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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Shame unravels connection.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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  

Enveloped, Rested But Reopened

  In the midst of pain there is a tendency to want to curl up. It feels very much like protection to envelop the most sensitive parts from exposure to outward battering. 

After some of my most heart wrenching moments, I found myself curled in a ball clutching my heart in a desperate attempt to shield it. Enveloped in a few moments of solace.  The problem that developed was dependence on the place that felt safe and distanced from potential discomfort. Even a caccoon which is designed to swaddle the caterpillar during metamorphisis becomes a cage to the butterfly unless she is able to break herself free when it’s time to fly.   Everyone needs a place of respite. A safe place where we can go and rest and feel comforted, and protected, and secure.   But if we remain there too long our ability to function becomes atrophied like unused muscles. Withered. Wasting away.

While we think we are protecting ourselves, it’s easy to lose our ability to freely trust or love or hope. Protection can turn to entrapment. We might begin to feel insecure, doubt ourselves, or fear the pain more than we desire to live fully. At some point we have to allow ourselves to uncurl. 

Open up.

Re-enter our messy, beautiful life.

When the sting of pain begins to wain, extend, move and stretch. Reach for the fullness of life.

Pain is a part of life. We can’t escape it. 

And we can’t hide from it.  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Buechner


Enveloped

  

Enveloped within in each tiny seed is hope. There is more than a wish within its contents. There is promise and potential and grand purpose. 

We must reach beyond what we can see. 

Life is enveloped within the seed.

Humans.

Dandelions.

Oak trees.

Nourishment.

Dreams.

It’s hard to imagine the full potential in small beginnings.

But it’s there. 

Waiting.

Unfolding it is simple.

Don’t hold too tightly to what is.

Release.

Give in and accept change.

Allow time.

Reach for what can be.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

Passion’s Force

Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” -unknown “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” ~Bishop T.D. Jakes  “Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing.” ~Abraham Lincoln “There’s no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.”~Nelson Mandela 

 Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

How to Eat A Frog and Make Your Life More Successful

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Do you ever feel like you are sitting on the sidelines while others around you are making great leaps of faith and finding their lives exciting, fulfilling and successful? Are you feeling like you don’t have the energy to move … Continue reading