by Amber Tucker: With the winter season around the corner, we tend to crave the coziness of family traditions, gatherings with friends,
and spending time at home with those we’re closest to. It’s also true that the pandemic has made this year a difficult one to stay connected, and the last two months of 2020 are no exception.
Remember that while we may feel lonely at times, none of us is going through this alone. Although the ways we catch up with each other this season may look less like sharing in-person food and festivities, and more like phone and video calls, we can adapt and find inspiration in the resilience of our relationships.
By paying attention to the ever-present potential for care, kindness, and trust, we can kindle the warmth of connection—with ourselves and with all to whom we extend our love.
By paying attention to the ever-present potential for care, kindness, and trust, we can kindle the warmth of connection—with ourselves and with all to whom we extend our love. As mindfulness teacher Elisha Goldstein writes, “Mindfulness helps us to wake up to the ‘choice points’ in our relationships when we can decide to connect a bit more by listening, communicating, and allowing our hearts to open.” Ultimately, we can know we are inherently connected not only to our dearest ones, but to all other beings, no matter the distance. Here are three ways to celebrate connection this holiday season.
How to Cultivate the Joy of Connection
1) Take time to connect with yourself. One of the gifts of mindfulness meditation is that touching in with ourselves will nurture our capacity to enjoy fulfilling relationships with others, too. Follow this guided practice from Barry Boyce for connecting to yourself and to the peace available in this moment.
2) Show your loved ones that you care by really listening (whether in-person or virtually). Deep, mindful listening involves paying attention without judgment to the person who’s speaking to you, while holding the intention to remain genuinely curious and caring about what they are saying, writes David Rome. Open your ears, as well as your heart, with this five-step mindful listening practice.
3) Widen your circle of care to encompass more people. “We are all interconnected. This is the truth of how things are,” says Sharon Salzberg. She guides us in this gentle practice of loving-kindness, helping us to expand our compassion to include more of the people in our lives, and even to those we’ll never meet.