What does it mean to live in connection? It means I am connected to myself, I have intrapersonal intimacy, I know myself. I am aware of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I take responsibility for and seek to understand them. I am responsible for myself, and blaming my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on others is a cop out that dismisses me from personal responsibility. Likewise, I am not responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others; they are responsible for their own.

To live in connection means that I am also able to experience interpersonal intimacy, a connection between me and others at a fundamental level of being. I allow myself to be known, they allow themselves to be known and we are both aware that this connection is occurring. This level of connection is exquisitely deep, fleeting, and quite rare. My experience with this type of connection is of being suspended in a time and place where the world around us falls away, and all that is left is the deep, exhilarating, and sometimes terrifying experience of knowing and being known.

To live in connection means that I am willing to develop skills to listen to and understand myself and others deeply, and that I have others in my life that are willing to be known and to know me. Many believe they desire this depth of connection, yet few are willing to do the work it takes to achieve it. It is frightening to look at oneself, unmasked and vulnerable and it is even more terrifying to let others see our essence. It is also amazingly rewarding and awesome to be seen, known, and still loved.

If I am to live in connection with others it means I cannot shrink from the authenticity and vulnerability of them. I must value the courage it takes others to let me know them. In turn, I must not shy away from truly knowing them, honoring their journey, and holding their space with the sacredness it deserves. I cannot flinch if I am repulsed by what they have done or what has been done to them, because in those moments of true connection I must be able to support their truth, not indulge my own weaknesses and be able to love them more by knowing them for who they truly are. By knowing and connecting, we form meaning for our own lives and celebrate the lives of others.

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