I often write about connection in my blogs and by connection I mean in relationship to another person.
When that connection exists it creates a positive or uplifting sense in us by spending time with a particular person. We seek to spend time with them because in their presence we feel seen, heard and reenergized. In describing the connected relationship we often use the term, “they get me.” The connection may form because we may have had similar experiences or we may share similar values, to name a few reasons. Time with them fills that “loneliness void” within us.
But last week I experienced something that made me think about another type of connection. Connection to ourselves.
For some of my client’s, and many others out there in the world, we take little time in our busy lives to slow down and connect with ourselves.
This looks like just sitting down alone. Thinking or perhaps doing some breathing exercises. For those who meditate you know what I mean.
I realized that in my super busy life it had been months since I slowed down enough to sit with myself for a few moments. Whenever I’m taking a “break” I’m usually reading something, or calling a friend to stay in touch.
But last week I did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I spent a few minutes connecting to myself. I took the time to close my eyes and go inward. Too slow down enough to become aware of my breathing and to connect with my feelings.
No I didn’t meditate. No didn’t go for a walk in the park.
I sat down on the couch because my partner had put on a particular record. And I took 11 minutes to listen to a particular song.
I turned it up loud and let the sound fill the room. I let the piano fill my ears and felt the base in my chest. And I sang out loud.
I connected with myself through music.
It was one of my all time favourite songs by Supertramp. Fool’s Overture, maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s old. Like from 1977. I have had the pleasure of being able to see Roger Hodgson perform this song live twice, so the song also had some special meaning for me.
It’s one of those songs that moves me, that tells several stories in one song. It brings forth emotions. And if you close your eyes and let it wash over you, allowing yourself to feel into those emotions, you will connect with yourself.
Those 11 minutes allowed me to remove myself from my modern, crazy busy everyday life. To go back in time and remember who I was when the song was popular. To stop worrying for a little bit.
So why am I sharing this story with you?
Because I realized when I sat down to listen to this song that firstly, I took time to connect with myself again, but I also slowed down enough to feel some emotions.
Too many of my clients, and even people I know personally, simply do not allow themselves to feel their emotions. They avoid them. Stuff them down inside and ignore them. And when they need to cope they turn to other things. Binge watching Netflix, over eating, alcohol, recreational drugs, shopping. The list is endless.
Brene Brown addresses this in her book Daring Greatly. She calls it “numbing”. Feeling your emotions means you have to be vulnerable. You have to drop that protective suit of armour you’ve been wearing. You have to let go.
“I believe we all numb our feelings,” Brene says. “ We may not do it compulsively or chronically, which is addiction, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t numb our sense of vulnerability. And numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
Music is an excellent way to allow ourselves to simply push pause on our lives. I’m not talking about plugging in your headphones to your IPhone and listening to a song while you ride the bus, go for a walk or do the dishes. I’m talking about sitting down and listening intently to each instrument, to let the waves of melody wash over your body and feel what the artist was trying to express to you.
And if, by chance, you begin to cry, or decide to jump up and dance haphazardly around the room then that’s awesome! Let it come out. Feel your emotions rather than escape from them. It’s an easy, inexpensive and safe way to deal with your feelings and emotions.
I think I’m going to go connect with myself right now. And if you are one of my clients be aware, I may just ask you to do the same one day!
Know someone this blog post may benefit? Feel free to pass it along.
Also feel free to share the song that does this for you. I would love to give your song a listen!