no guarantees.
  • We practice gratitude and lean into joy during moments of terror when we wonder, “Can I love you this much?”; “Can I believe in this as passionately?”; “Can I be this fiercely brave about this?”
  • We believe that “We Are Enough”. Because when we believe that we are enough, we stop screaming and we start listening. We are kinder and gentler to ourselves. And we are kinder and gentler to those around us.

To feel vulnerability means that I am alive. That you are alive. Being vulnerable opens the door to being connected which gives fulfilment to the purpose of our lives.

We live in a vulnerable world. What makes you feel vulnerable?

Embrace your vulnerability and get connected!

D

Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals

  

deeclarknz.com

NZ opossums have fur!

 
deeclarknz.com

serious meercat cuteness

  

deeclarknz.com

brand new baby lamb

  

deeclarknz.cm

ignore the cute humans…the elephant is the star today!

  

deeclarknz.com

hungry giraffe

  

Vivid

 To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can’t see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His … Continue reading

Things I’ve Discovered Along The Way

I’ve discovered the importance of making the best of every situation. In a negative situation, we don’t have much to lose. Might as well! Our life is broader in scope than the darkness we might experience today. Our life is more permanent than our struggles. Things might look bleak at first, but they can improve. With night and day, God has given us a picture of hope. The sun always rises. Things will always get brighter. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning”. -Ecclesiastes I’ve discovered the best things in life, those of true substance, involve the hardest-fought battles and the longest waits. We must keep pressing on. I’ve learned that effort spent on unwinnable battles is wasted effort. It’s best to simply move on to something worth conquering. I’ve discovered the easier route leads to accomplishment, but the harder route tends to lead to your destiny. Things can look ugly along the way! Giving up is the last thing you should do. Your destiny might be interwoven into fabric of your struggle. I’ve discovered there will be times filled with a yearning to be farther along your personal path than you are today. You will hold a dream on the inside, that hasn’t yet been born and feel like your life is barren.  Never give up. Keep moving forward. Fulfillment involves a waiting period—but stay active while you wait. Seize opportunities, even the small ones, to improve your skills. Do something that keeps you on course toward your dream. I’ve discovered that we can’t always blame others for our own shortcomings. They are what they are. We won’t be good at everything. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit when we don’t possess a particular forte and yield that activity to someone more capable. When we focus on our shortcomings and limitations, it can strip us of our confidence. We are all created with an important purpose, with value and uniqueness. Perfect your strengths. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect.”  I’ve discovered that we don’t know our role from day one. We travel a road of discovery.  Our hearts will provide clues about our destiny. A difference exists between excitement about doing something and a genuine, heart-based fervor that says, “I’m created to do this.” Many days, we don’t feel inspired in our lives. More often than not, it’s a matter of simply getting out of bed and pressing through the daily grind. If your circumstances look insignificant, don’t count them out. It doesn’t matter how you start. What matters is the end result. I’ve discovered that we are part of someone else’s story. And while your presence might go unnoticed at times, your absence would actually take something away from the lives around you. You might be the key factor that keeps another person pressing on—and you might not even know it. People need to know victory is possible. Your firsthand experience—your been there, done that—will give inspiration for others to know victory is within reach.We don’t always grow because we want to. Oftentimes, we grow out of necessity. We have no choice but to meet the challenge. Friendship means cutting away a small piece of your heart and allowing another person to fill that gap. Friendship is anchored in love. When we put love into action, it communicates value.

Life teaches us many lessons along the  way. 

It’s important to pay attention. 

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

Babies, Babies, Babies

deeclarknz.com

My daughter is due at the end of June. I will be a Grandmommie again. That is fun and exciting to me. What I can’t figure out is how my baby grew up so quickly. I know a lot of mothers ask that question. I’m no different. It seems like I blinked and she became a beautiful woman with a family of her own. Life truly is a miracle.

deeclarknz.com

We decided to give taking baby bump photos ago yesterday.

deeclarknz.com

And then we played with the editing. This one I will enter into Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Take A New Photo. Cee, I hope you don’t mind that I coupled the challenge with my color photo’s.

deeclarknz.com deeclarknz.com

We even threw a few fall leaves around but we unfortunately didn’t capture any in the air…maybe next time.

Broken

  • deeclarknz.com A friend once gave me a beautiful glass friendship ball. I hung it in the window above my sink where the sun would shine through it lighting my kitchen with beautiful blue hues of colour. While mopping my floor one day, the mop handle hit and dislodged it from where it hung and it crashed to the floor breaking into a million pieces. My heart sank. I scooped up the pieces desperate for way to put the pieces back together. However, that was never going to happen. It was broken beyond repair.deeclarknz.comEvery time my heart has been shattered, I have felt certain that it could never be put back together. And every time , without exception, not only has my heart mended but it has become larger, stronger and more loving for the breaking. A wonderful truth in life is that we are stronger, gentler, more resilient and more beautiful than we imagine. The Psalmist David encourages us that The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit and heals their wounds. I have found this to be true. Each and every time.deeclarknz.comThe nature of being broken is that perspective is hard to maintain when we are in pain, when in fear, when confused or worried. Brokenness limits our view, for the moment. One of the purposes of love is to help each other not stay limited in our view of life. When helping each other move beyond our limited view of life, we are lifting each other above the pain and reaching for the feeling of health.  

deeclarknz.com“To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” -M. Nepo

In my life, I have found that my brokenness eventually became useful in reaching out to other broken hearts. Like seeds broken open and then bear fruit, we can use our broken places to meet each other and be touched by each other. When broken of all the “stuff” that gets in the way of being in touch with others, we begin to know each other outside of our differences in this strange, mutual place of the heart. This is why when we fall, we lift each other; or when in pain, we hold each other; or why when joy floods in, we dance together. It’s a way that the many pieces of the heart loves itself back together.

Lastly, I have come to know that hurting people hurt people. When I come across such a person, they are crying out for understanding, comfort and a safe place to heal. Fire doesn’t fight fire. Nor does pain heal pain. Hurting people need to know that they can trust again, love again and hope again. 

I want my brokenness to open my heart enough that I can reach the hurting with the truth that the Psalmist David shared, that wounds can be healed and that in brokenness there is someone near to help lift them above the painful moments.

The best way to heal a broken heart is not to isolate it and close it down. The best way to heal brokenness, strangely, is the art of continuing to open yourself up. To remember that all of life is not where you are at the moment. To find usefulness in the pieces that remain. To reach outward and yes, upward. 

Even if it doesn’t feel like it today, unlike broken glass, a broken heart will mend. 

D

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken  

Some Like It Hot

I definitely am one of those people…I like it hot: steaming hot baths/showers, jalepanos, the heat of the sun and don’t even give me a lukewarm coffee (even worse -iced coffee). Hot is my preference.

At least once in life, we all experience the flame going out. But it doesn’t have to remain dim. All it takes is a little spark of hope and kindness and love and perseverance to fan the flame.

Here are a few quotes that I’m hoping spark a little inspiration for you:

Of all the fires, love is the only inexhaustible one.—Pablo Nerudadeeclarknz.com Great things never came from comfort zones. deeclarknz.com Decide you want it more than you are afraid of it. – Cosby deeclarknz.com No longer bereft, you blaze.—Emilydeeclarknz.com When eyes have died in its gaze, know the heart had died in its blaze. -unknown deeclarknz.com Love what you do so that it sets others ablaze with inspiration. deeclarknz.com Accept things as they are or accept responsibility for changing them.deeclarknz.com Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire. -St Catherine of Sienadeeclarknz.com The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.—David Whyte

The tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! -James

One Word Photo Challenge: Hot