Connection.

 “It’s the relationship that heals.” -Irvin Yalom

I met an old friend for coffee yesterday. In person. For coffee. Somehow this is a rather novel idea these days with social media fooling us into believing we’re more connected to others than reality would say. Don’t get me wrong, social media has its pros. I have friends around the world that I simply can’t just pop in to have coffee with on any given day of the week, and so it is nice to see some portion of their lives from time to time.  But, that said, the downside of social media is that we can often believe we know our friends, or know what’s happening in their lives, by just a few brief posts or photographs.  Perfect example, just last week, I happened to post something and someone in my family said to me, “I had no idea you felt that way about that.” Hmmmm….this led to a real pause for thought, and a re-commitment to using social media in the way I feel most comfortable.

Irvin Yalom is basically the godfather of group psychotherapy, and I’m a big fan of many things he’s had to say over the years. He states it’s the relationship that heals and when it comes to therapy, I can tell you all sorts of modalities I might practice. Some of them may be meaningful to you, some may not, and at the end of the day, the thing that’s going to make therapy with me most useful to you is that we form a relationship, there is a good fit, and you trust me enough to help you walk the path. Training is important, yes, but what I find most draws people is authenticity and presence.

This is why so many forms of recovery, that are based on group models, work. It’s less about the dogma and the literature and more about the relationships that are formed that help people transform their lives. It’s about connection, and the kind of connection that brings meaning to our lives. This is why therapy works when the fit is right between therapist and client.

As I sat across from my friend yesterday, I realized how little I knew about her life beyond a screen showing me photos of her life, and just how lovely it was to see her face, the expressions on it, the voice, and the emotion that lies behind that. For this reason, I often have days where I’d like to just chuck the smart phone in a bin because I feel like they remove us from these very tangible experiences. We simply need more in-person connection because the world needs more healing.

 

 

 

 

Disruption.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neal Donald Walsch

This quote was on a magnet in my old office when I worked in Human Resources. Much of HR is discomfort, because it is just the nature of the job, and so it was a reminder for me to lean into the discomfort on a daily basis. The discomfort often had something to teach me, and admittedly I learned a lot about myself and other people as a result. It’s a little like learning to use that paddle board. You have to go through the discomfort of falling in a few times before you find just the right balance to stay on top.

I was recently directed to the podcast, Disrupt Yourself, so I listened to my first episode yesterday as I made a drive downtown. The premise of the show, as far as I can tell at least, is that each episode is an interview with someone who has made a major change in their life. They’ve created disruption – whether that be a change in themselves, their workplace, or their lives – and ended up on the other side, for the better. The episode I listened to was an interview with Pat Flynn, who lost his architecture job and became a successful online entrepreneur and digital marketer.  I finished the episode feeling inspired and reminded that we need to set big goals for ourselves and take the baby steps – and big leaps – to get there

But, I also contemplated what it is about disruption that scares most people?  The go-to answer might be a fear of failure, but I would also argue that it is often a fear of success. We don’t always believe that we deserve the best and so we keep ourselves locked into a mediocre “good enough” space because, yes, it is comfortable. But evolution doesn’t come from staying comfortable, it comes from putting ourselves in situations where we have to experience discomfort and exercise our skills of flexibility and resilience.

What is it that you’re too comfortable in at the moment?  A relationship dynamic, a career, a way of living? And, what do think it is that keeps you from disrupting the status quo?

I challenge you to consider how you might create a disruption in order to make space for creation to operate and something better to take hold. Set one big goal for yourself with a finite time frame and see what you can accomplish. Learn to fail. The worst that can happen when you fall in the water is that you just get back up on the board again, with more experience.