Becoming More Connected

“The most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

The value of our life, work, and relationships is the power of our connection to and with them. The question is, are we connected to them or just attached to them? The answer affects not only the value, but the energy they give to or take from us. If we are connected to themย they enrich the time we give to them. If we are attached to them, they drain our energy and can leave us disappointed.

The source of our attachmentย is always found in the perceived needs of what is missing in our lives. We want to possessย people, money, and things. We find meaning in titles, property, and roles. And finally, the trappings of success, which includes everything from public recognition to power – reinforce our need for more. Society convinces us that this is what life is about.

Connection is a different life experience grounded in a belief that we are already connected to people, work, and experiences and our life’s purpose is to enjoy, contribute and share with everyone else. Connection differs from attachment in that it is the connection that enriches us, not the illusion of possessing or having. We have the freedom to enjoy an interaction, the work on a project, or a new experience because it doesn’t have to be owned or given meaning to in some way – we simply enjoy the connection to it. Most importantly, because we’re already connected to it, nothing is missing or lacking, it just adds depth and richness to the work, relationship, or experience.

The irony of connection versus attachment is that in connecting more we attract more and everything is easier. And by now you know how I feel about making things easier. ๐Ÿ™‚ We can have aย relaxing and enjoyable lifestyle all by going from attachment to connection. So how can we make this shift?

To connect more and be less attached, consider taking these three conscious actions.

  1. Reduce the meanings. Reduce the investment in what an experience, relationship, or decision means, especially to other people. It is often the seeking of approval and permission from others that attaches us to the meanings of what we do with our time and energy. When the meaning comes from the connection itself, we are free to enjoy what we are doing and to leave it without guilt or regret.
  2. Connect with Yourself. This doesn’t mean getting to know more about what you need to be, do, or have, but rather getting to know more about who you really are as a human being. Connect with your spirit and discover your gifts, life purpose, and what you have to contribute in a positive way to the world as a whole.
  3. Choose What Inspires You – Remove What Doesn’t. Inspiration isn’t motivation, it is what connects us to what we are doing and want to do. When we are connected to how we are doing something rather than the outcome of doing something, we are inspired by doing it and motivated to do it. Whatever we are doing that disconnects us from ourselves, ought to be eliminated, or at least reduced.

Shifting from attachment to connection not only changes us, it changes the quality of what we do. When we’re connected to interactions, work, or choices – we find peace, inspiration and passion in the connection.

There’s a difference between the two. Which aligns more closely with your desired life? And what, if anything, are you prompted to do?

61 thoughts on “Becoming More Connected

  1. Surprise, surprise, I love this post! It is as if you decoded my central belief system, simplified it and then distributed it to the masses in perfect terms. A friend asked me the meaning of life once, partially as a joke (I’m one of the older in our group of friends so I’m given the wise-old-man card, often jokingly). My answer: Connection. Needless to say what you wrote here really resonated with me. I completely agree with that initial quote, also. Great quote, that. Thank you, Eric. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, my superhuman decoding powers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously though, it is all about our connections. You shared valuable counsel with your friend. I’m glad that the post’s message resonated. Your reading and thoughtfully commenting is always appreciated, EJ.

  2. It is an amazing post…the distinction between connection and attachment is precise indeed..your write up always resonates with who I am as a person…thanks for taking time and adding value to our lives..take care ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pingback: Becoming More Connected | iBourgie

  4. You have really hit the nail on the head. Once you are connected you can truly enjoy the beauty of life. I feel that I have finally realized this and your post has defined this shift perfectly. It amazes me how people feel that losing a cell phone or an unsaved document is the end of the world. All of your connections are not lost if your contact list is deleted or a file is not backed up. Your friendships and ideas remain.

    • How wonderful that you are realizing this! I love your cell phone/document reference. So (sadly) very real. We choose and value our connections and isn’t that delightful! I appreciate your congruent feedback.

    • Said rhetorically: Funny or sad, Zech? To me, it’s baffling. With so much available to us to achieve and experience life, and fulfill our dreams… to your remark then, why not deliberately pursue our dreams and purpose with gusto? Your comment is spot on. Thank you.

    • It moved me too. Then I realized you were probably referencing the woman with the horse. That shot is equally powerful. But the one that tugged at me the most is the image I saw as “raw emotion.” To each our own, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for commenting, Donna.

  5. An amazing distinction that I have never thought to make. Thank you, Eric, for your thoughtful insight. There is certainly a takeaway here – an assessment to make, one that I plan to do in this new year. I really do think this will help me frame the “why” I do certain things – it may be that I’m doing some of the most important things in my life – those things that I am having the hardest time completing – for the wrong reasons. With a realigned purpose, perhaps renegotiated list of to-dos, I’m confident that I will be re-energized and happier for it!

  6. Your money happily refunded if you are not re-energized and happier for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Having traveled this path myself, I suspect a revisiting the “why” will widen the aperture for you. Glad the message nudged a possible reframing for you, Dominic.

  7. A vey important message Eric! I practice this, but cannot say more than that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The other recent lesson for me is to try to meet people where they’re at.
    Debra

    • Thank you, Debra, for highlighting the importance of simply meeting people at a point where they are. Sometimes beautiful connections arise out of imbalanced beginnings. Common ground is fertile space for nurturing connections. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Another great distinction, Eric. So many of us go through life never realizing the difference in this. I’m glad you pointed it out. I’m adding it to my list of things I’m trying to focus on (since I found you on here, that list is growing super fast!)

  9. Attachment comes from our thinking and ego persona. We want to acquire something.
    Connection comes from our heart and soul. Its a giving of ourselves.
    … When we get it, we get it.
    Thanks for sharing such a great lesson Eric!

