Previously, we have discussed how to connect to your body, mind and part of your spirit (yourself and your people). Today we’ll discuss the third aspect of Spirit.
- Connection to other people: As humans, we are wired for connection with others and are healthier when we have connections. Find time each day to connect to others. The other can be friends, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers. Connection can be done through giving help when you can and receiving help when you need it. Both are important parts of any connection. The healthiest intimate relationships usually have both people giving sometimes and receiving sometimes. My grandmother used to say a relationship is best if it is 60/40, meaning each person is 60% giving and 40% receiving. Not all of our relationships are deep, particularly with other people, but there can still be a give and receive. For example, you may rely on the people in the grocery store to give to you by stocking the shelves and bagging the items you receive. You give money to them for their work. If you verbally share appreciation for their presence in the store you are giving even more than the money you pass to them. Notice how the other person reacts when you share gratitude for their presence in the store. Notice how you feel when you offer gratitude and get a response back. This is a simple but powerful connection. If it is unsafe for you to go to the store or you feel lonely, envision the people who planted, harvested, drove and prepared the food for you. Give mindful gratitude to those people while eating the food. Notice how you feel when you do that.
Nodding or waving to a stranger as you both pass with face masks on is a way of giving and may also elicit a receipt. In this time of “social distancing” it is important that we have physical distancing but maintain a social connection from a physical distance. Before the pandemic, that approach is still wise in situations involving strangers you do not yet know if you can trust. If we nod and there is no response, we are giving without receiving. When we give without the intention of receiving anything, that is unconditional giving (parents get to practice this type regularly). Notice what it feels like to give unconditionally. If you have joy in giving you are doing the right amount. If you are exhausted from that type of giving then you need to be taken care of. When this happens, look at scaling back and getting care for your body, mind and spirit. If you get enough care you will be able to connect again with joy. Many people believe joy is part of a healthy spirit.
Sometimes we receive without giving. For example, when we borrow a book from the library, hear a free online musician or witness a public art piece we may not be giving back. That is OK. We are witnessing the creative expression of others. If we like it, we can pass it along to others through how it inspires us. If we don’t like it, we can be inspired to do something differently with how we express ourselves to others. What is something you received unconditionally this week that inspired you?