art of accomplishment

Connection: A State Beyond States

Art of Accomplishment

We talk a lot about connection in this podcast — connection with ourselves, our emotions, our relationships and with the world around us. It’s essentially what we’re pointing to in every topic we discuss. In today’s episode, we talk about why that is, and how orienting toward connection in all aspects of our lives facilitates sustained expansion, increases our capacity, and puts us in touch with something bigger than ourselves.

“And the truth is that you're being in connection with yourself and others is not dependent on anybody else because being in connection with what is doesn't require anybody else.”

What We Discuss in Episode 50:

2:13   Defining connection as a "meta state" or a state that encompasses all states.

17:31   How being connected affects productivity and effectiveness in a team.

23:39   The physical sensations in your body that let you know you're in connection.

28:45   How to be with tension and still feel deeply connected to yourself.

32:48   Why connection is all internal and completely within your own locus of control.

38:16   How to drop back into connection when things get tough.

**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Transcript

Intro: The truth is that you being in connection with yourself and others is not dependent on anybody else because being in connection with what is doesn’t require anybody else.

Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves, and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease. I am Brett Kistler, here today with my co-host, Joe Hudson.

Brett: Good afternoon.

Joe: Hey, Brett. Nice to see you again. We just got to hang out, and we get to hang out again for this.

Brett: We just did a three-hour coaching group call, and it was really good.

Joe: Yeah, what a group! Super fun.

Brett: Started out with an exploration on tension, we walked through a process of connection and a lot of discussion around it. It seems like connection is really alive for our conversation right now, and you have been wanting to do a podcast on connection for a couple of weeks. This seems like a perfect way to lead right into it.

Joe: It dawned on me some time ago, two or three weeks ago, that we have something called the connection course and we have never done a podcast on connection. That can’t stand. We have got to do something about that.

Brett: There was a moment in the call today where somebody had a tension between being in the curriculum and being in connection, and the question that came up in my mind was what the difference is between this curriculum and connection, if at all. It really seems to me that whatever it is that we have ever done in your courses has been aimed towards connection, even identifying those ways we think we are in connection but are actually pulling us out of connection, like caretaking, for example, and power versus empowerment. All of these things that get in the way of us in our life all seem to point back to actually being in connection.

Joe: I hadn’t thought about it that way, and it feels very right to me. I think the thing about connection is and the question that comes to mind is what is connection. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, and I think it is one of those things that is a meta state or a state that can encompass all states. What I mean to say is that I can be in connection when I am sad. I can be in connection when I am crying. I can be in connection when I am angry. I can be in connection when I am having sex. I can be out of connection when I am doing all of those things.
Though it is a felt sense in the body, it is at the same time not a particular state. You can be connected with somebody when they are angry and when they are sad. There is somebody out there I know who is like what, you can be angry with people when they are angry. Yes, you can. I promise.

The way I think about connection is that you are being in touch with what is in the present. This is what is. I am in touch with that. That leads to an expansion, more energy. It puts you in touch with something bigger. It is literally feeling beyond yourself so that you are in touch with something bigger, and I think one of the things people get confused about a lot and I hear this in the language. It is like: I am out of connection with this connection because they blah, blah, blah. The truth is that you being in connection with yourself and others is not dependent on anybody else because being in connection with what is, to be in contact with what is, doesn’t require anybody else.

Brett: Interesting nuance there is you can even be in connection with a sense of disconnection. I have seen this happen in groups often where everybody is subtly pretending to be in connection because they want to be in connection in the group or in the team or in the family, in the relationship. The moment somebody says I feel out of connection right now, all of a sudden a bunch of relief happens. Then there is actual connection. Somebody had to recognize and honor the fact they are feeling out of connection and being in connection with that sense of disconnection begins the process of coming back into connection.

Joe: We saw that this morning in our call. We saw that exact same thing happen. You can even be in connection with the state of being out of connection, which is, you are right, mind bending.

Brett: Given that all of this work comes back down to its root level connection, what makes that so important to you? What makes connection the thing that you I could say specialize in in a sense? What about it makes Joe Hudson work focused on connection? There is self-love in it, self-trust. There are all these different pieces, but something about connection seems to be your personal focus.

Joe: That’s a great question. Even when we do long courses, the first principle is connection, connection, connection. The name of the course is the connection course. It makes sense that would become part of what I am known for, but the way it happened is that I very much like living my life principlied. Instead of asking how I make a particular situation I am in work out and strategize over it, I say these are the principles I live by and if I live by them, no matter what the situation is, that’s going to create the best outcome for me.