  10. I love how you explain the difference in the two, Eric. It’s something most of us don’t think about and don’t quiet understand.

    My brother is a close friend to Fuding Chen, author of this book, The Map of Desire. I have learned a lot from his teachings. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Agreed, Maria, sometimes people don’t pause and give thought to distinctions. I’m glad that you took the time to consider them and that in doing so, it may have shifted your perspective. Thanks, too, for the book recommendation. Perhaps other bloggers will read and choose to learn from it.

  11. love this. The more we understand ourselves and connect to who we are, the better we connect with others I believe. Listening is powerful- I know as a volunteer visiting patients in the hospital sometimes just listening was all the person wanted. No words, no attempt to comfort, just listening

    • I’ve previously posted about the art of listening and its inherent value. Thank you for echoing its importance. It may well be a very underutilized tool in creating connections and facilitating both trust and bonding. It’s certainly worth our further consideration.

  12. I love this post Eric! I was actually thinking today of the two concepts: ‘attachment’ and ‘connection’ and I couldn’t quite explain them to myself. You’ve done it so beautifully here. Thank you. My favourite lines from this post are: “When we are connected to how we are doing something rather than the outcome of doing something, we are inspired by doing it and motivated to do it. ” Just what I needed to read today. Thank you again.

    • You are welcome, Alicja. Isn’t it good that we (and others) have a bit more clarity about the distinctions? I’m pleased to learn that the post yielded value to your understanding. Thank you for creating time to share your poignant thoughts.

  13. The seeking of approval is toxic to so many of our hopes and dreams. That one piece of advice could be a life-changer for somebody, Eric. I wish I had figured that out years ago. Also the photo of the GI holding that baby is one I’ve had saved in a special place for a long time, it moves me so.

    • I suspect, Barbara, that it’s still welcome awareness when we eventually awaken to these perspectives. The more chronologically gifted we become, the more often our wisdom seems to reign. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s to more positive life-changers.

  14. I really, really like your distinction between connection and attachment. It is a very insightful observation in an artificially “connected” world. When we see others with their heads down in their electronic world, virtually speaking with those people that they are connected to in social media, it is more often about attachment.

    The suggestions you provide for becoming more connected is something that is really resonating with me lately. Your post has really helped me to eliminate much of the expectation and approval from my actions and just enjoy the process. I know people have communicated the message about journey over destination numerous times before, but this is a fresh perspective on this message that has really hit home for me – thank you Eric ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • As always, thank you for your thoughtful comment and insights, Dave. In an earlier reply I shared that, sometimes, awareness and revisited understanding of subtle distinctions can awaken people to new (and appreciated) perspectives. If more people were/are open to considering a shift from expectations and approval by others – to anticipation and intentional alignment with connections – we might see less dependence on attachments.

  15. Some wonderful images here to go with the story, Eric. That very first one really captured my attention. I can certainly relate to the inspiration suggestion. With time, I have allowed myself to be more and more inspired, and take action in that regard — it’s a great feeling.

    • If you are open to an encouraging challenge, Silvia, I invite you to consider not only the value in allowing yourself to become more and more inspired but to share your own gift of inspiring with other people. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know this is part of what makes you uniquely beautiful.

  16. Lots of wisdom here, Eric! I try to practice your advice in my daily life. Quite successful on no 1 at this stage in my life, but still working on 2 and 3, making slow progress.

    • Thank you, Tiny. I’m thinking, with #1 under your belt, #2 & 3 ought to comfortably weave their way into you daily practice too. Sure both take conscious awareness and effort but they’re akin to consideration #1. Slow progress is still progress! Kudos for choosing to focus on these and others areas that truly matter.

  17. Very helpful distinction. I’ve learned and taught about emotional detachment as a way to cope with relationships that are too intense or co-dependent, but I never made this distinction as you present. I will definitely use it in my Healthy Relationships group. I just got an image of attachment as the alien that attaches to people’s faces in the movie Alien. Yuck! Thankfully you have a couple of beautiful connection pictures above for me to refocus on!

    • Actually, JoAnne, I think the attachment image that came to your mind is a helpful visual. And the images that accompanied the post counter that and add to a healthy visual for connection. Glad to learn that the post yielded a useful perspective for you.

  18. Elaborating on this quote:

    “The value of our life, work, and relationships is the power of our connection to and with them. The question is, are we connected to them or just attached to them? The answer affects not only the value, but the energy they give to or take from us. If we are connected to them they enrich the time we give to them. If we are attached to them, they drain our energy and can leave us disappointed.”

    So true, and a profound connection between ‘connected’ and ‘attached’ (and I’ll find a way to repurpose this and credit your post sometime soon, because it’s just brilliant). I’ve experienced this duality firsthand, and I won’t say ‘unfortunately’ because it truly is a blessing to gain wisdom from a life lesson so deep, especially within the context of family. Spot on as usual, Eric. Thanks.

    • Glad (yet unsurprised) you chose to bypass ‘unfortunately,’ Chris. And to acknowledge connection as a lesson and deep blessing, especially in the context of family, is equal parts grounding and evidence of heightened awareness. Always appreciate and enjoy your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by.

  19. Connection. This is what our life as human beings is all about. I often find myself baffled or frustrated by the emphasis on materialism & also the way we lay claim to parts of what makes up our identity – including other human beings. It seems like such a waste of time & energy when we are stuck focusing on an attachment. We are missing the point, the beauty, that connection… However, even with that said, number one is definitely an area of growth I feel will always be relevant for myself. It is an ongoing process. Letting go of those attachments is tough. Especially in relationships with others. Recognizing them can be a challenge in itself. But this is a good starting point for positive change! I appreciate the emphasis on our ability to choose & description of actions to take to begin this process of change toward more connection:)

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