Being human means we long for connection with others and we are wired neurologically for social interaction. We feel naturally good when we have connection and life is meaningful. During this pandemic the relationships in our home are under the microscope while many of our other relationships outside the home might be challenging in other ways. We are all seeking to feel safety, connection and love in our lives and there are some obstacles in how we can achieve that right now.
Mindfulness can offer a way for us to connect to our feelings and tune in to how others are feeling too. Relationships that are either online or in person can be enhanced with mindfulness of feelings and sometimes it can even be helpful for those who are in proximity to remember this too. The experience of empathy is where true connection and trust can arise even more so than words or thoughts. Through empathy we can tune into each others feelings and understand one another as well as feel safe enough to share ourselves authentically and draw one another closer.
When we hide our feelings or avoid feelings all together we are sending a message to others that there are parts of ourself we don't accept. By hiding ourselves we can become isolated from feeling connection too. Through relationships we need to enter the world of feelings and by doing so trust can grow and feelings can be explored safely but this rarely happens without vulnerability and some risk. We can connect with our emotions through the felt experience as well as conceptualise emotions in our stories. But it's the felt experience of feelings that we can practice attending to with mindfulness and by doing so we are able to attune to others so we can have rich and meaningful relationships where both experiences are acknowledged, respected and organised in a meaningful way to allow for common purpose.
Mindfulness of feelings invites us to be with all our feelings and to allow them to flow and be digested or what some buddhists may say burned up in experience like a good bon fire. Practicing being with difficult feelings can sometimes feel counterintuitive because we're conditioned to avoid pain, seek our pleasure and move away from discomforts. But it might be more helpful to accept that pain, illness, discomfort, ageing and even death are a part of life and these experiences must be felt if we are to be embodied, whole and able to let feelings flow.
Finding belonging in the body of feelings we experience can be a liberating mindfulness practice. Exploring mindful movement meditation and sitting practice while orientating attention to the way feelings arise and fall away in experience can help us be present and feel renewed. If we just allow all the emotions we experience to flow we might develop greater emotional literacy and capacity to connect. By also noticing when resistance to certain emotions arise and experiment with changing the bodies posture or breathing new awareness into the resistance we might help soften those edges and find the courage to take the amour of emotional isolation off. In this softening we can once again lower our protections and defences, open our hearts, re-integrate our flow and find the capacity to feel each other. It's here where our connection lives and grows.
If you're interested in nurturing your relationships in lockdown with practical mindfulness skills and self understanding join us this coming Saturday for a 90 minute online group coaching workshop called Mindfulness Relationships & Connection. Register here.