4 Ways To Build Meaningful Connection

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you that my word for 2018 was connection. I wrote about the frustration I've felt about how busyness and schedules and how life seems to keep me from what I most crave: connection.

I told you that I wanted MORE when it came to my friendships and how our home was used to build community.

It was a bold intention, I suppose, and I had no idea how it would all play out. But, as I stand here at the beginning of February, I'm excited. Connection is finding me.

Here's 4 things I'm learning. I'd thought I'd share because maybe it might be of help to you too. 

Ask someone to dinner. 

So many of us wait on the invitation. We don't take initiative. We forget our home can be used for good. Or that meals can be part of the sacred everyday.

Not everyone has the time and space of life to do this, I know. But, I am. Having a small child means that my evening routines are full of structure and predictability. I cook more than I ever had in my life. Why not include one more? (And no need to make it fancy. Home cooked meals are so rare after all even if it came from a box!)

In the past couple of weeks, our supper table has included friends and colleagues alike. Though it of course means more dishes to clean, I'm always glad the night happened. 

Travel to see people if you need to. 

Costs. Work. And schedules mean that we can't always travel. But if you were to ask me one thing that I want to spend my extra income on, it's always travel. I will spend money on travel any day if it takes me to visit someone who builds up my soul.

Two weeks ago I did just that. When Kevin asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, "a trip to Oklahoma" and with a whisper I also asked, "By myself?" And that's just what I got: a couple of days to be around people who feel like family to me without the distractions of caring for anyone else.

And I was all the better for being HOME. 

Notice those who care about connection like you do. 

Isolation is an easy disease to take on (as I was doing). It's so easy to think "you're the only one" when to comes to your longings. But if you open your eyes to conversations and spaces you find yourself in you might just notice new people. Or people who were there all the time who are hoping for what you are too.

In the past two weeks, I've sat across the table from two friends, both of whom I've known for a long time, sharing with me their same frustrations about the "I'm busy" culture. We've nodded our heads together. And we've echoed how much we want more for our how we spend our days with delightful people in them!

So what a great place to start: the people I don't have convince that connection is so important!

Surround yourself with art.  

Art can often say what we do not yet have words for yet. Go to any play. Read poetry. Watch a documentary. View an art show and you'll often walk away with breathless awe of what you're feeling.

For as much as I knew "I wanted more connection" I wasn't really sure what it looked like.

But, recently I've found myself watching a lot of the BBC show, Call the Midwife on Netflix. Though I've watched seasons of it before, I'd never finished the series and I'm glad that now I am. Each episode is full of people working together, depending on each other, wading in the deep waters of grief, loss and love without limits.  Though it's set in the 1950s and 60s and so much about our culture is different, I can't help but watch it and long for what is present in the show in my life too. This seeing is exactly the gift of art! We see.

What about you? How are you living into your intentions of the New Year? And if connection is something you're hoping for, how is it going?

XOXO

Elizabeth

P.S. Like what you've been reading with me? Want to share with a friend? Here's how.