Connection is the most effective principle I have found. It is the principle that if that’s my bottom line, if I am a business and my bottom line is connection, my life is the best life I have experience in all of the experiments of having different bottom lines. There are, I would say, three stories that I could tell about this that describe how I came to that or what made me see that so clearly.

The first one was Case who I know you have heard me talk about. Case, I met him in a business context, and I was in venture capital at the time. I was so serious. I was trying to make everything work, and I was so serious about everything. Here comes Case who is consistently laughing. He is not investing, but his job is to fix companies. He is doing the same serious work, but he was doing it with so much love. He was creating deep relationships everywhere he went. He would go into farming communities where he stuck out like a sore thumb, and he would be making friends with conservative farmers. He would be making friends with people in the city.

Some people didn’t like him, no doubt, but he was just constantly creating this connection around him. He was incredibly effective in his work. I noticed you can do the same work and you can be happy in it. You can feel capable in it, and so I started saying I want some of that happiness. I started working on my own sense of connection and connection with others. As that happened, I became more effective. All of a sudden there was less management and there was more collaboration.
There was more trust. There was more understanding of one another. I understood customers better. I understood funders better. I had better relationships with all of them. All of it, everything became easier as I started focusing on connection. That was the first big hit that got me.

Brett: This might be a rabbit hole right now, but what were the things you had been focusing on? What was your attachment to those things that made it that you had to see all of this evidence for connection to be able to follow it?

Joe: That’s a question. I was interested in results. I was interested in proving my value. I was interested in showing people I was worthy. There was also a huge amount of responsibility. I felt very responsible for the money I was care taking. That’s where my head was. I wasn’t thinking that it was possible to enjoy myself and then that would make me effective. It was just a limiting thought I had. It wasn’t until I could see an example. There are very few examples of somebody living in really deep connection in the business world, and then when you see it, you are like oh crap. I can do that. That was it.

Brett: You have got this example with Case, a person you met, and you got to see live out a life that was focused on connection and also be successful in business. It wasn’t just some separate thing. What else? How else did you come to this?

Joe: Then I ran into a study. There is a Harvard study that is the longest lasting in the States. I thought it was in the world, but it is not. Apparently there is one in England that’s longer lasting. They have been studying what started off as a group of young men, and they studied them through their lifetime. They got all sorts of data. Now they are studying their offspring and wives apparently. They are studying all the facets of life, health, and every year they come in and do questions.

What they discovered through this is that a happy, successful life is one that’s in connection, generally. They are measuring it as external connection. They are measuring it as quality of relationships. Are you in relationships that you care about and that are invigorating? Which I think is a result of connection, I don’t think you can be in those relationships if you are not in connection with yourself. People aren’t in inspiring, loving, supportive relationships if they don’t have a certain amount of self-connection as well. This reduces heart disease. This makes you live longer. This makes you happier. It doesn’t particularly say you are going to be wildly financially successful, but it also says you have a successful life on whatever terms you want that success to look like. It is the number one indicator of a long life and happiness, these high-quality relationships.

Brett: It reminds me of other studies that went into populations in certain parts of Italy and some parts of the US. They compared a bunch of variables, including diet, exercise and health, and they found places in France and Italy where they were eating poorly by certain standards. You could say standards are different for different people, but the factor they found that was most important is these were communities living in multigenerational households, having a lot of family and community around them, and that was what they gleaned as the most important factor, the connection to a social fabric.

Joe: I have read some of the same stuff. I remember some of the studies showing that there are multigenerational households where they don’t live long. It is the ones where there are these healthy relationships where people feel a sense of belonging to the community and a sense of connection. Again, it is not I am just with the connection. It is I feel in connection with the community.

There was even one in the United States. It was Pennsylvania. Why are people living so long here? That’s another thing they found. That was another one. I was like okay, now I have some evidence, and there is a whole bunch of psychological evidence once you start looking for it, like ACES and all sorts of things that point to this. ACES are adverse childhood experiences.

Then the final story was we had this health care company we were invested in. There was a woman who was the CEO. She was an excellent leader, and she was brought in to grow this company, but it was really a turnaround. She hadn’t particularly done a turnaround before. Usually if you are working with somebody who is doing a turnaround and they are successful, one of the things they do is just fire half or all of the people within the first six months and kind of reestablish the business. She didn’t do that. What she did was establish connection. She had surveys that went out weekly to people. She was constantly connecting with the customers and with the employees, and making sure people were happy.

