The Gift of Connection

Connection can open up new vistas, feelings and spaces for love.

friendship, connection, meaning

Birthday party at Mojitos. Image source: Chrysi Black

This post is dedicated to my friends, online and off.

Thank you to my friends and readers for caring enough to connect. Friendship is such an ordinary, yet profound experience. I realized after talking with my friend Dave that I felt much better than before our phone call. To many readers, this may not seem like much of an insight, but some of us (often men) think we have to do things on our own. It can be hard to ask for help or to reach out to another person for connection.

Dave and I talked about our lives and what was happening, but the breakthrough for me came when I realized he was truly listening. I had a space to be myself, along with my imperfections and challenges. Dave wasn’t trying to fix or solve my problems, a typical motivation for many of us, especially men who seem to be hardwired for problem solving. The greater gift was simply being heard and accepted for who I am.

We both acknowledged that it can be hard to listen without wanting to fix. Some emotions are hard to allow and feel. We want the feeling to go away. Paradoxically, the best way to make a feeling go away is to allow it! By embracing our feelings, we allow them to flow and move through our lives instead of being suppressed to build up; creating problems, issues and diseases. We want to control life, even though it’s not really possible. We can plan, make goals, take action and influence life, but we are not in control. We are co-creators, but not masters. God, life, spirit is the master. We can learn to work with life as co-creators by Saying Yes to Life.

friendship, Dave, connection

Playing in the garden. Image source: Dave Fournet

After the call, I was feeling grateful and wondered what helps us open to more life. Having people we care about might be the greatest treasure in life. My relationship account is a little low at this time. I have many “friends” on Facebook and readers of my blog, but I haven’t been investing the time and energy to build my personal relationships the last few years. The kind where we can give and receive a hug, a smile, or simply relax and be in a space of acceptance. Many of us are so busy with the activities of life, planning to conquer the world of business and goals, that we forget to celebrate the heart connections that nurture our souls.

Connecting with something bigger than ourselves is another way to expand our lives and capacity to love.

This gets to the question of meaning. Again, you parents and folks living your purpose already know this. I’ve lived a fairly comfortable, but self-centered life, without a bigger reason for living. It’s not very satisfying. Recently, my purpose seems be unfolding through my blog by connecting and helping uplift others on the journey of life. Thank you to my readers for allowing me the space to share and connect.

A meaningful life is the best way to have a happy and fulfilling life. I’m working on this. My broader purpose is to be love with a more personal focus to uplift others. This blog allows me to share my gifts for writing, connecting and inspiring as I expand the ways to love and serve others. As I’ve written, my intentions for 2014 are to love more, develop my compassion and make better decisions. Life is a process, not a destination.

I practice gratitude, spend time in nature and many other ways to create connections, but having someone who cares enough to reach out, listen and accept you. That’s a priceless gift. Thank you brother Dave.

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20 thoughts on “The Gift of Connection

  1. “…hard to listen without wanting to fix.” A challenge, indeed, for many because at our core we want to help, to fix. What truly salves and heals is simple physical presence and just listening. Sounds like that was integral to the conversation with your friend, Dave. Consider simply being who you are without slathering so much more on top of your busy self. Try reveling in the lightness, Brad. Bravo on your 2014 focus. It sounds noble!

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  2. Thanks Eric. In your estimation, was I slathering more onto my busy self in this post? And FYI, I’m not very busy, in fact, too much free time alone with my silly self. It feels right to choose my purpose as love until I discern a more personal direction.

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  3. Hi Brad,
    ‘Connection’ is such a beautiful word…it brings along all the images which are stored far away in our subconscious mind…it conjures up all those sweet and bitter memories that we cherish or try to push aside…it lends us a strange feeling of having so many people around us, suddenly we feel more alive, more content because we can almost hear those whose loving connections have made our life worthwhile.

    You are so lucky to have such an understanding friend to share all your feelings. I couldn’t agree more with you that such friends are the ‘true treasure’, much more precious than worldly wealth!

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  4. Thanks Balroop, I was going back and forth in my mind about using the word connection or friendship, but like you, I find the word connection to have deeper feelings, “connections”! 🙂 Yes, friendships are a wonderful treasure which my friend helped remind me and sparked this fun post. I love your description of conjuring up memories and associations. And absolutely the gift of aliveness and feeling part of something bigger than self. Thanks for your online friendship and thoughtful comments. blessings,

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  5. This is another great post from you Brad. I particularly like the message on listening and acceptance as well as the value of that which we take so much for granted. With time, you learn to listen more than you speak and it is only then that you will see so much more in people, for example, how they don’t really listen at all and how they cant wait to respond. Really good read…men not wanting to open up is a larger issue than we realise and it most certainly causes major problems. Suppressing emotions cause stress, stress causes illness and its more men that don’t understand this. I loved this post. Thanks so much. All the best with this in terms of friendships, love and sharing. Technology unfortunately (although many advantages) is the cause of many silent or non existent real life relationships.

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  6. Thank you. Some of us men have been able to go beyond cultural molding and learn to express feelings. In fact, some of my best experiences and highest joys have been men’s group work where the primary process was listening and being present for each another. Luckily listening is natural for me, but yes many people are preparing their response instead of listening. How do we use technology to connect, not isolate or give the illusion of relationship? Sometimes with online connections, like with you, I do feel a rapport. Blessings,

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  7. Your group of men should spread the listening message to others across the world, there are many who do not know or understand the process because there is actually a process involved in communication. Thanks for that Brad, there is definitely a rapport for us, a kind of familiarity in a sense. I think that although the internet creates such a grand platform, we can never be naive to the fact that each person is different and so are their motives if any. You probably know my old saying by now…”it’s all in the gut” if you don’t feel it, its not there. So in response and conclusion 🙂 I believe that a persons blog is who they are, you have to feel comfortable with it as you would if you were in their home, especially in relation to connecting with people, its a relationship no matter which way you see it, one of friendship, business or otherwise it still remains a relationship and you must be ‘feeling’ the same level and type of emotion as you would expect when making a friend or business associate otherwise its no different. Sometimes you can meet someone who is fabulous on line and not so much in reality, however, in the beginning people are always friendly or at least try to be, just give the communication time, just as you would in real life, things always unfold as they should. When I first started blogging I wrote a post about, “You are who you Are” because I’ve always believed that, and still do. So before I take up your page lololol, all the best and yes, I am very pleased that we have been able to connect! Blessings and all the best.
    YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE – http://dietrying999.wordpress.com/?s=you+are+who+you+are

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    • Yes, listening is a needed skill. I’m still learning to be more myself and my blog is a good avenue for expressing, though I don’t share the dark and challenges as much as some folks. Yup, I’ve experienced the surprise of someone being very different in person. No matter, I’m grateful for my online connections. Thanks for caring.

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  8. I am so happy that you had such a positive experience and kudos to Dave who possessed the rare ability to “listen!” I have had some of the finest feelings in life from a true connection to another being.

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  9. Hi Brad! Building connections via blogging also is one of my top goals for this year; I’ve resolved to visit a new blog every day that has a positive focus, and am keeping a list on my own blog to help my readers find uplifting sites. I’m enjoying your reflective and frank writing, in which you’re not afraid to describe yourself as a work in progress (which of course everyone is, or should be). Keep up the good work!

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    • Hi Meg, Yes, I’m enjoying building connections and am definitely still a work in progress. I believe in honesty as well as inspiration to help us move forward. Thanks for your kind remarks and mention on your blog. To progress, Brad

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  10. “It can be hard to listen without wanting to fix”… I like how you say it. Simply listening with presence is such an art. I enjoy the reminder! Have a nice day Brad 🙂

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