One of the driving considerations of my yoga practice is connection: connecting with breath, connecting with my internal landscape, connecting with my physical body. Going within during meditation, feeling the expansion within after stretching and breathing through a practice – these are fundamentals that I love to incorporate into my daily experience. 

But today I’m thinking about external connection. As important as connecting with self is, it is no less necessary or important to enjoy connection with others. I am so blessed to have a multitude of friends in my life – near and far. Some with whom I have bonded long ago and currently have less in common, some who are there for the daily ups and downs, some who naturally comfort, some who challenge me, some who never fail to crack me up. Time you share with a friend allows you the chance to relax into yourself and into vulnerability, both your own and that of others. I encourage you all to make hanging-out time with a friend a priority this week!

Sometimes I overlook the myriad opportunities I have for connection in my daily experience. When we allow ourselves to really see and acknowledge a stranger or acquaintance, we author a beautiful exchange of energy that benefits each person and essentially so. Neuroscience recognizes that when we lack a sense of connection with others, our bodies respond with increased stress hormones, and decreased immune and cardiovascular function. (see Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, John Cacioppo). 

Cacioppo also suggests that the difference between lonely and nonlonely adults is not in having more or fewer social skills, but in how it is that we use them. People who tend towards loneliness often feel threatened and lack trust, unsure of whether they are included when positive things happen to others. 

If we choose to observe and act from a place of commonality, even if based only on that we are each sharing this gift of life, this human experience in time and space, wouldn’t we bask in connection at every turn? Both externally and internally, as our participation in the larger community reasserts our own unique role in the tapestry of the whole. 

For today, why not see the person rather than their role in our own plot? The amazing story behind an unknown face? All the brothers and sisters that surround us on our journey … and take the time to make a real connection.