Connection has taken on new meaning in my life since moving away from the home I knew in Colorado for 11 years to a small rural town in Missouri.
I went from a job that involved lots of meetings with large groups and managing teams of people to spending majority of my days working from home and spending time with the baby.
I had developed a busy schedule and network of people. And while I was constantly connected, I was on the go and onto the next thing almost always. I wasn’t paying attention to the connections being made specifically. In hindsight, they were there in abundance. And I was really valuing them even if I didn’t recognize it specifically in the moment. But, the gift I’ve been given by moving to a remote town is to be so far away from that “norm” that I can really see its value.
Choosing a different lifestyle and location has already served us in so many ways, but it’s also been an effort to find our balance. Connection, for me, is one of the things that’s risen as an obvious balancer.
As I reflect on what my daily life used to look like and what it looks like now, meaningful connection is the piece that sifts out as the thing to really hold onto and devote awareness to.
When we moved, I made a commitment to myself that I would not lose touch with those who mean so much to me. Talking on the phone is not my favorite thing. So, maintaining friendships-especially across the miles-has not been my strongest skill over the years. I have a few longtime friends who are like minded, and we’ve accepted each other for this quirk, but I’m ready to revise this way of being for myself. While I still understand it for others, connection is something I’ve come to realize is unquestionably important to my soul, my creative spirit, and what grounds me. Avoiding it spoke to my penchant for introverted retreat, but connection equates to so many vital things for my well-being that it’s become an significant value I now seek and hold.
If you’re an introvert like me, there are so many ways to hold onto meaningful connection. While I highly recommend pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and picking up the phone….or sending a silly video message (thank you Kayla for that recommendation)….there are many ways to serve the value of connecting to others.
One way I’m seeking out connection in an important place in my life is sending along this tiny little painting to a longtime friend for creative collaboration. Becky is an artist in Minneapolis. We met almost 10 years ago at an art retreat that I almost didn’t go to. I had a panic attack the night before I was scheduled to go. I was just a few months out of my divorce and had lost myself. I knew in the depths of my heart that this retreat was a rung on a ladder back to myself, but I was scared. I went, with encouragement from loved ones, and Becky was the first person I met along the travels to get there. We returned the following year as roommates. We painted a weekend away together at a workshop with Sabrina Ward Harrison a few years later. We’ve kept in touch off and on, but mostly we’ve had little contact. However, the conversations and time we’ve had together has been some of the most honest, soulful, and accepting moments.
This is a person I need to re-connect/stay connected with.
We spoke of this collaborative effort of pen pal paintings years ago. So here it is. We’re kicking it off. Connection through paint and snail mail. That’s the best.