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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shame unravels connection.

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.

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.

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!


Mistakes Do Not Measure A Man

deeclarknz.comA man must be big enough to admit his mistakes,

deeclarknz.comSmart enough to profit from them,deeclarknz.comAnd strong enough to correct them.” ~John Maxwell


I’ve made a few. 

There’s a gut wrenching moment when your attention is turned to the reality of a mistake. The “I wish I could crawl into a hole right now” feeling that seduces a desire to deny its existence. Denying, though tempting, is enslaving. Disappointing. Haunting.

Truth is where freedom from the mistake begins.

Freeing the embarrassment from lingering.

Freeing the opportunity to learn, grow, mature, correct.

The difficulty is believing my mistakes represent who I am.

But they don’t. 

They only represent what I did, at a given moment, with the knowledge, skill, and ability I had at the time. 

Knowledge can be increased.

Skill can be learned or gained.

Ability can be improved.

And I can use all those to do better.

Owning my mistakes, learning from them and correcting them…are the true measures of a man (or woman, in my case).


Hello, beautiful people,

I hope that your year is already feeling new and fresh. I am in-joy with my summer. I think that is what enjoying something is all about, being in the fulness of joy. I have been de-cluttering my house today since I think that is a great way to get my environment feeling fresh and new. As I’ve been going through things and ruthlessly chucking away “stuff” that we just don’t use but sits around and around and around, I’m seeing projects that I had full intentions of tackling in 2014 but just didn’t get around to completing. Some of them are never going to be completed and I am alright with that…I’ve moved forward and they are no longer necessary. (But I promise you that on Wednesday morning after my husband reads this post today, he will be going through the rubbish bin left for the garbage truck to collect. 😉 Bless his heart he can’t help himself. Nonetheless, I will persevere and things are going. Hear me, honey?)

I have also been busy in my creative element during these new days of 2015. I have been combing my local beach for sea glass,DSCF3936walking (I’m counting that as exercise),

deeclarknz.cominhaling the salt air and exhaling any stress,

deeclarknz.comadmiring and photographing the beautiful scenery

deeclarknz.comand allowing the warmth of the sun to kiss my face.

deeclarknz.comIt’s good for the soul.

deeclarknz.comThis week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “New”. While the beaches in Bluff aren’t new, I have discovered a, new-to-me, little beach that is richly covered with sea glass. I’ve been down there everyday collecting sea-tossed treasures.


I’ve also been reading about sea glass and have found that some colors are quite rare, like pink and purple. I have already come across several pieces with a little pink or purple hue to them. How fun is that?

My husband keeps telling me that they are just broken pieces of glass and therefore, he’s not that excited about the “junk” I’m collecting. We, men and women, are so different in how we perceive things, aren’t we.

Yet, when I look at those tiny shards of glass that have been tossed, plummeted, ground and eventually smoothed, I can’t help but think of the broken, shattered pieces of our hearts. Life has a way of shattering us and we can feel like we are being tossed to and fro. Difficulty rounds our rough, jagged edges. Although the brokenness may still exist, the process creates beauty and usefulness for new purposes. We just have to be able to recognise how to use them. They will be useful.

As I have been reading, I have discovered that some pretty creative people have used sea glass for pictures, mosaics, jewellery making and I’ve even seen them fashioned as bowls. What once was a bottle, plate, or other vessel that was shattered to bits, can be repurposed as an art form and enjoyed.

If your heart is feeling disappointed and broken today, don’t lose hope. Follow the journey to the end and watch as your life transforms and beauty emerges once again. Those broken pieces will take on a new shape and form that will be useful and possibly even enjoyable (in joy). You might not be able to see it today, but give it time. Time won’t heal (sorry, I don’t believe that time heals all things) but over time, change occurs and life takes on a newness that is worth while.

Do you want proof? Look at some of the most beautiful people in your life. I guarantee they have been where you are, witting with a pain filled heart. They have made it through and so will you.

You are not junk…you are a treasure. I’m sure of it!

Chocolate, Aggression and Seals

deeclarknz.comAren’t they adorable? I couldn’t wait to get down on the rocks when I first visited KaiKora and saw the seal colonies. After all, every time I visited Seaworld or a zoo, the trainers were up close playing catch with beach balls, having a great time. I wanted that experience. I bounced out of the car with my camera ready only to be stopped in my tracks, “Don’t go down there. They look cute but they are dangerous. They move fast and they will attack you! Plus there are babies down there and the momma seals will be protective.”

They look so cute and cuddly.

Go inside their space without permission and you are effectively invading their comfort zone.

I get it.

I’m cute and cuddly, too, but…

Don’t touch my dessert. Especially without permission. Seriously,  you might a fork stuck in the back of your hand. I might give you a bite if you ask, but don’t just come up and take it. It makes me see red.

Am I the only one like that? Drives me crazy.

My friend had been on a diet a few years back. She had reached her goal and had a piece of chocolate cake that she had saved a her reward. My husband arrived for a morning coffee and she was explaining her plan to sit and savour every last bite of this decadent, chocolatey indulgence.  My husband is quite the joker (but I think he’s learning it’s not always as funny in reality as he sees it in his head). When she turned to pour his coffee, he shoved the entire piece of cake into his mouth. He doesn’t even like chocolate cake. But he thought it would be funny. She turned around to hand him his coffee and saw the empty plate and his bulging cheeks…and it was on! I don’t blame her. I’m surprised he didn’t end up wearing that hot coffee! Don’t mess with us women and our chocolate cake!

And because I’m like that with MY dessert, I can understand the seals wouldn’t want me all up in their faces or around their  young or near their food.

I can respect a healthy boundary.

Women with chocolate have something in common with chocolate coloured seals…don’t mess with us!

This is my entry for the One Word Photo Challenge: Chocolate be sure to check out the other entries!




One Word Photo Challenge: Mint

My entry for One Word Photo Challenge: Mint is a fern frond taken while on a bush walk.

The koru (Māori for “loop”) is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizes new life, harmony, growth, strength and peace. The koru is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving and tattoos.