On Being Connected – Up – down and sideways!
As a former electrical engineer transitioning into a health and wellness profession I have relearnt a great deal on the importance of grounding, and connectedness. It’s multi-dimensional; you would think in the 21st Century being more digitally connected makes us more stable and that life has a richer quality. Actually most find this to be the opposite and a greater technological connectedness through various platforms and apps often leads to higher levels of stress. Why is this? In this brief article I will highlight three key areas of connectedness, aimed at bringing us back to a more primal level of rich connectedness.
Grounding to earth
“Keeping you feet on the ground” was an edict our Fathers and Grandmothers preached to us. In a hectic day we are often rarely still, moving from one meeting to another, eating on the move and constantly ‘on-the-go’. So the notion of being grounded through the soles of our feet and our bodies in electromagnetic grounding, literally to earth, the principle of keeping your feet firmly rooted to Mother Earth, should not be so strange. It is however often difficult to achieve.
There is energy in the fabric of nature in the modern World we have grown distant from. We live mainly in the concrete jungle – far removed from the real one. In nature we can find peace and calm energy, one driven by natures rhythm and not the impulse for the next meeting or fix of caffeine
Just take that moment to be grounded, and feel the energy of nature, sit on the grass, feel the bark or a tree, stand in the rain, feel the power that nature can bring to you. In generations past we had to be more connected to nature. Social development took us from being hunter gathers, to farmers, and now sadly to more industiralised food producers, far removed from nature. Throughout the centuries we have lost our deep primal connections to nature, but it is still there waiting for us to reconnect.
Securing in our relationships
Secondly, there is the idea of a horizontal or side-ways grounding. This is the real world relational connectedness we have with each other, not faux Facebook friends or obscure LinkedIn contacts, but messy, honest, rich and rewarding everyday contact with each other, face-to-face. Relationships are what we humans are designed for. The African cultural concept of Ubuntu plays a huge role in this dimension, being defined as ‘we live our life through others’. Family, friends, work colleagues, and how you treat the guy selling stuff at the traffic lights, all these complex and yet simple interactions define who we are. In this dimension you usually get what you give.
To feel the energy of another human being, in a handshake or a hug. We seem to be losing the personal touch. We were designed to be social, loving, and friendly and share this each and every day. Just to stand still in a hectic day and appreciate what there is to be happy for – and it is mainly for each other and not the cell phone, laptop or BMW.
In this aspect our emotional intelligence and empathy play a key role in defining the strength of our social connectedness. Drawing from the higher power and lower primal forces in nature allows us to shape the daily interactions we have. Can we have too many? or is there a quality versus quantity dimension. In my experience it’s a balance, who knows where the next long term valued connection will come from? The next big client or new best friend, could be the stranger you meet fishing on the beach, and there may already be some loose connection there already.
Before the new connections however, comes those we already, know, value, trust and love, they also need our attention, else they lapse into those we used to know. In our personal life as in business this may mean some sort of communication plan! At its simplest, it may mean setting aside Friday night to Skype your Dad or best mate and have a chat. In the hectic World it is something we all need to do more.
You are not alone!
Finally there is the need for an upward or spiritual grounding, a connectedness to a higher universal power for everything else. Where to turn to when things go wrong? Who to say thank you to for each and every day that is a wondrous gift. Did you create your day, or was it already planned for you? Is tomorrow already written or are you really in charge? Either way being connected to some power greater than you, has got to help. We all think we can do it on our own, but can we really?
Africa Burn by Jan Cilliers DeWet.
The picture hanging in my practice room represents these three degrees of connectedness. The shadows give a perspective of being rooted to earth while the people mingling and engaging in small groups highlight the importance of real world social interactions. Only just visible are the wispy plumes emanating from the heads of the people giving just the hint of a spiritual connection to something larger and higher above us.
So let’s get more connected. These thoughts were mainly gleaned from a walk with friends in a remote part of nature in the Western Cape of South Africa. They were amplified and spurred me to write this after hearing the TED talk by Berne Brown on Connectedness and Vulnerability.