There’s something lovely about this word.  It calls up images of people relating to each other, really engaged talking and laughing, making great eye contact.  Perhaps a less visually exciting image: a person who is deeply connected to her inner self, mindful of her feelings, actions and words, living more consciously. This type of connection is an outcome of practices that invite you to meet yourself: yoga and conscious physical practices, psychotherapy, and meditation.  These activities channel your attention into the now moment, where you can witness with a compassionate eye exactly what the mind-body is up to.

I just read an in-depth interview with a psychiatrist about new treatments for depression and the apparent lack of science (and success) involved in current diagnosis and treatment.  It’s really a mess out there with about 27 million Americans on antidepressants and no good news about the long term effects.  Most of these drugs were approved based on studies that lasted six to eight weeks.

Depression is an absence of connection, a broken connection.  The large range of symptoms occur when adversity overwhelms us.  The practices I mentioned are like an immune booster for adversity.  The mind needs to learn focus, compassion, and present-centeredness.  The body craves a focused physical challenge.  This gives mind and body an ‘adaptive stressor’.  When our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to risk danger, chase down food and succeeded, the brain experienced a huge emotional boost.  When we test our strength, focus, balance and vitality, we get this good feeling reward.

I invite you to look at all the ways you connect (or don’t) deeply with yourself and others.  Nothing surface or superficial will satisfy.  No matter how much scrolling or ‘friending’ you do.  Notice how you feel in your mind and body after being on social media for an extended time.  Are you connected with yourself?  Where is your attention?  Can you still feel your body?  If not, time to walk away from your devices, and connect.  Come home to that unexplored territory – yourself.

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