I spent last weekend at Kripalu Spiritual Center in Western Massachusetts. I had the honor of assisting my teacher and three scholars with a Tantra Yoga Immersion program. I spent time with wonderful teachers, dear friends, and a lovely group of students. The icing on the cake was getting to drive one of the scholars to the airport and to hang out with him for several hours before our flights home. It was a powerful and humbling experience. My heart felt buoyed up by the many hours of connection with people who embrace the same teachings that bring me great joy.
And then I came home.
I came home to laundry, grocery store trips, camp drop-off and work. I came home to normal life only I didn't feel normal within my life. I felt like a stranger in a strange land. Almost like I was floating over top, suspended by my uplifted heart.
Of course, I felt a huge sense of loss and longing for the depth of connection that I had experienced just the day before. My heart felt heavy and I wished for something different. I didn't want to leave my life behind - I love my family - but I did long for connection.
So I did what any normal person would do: I turned to social media. In an effort to feel real connection, I turned to the one place where I know I won't get it. Sure, I had a few meaningful little interactions with people from the program when I posted a recap and photo.
But something real, something deep, something powerful and timeless. The warmth of laughter, the sweetness of a hug. No. Not really.
It has me considering how often do I use social media in a lame attempt to make connection when I am feeling lonely? How often do I think I'm connecting when really it is just a hollow approximation of true connection?
True connection includes actual real time interaction - hearing people breathe, listening to their words, feeling their energy. True connection involves a sharing of a space between us, even if only for a few minutes. True connection is deeply soothing to our souls and healing to our hearts.
The hollow social media connection doesn't offer real time interactions. While it does help me feel more in the know about people's lives, it usually leaves me feeling more empty rather than more full. I often feel less-than and bad about myself when I get off social media.
I know this is nothing new. I'm sure you've experienced it in your life. But it felt so clear this week that it seems worth mentioning.
I want my life to feel full, not empty so I made sure to make connections this week. I called my dad for a belated Father's Day phone call, caught up with my mom, emailed with teachers from the program and stayed after yoga classes for the opportunity to chat with students. The result is that I still feel the disconnect from the lovely yoga community that we created last weekend but I also feel tightening threads of connection with the people in my real life. And that is what I desire.
What about you? How do you balance out social media connections with true connection? What will you do to build your real life interactions today?