Independence or radical connections?
Day 187/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Companions: each of a pair of things intended to complement or match each other.
Who are our companions, our besties? How do we connect with them? Do we have enough besties to meet our needs for connection? These are questions I ask myself as I ponder this idea of individualism that we have grown accustomed to.
Heralded as our most important achievement, to be independent, to be self-sufficient, to be self-supporting. Why? For anyone to feel that this sort of independence should be a life's achievements kind of negates the whole concept of interconnectedness. It separates us from each other. It sets up competition and comparisons. And it tells us that if we need support we somehow have developed a weakness.
This kind of individualism has got to be a significant factor in the isolation that single parents experience. That all parents who are globally distant from family who are raising children alone experience. Family units who don't know their next door neighbours, or people down the street.
Living in cities is one of the most isolating experiences many people have.
And we wonder why our world is becoming increasing overwrought with mental and emotional health concerns and behaviours.
Sarah speaks of her close kitchen companions, wonderful writers whom she has met through her penchant for cookbooks. I just wonder about that. I know nothing of her life outside of her writing, which is colourful and enjoyable for sure.
Her comments reminded me of how many people seek the shopping assistant so as to make a connection in their day. Or the kids who fall into gangs because they don't feel that they fit somehow. Or the single mother whose only company is on social media.
My own life has definitely been one of isolation. If I was really honest, I would share that when I realised that maybe I wasn't going to find Mr Right I was terrified. I simply didn't think I could do this life alone.
I had two very close friends who lived a distance from me. Marooned in a foreign country with my son, isolation was my safety net. That and close control of everything that I could control for.
That's not to say that I stayed away from people and didn't go out in the world. Quite the contrary. I was running a successful business, had a number of staff, and did all the things that soccer and sailing mums do.
The rest of the time I stayed to myself. I didn't seek connection, nor friendships. For the longest time I was devoid of friends of any gender.
Efforts to rectify the situation with online dating lasted a few short months, then meet-ups and clubs yielded some semblance of social connection.
As with most of our adjustments to life, they have their good aspects and their down side. The downside was that I wasn't dealing with the real problem, the feeling of being unsupported in the world.
With a little help from my therapist friend I began to notice support that I hadn't been able to see. That was an enormous relief. On top of not have ready access to services, I had in fact created a lot of support around me and failed to acknowledge it.
And with her I developed the most authentic connection. A truth telling, experience sharing, deep listening and resonating kind of radical conversations that made me realise how much I miss real connection.
As we move passed covid I hope that some of us have experienced that in our forced isolation. I hope that this time has given lots of us the opportunity to look into each others eyes and really know that person in front of us.
Or maybe we need an internet crash to make that possible. We'll see!
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.