It’s no wonder, as artificial seems to be the new normal.
We have created a world where ‘artificial’ is now becoming mainstream. In 2017 we witnessed a robot being granted citizenship of a country and that same robot being named the United Nations Development Programme’s first ever Innovation Champion. In Japan, Akihiko Kondo, from Tokyo, has married his Gatebox Virtual Robot in the first of what is now a trend of people ‘marrying’ their artifical intelligence ‘companion’.
Now we have the addition of COVID-19 to the mix, and the need to physically isolate from other humans. We are not permitted to hug, or to kiss, or to shake hands, or even just to touch one another… and recently I had a first (and last) date with a man via Zoom. Not exactly the ideal way to create a connection with a potential partner.
It’s no wonder people like you and me are feeling disconnected.
I was speaking with a dear friend yesterday who, because of health considerations, has not left her apartment since the initial lockdown in April of this year — that was six months ago. She said,
“It’s not like I want to commit suicide or anything, but every day I wake up and it’s the same thing over and over again, and I think, “what’s the point?””
So, with all of these challenges facing us, how do we reconnect to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to our passion for living?
How to reconnect again?
I made it my mission today to come up with a list of just five simple steps that each of us can take every day to feel both a little less disconnected, and a little more connected to what makes us the amazing beings we are.
1. Remember how special you are
“Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result — eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly — in you.” This is a quote from Bill Bryson’s book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.
While I realise we need our cell phones and laptops to earn a living, feel the glorious freedom that comes from taking time to deliberately ‘unplug’ — no phone, no email, no laptop, no television, no radio… Just ‘be’… Curl up with a book, or go for a walk… Stand barefoot on some grass, or sit by the water… and even if like my friend you are not able to leave your house, take a moment to lie down, quiet your mind, and simply let your mind wander through lovely memories… and if it starts to stray into unwanted territory, just take a deep breath, relax, and again bring it back to a beautiful memory…
3. Rediscover your “why”
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote of his time in the concentration camps during WWII, and noted that the primary element that made the difference between whether people had the will to survive or not, was that they still had a “why” — they had something yet to do… They had a loved one to see again, a project to finish, a book to write… What is your “why”? Why are you here? It’s amazing how inspiring it is to know your passion and how connected that makes us feel to who we are and to the world in which we live.
4. Find just one thing you can do by yourself that makes you smile
Even if you happen to be in lockdown and stuck in a hotel as I am at the moment, for me, it was taking my love of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and creating a series of blogs about them — I call them my ‘Elegantly’ series: Elegantly Built, Elegantly Vintage, Elegantly Mannered... When life feels a little too big — or too artificial — I think back to a time when life was slower, when respect and manners were a normal part of life, and now I am able to focus those thoughts and actually write a blog post about them. That makes me smile…
5. Feel appreciation for your ‘now’
We all know a version of this one from every personal development program we’ve ever done, but it’s often difficult to find appreciation for anything when one is feeling so disconnected from everything that matters. Rather than attempt to give gratitute for the big stuff, just sit by yourself and take five minutes (you can even put a timer on your phone if you like) and focus on appreciation for all the little stuff… Think about how comfortable the chair is, how wonderful it is to have a roof over your head, the lovely collection of books on your shelf, the drawing your child did and how proud they were of it, the lovely trees outside your window that are replenishing the air we breathe, the feel of the fabric on your skin of the clothes you are wearing… and little by little, come to a space of feeling appreciation simply for breathing in… and breathing out…
Getting ‘un-disconnected’ starts with re-connecting to ourselves
…and sometimes it is all about finding just one small crack of sanity and connection in anotherwise chaotic world, and making that the foundation for building a new and better life moving forward.
‘Artificial’ may be becoming the new norm, but Nature will always find a way, given half a chance, to connect to what’s real… and so will you.
Sending love from here to there…
~ Bella St John