I felt I was struggling to feel a sense of purpose, to see the point, of making, of creating, while in the midst of a pandemic and so much trauma. I had been quite ‘good’ at following the ‘rules’, social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, no unnecessary shopping or visiting friends and relatives. Where we live had made all that quite easy. A comfortable house, on its own, on the side of a hill, thank goodness it hadn’t sold when we put it on the market back in January, I remember thinking.
I am a member of a very large community of creatives online where people share and often ask questions, seeking advice etc. We were several months into the new normal of varying degrees of lockdown, when I became aware of quite a few people in this community, starting conversations about feeling stuck, unmotivated, feeling a lack of focus, seeking inspiration and direction for their creative work, which lead me to ask the question …
“what is the relationship between our connection with others and our own connection with ourselves, our sense of purpose & meaning, our sense of place and belonging?”
This question, was a vague unconstructed thought and I’ve been trying to clarify it ever since. It seemed to me that the constraints imposed by the pandemic had highlighted the significance of connection and how it crucially affects how I feel about what I do and the context within which I do it.
I have always identified myself as something of a ‘loner’, happiest in my own company and to be honest, often somewhat uncomfortable in social situations. If there was an opportunity to go stay in a log cabin on the shores of a lake in the middle of the wilderness, I’d be first in line…or so I thought, now I’m not so sure. I’m re-evaluating the importance of my social network and the important role these play in my life.
The restrictions we’ve all experienced during this past year have made me reconsider that view of myself. It seems having social connection is more important to me than I thought. I found myself realising that without the context of social interaction and connection, my work felt somewhat empty and pointless.
Now, I’m not saying that my work IS empty and pointless, predisposed as I might be towards depressive thoughts, I’m a big fan of balance in all things. As someone who naturally tends towards a desire for certainty, balance is something I need, to constantly reframe my view of the world.
What did become clear to me was that social contact, connection is important to offer context to what we do. As a species, as human beings, we don’t function well in a ‘vacuum’, devoid of contact and connection. We need witnesses to our lives, to our experiences, we need to share.
As Brene Brown says…
“Connection is why we’re here. We are hard wired to connect to others. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives and without it, there is suffering.”
I consider myself fortunate in so many ways. I have not been alone during these strange and difficult months. I have a partner and more importantly, I have a partner who is incredibly supportive, positive and encouraging in whatever I do. However, much as we might have shared interests and values, my ‘thing’ is not necessarily his ‘thing’, he doesn’t share my interest in art, journaling and creativity, two of the things that give great purpose and meaning to my life, he has different interests. I have missed the connection, which I’m used to having with like minded friends with who I can share ideas, who I know ‘get me’, who I am, and my interests, we ‘get’ each other.
There are so many different ways in which we connect, in which we find connection, share and experience connection, connection that brings us context, meaning, purpose, value and shared experiences that mean we feel truly and deeply seen. Its with all these thoughts swirling around in my head that I came to think of the theme for this years journal project. An opportunity to dig deep into the idea of Connection in all its different forms and how that deeply influence our lives, our experience, our wellbeing, our happiness.
This journal project is a result of my thought process. Make of it what you will. Make it your own. Use it as a jumping off place to think about…
What Connection means to you
How it affects and influences how you Live Love and Create