I had heard about that in things like Southwest Airlines. Back in the day, they would talk about employees first, customers second, shareholders third. If your employees feel that sense of connection with the company, then the customers will be happy. If the customers are happy, then the shareholders will be happy. It’s how they formed that business. But to see it at work and to see the turnaround that happened, the inspiration the people had and how much everybody liked working with her, she successfully in two years got buybacks to the company.

It was a tremendous thing to watch her. She was more prioritized on that. As a CEO, what you notice is you have to focus on two or three things. The thought process is I focus on these two or three things and everything else will work around it. She was maniacal in that sense of connection and feeling connected and being connected herself. It was amazing to watch that turnaround.

Those were the three things where I was like this is a tool that works, and it doesn’t just work as far as effectiveness. It works because it also creates happiness. It creates joy. It creates a long life. Then there is this realization that happened, which is how much I would sell my connection for. How much would I sell my ability to connect for? You think about that question, and first of all, it bends the brain a bit. But how much would you sell your ability to connect with people for? Or let’s say sell half of it, so it is not like you would be zero. If you could sell half of it, how much would you want to get paid for that?

Brett: You mean to give up that ability to connect and have somebody else walk away with it as a superpower.

Joe: Exactly. I want half of your ability to connect. It is going to add on to my capacity to connect. How much is that worth to you? How much are you going to charge me?

Brett: That is a mind-bending question. Assuming I know I could rebuild my sense of connection, my ability to connect.

Joe: No, you can’t.

Brett: Then hell no, no amount of money because with half of the ability to connect and infinite money, my life is still going to be half or some weird curve more out of connection than. It doesn't matter how much I have. You could even replace that with other variables, too. Give me the hottest wife or something or the most power. If I am out of connection and I have a lot of power, then that’s not good for anybody, definitely not for myself because the dictator is just as trapped as everybody else.

Joe: When I saw that, I was like wow. This is the most priceless thing, and what’s interesting to me is I will often ask people I am coaching long term what the bottom line is of your life. What’s the bottom line? What’s the thing that if you have that and it is amazing how many people come to some version of connection. If you really think about how I know at the end of my life if I have a lot of something, what’s that something?

We all know it inherently. We all know it inherently.

Brett: You just imagine the idea of heaven or the way a lot of religions imagine heaven, or people imagine what it would be like if I got everything I ever wanted. They would be like maybe some golden streets and stuff, but it basically would just be my family and friends surrounding me and being in harmony, peace and connection. This really points to what you were just saying with a lot of the people you have asked this question of. The responses tend to be some intermediate need or want that underlies all of it is connection.

Joe: That’s right. It takes them a while to follow the train to the station, but eventually they are like it is some version of connection.

Brett: I wonder if that would be true for all social mammals.

Joe: All social mammals, I wonder.

Brett: Social being the key word.

Joe: If you want to work in a team, it is the number one thing as well. A team that doesn’t feel connected to one another and doesn’t have that sense of connection is not going to perform as well. They are going to have trust issues. You have to have the trust for the connection. People who feel deeply connected have the trust and they are going to be most effective. All of it, it all seems to come down to that. It is this thing that you can feel anytime, anywhere. It is really just a noticing, a choice that you are making.

Brett: If all of this boils down to the connection and not even just your work but the way that we are talking about the core human need, that makes for a really simple principle as you mentioned with the first principle being connection. It is simple enough you might as well repeat it three times and say it connection, connection, connection.

Joe: I actually repeat it three times because you start with connection, you stay focused on connection, and you end in connection. A principle means for me that I can act on it. Things aren’t going well. I focus on connection. If things aren’t going well with my customers, I focus on connection. If things aren’t going well with my marriage, I focus on connection. I start my interaction with connection. I end my interactions with connection. That’s why I have it three times.

Brett: Which makes for a really good heuristic too because at any moment you can ask yourself if you are optimizing for being right or for connection, if you are trying to convince somebody or trying to connect with them, and if you are trying to change yourself or to be in connection with yourself.

Joe: That’s it.

Brett: Let’s assume our audience is somewhat sold, and they are like okay, connection, connection, connection.

Joe: I say to our audience to not be sold. Do not be sold. Test it. Go live your life, and every time you have a choice that’s hard, choose connection and see what the hell happens. Don’t trust me. Do it.

Brett: Great. How do we do that? How do we get into connection? What does that look like?

Joe: Don’t ask me hard questions. Okay, go ahead. Sorry. How do you do that? That’s the weirdest thing. Connection is almost the opposite of doing. It is more of a sense of being. I think there are lots of ways to be in connection. In the course, in the connection course, we talk about VIEW. Those are hacks. If I am vulnerable, it puts me into a deeper sense of connection. If I am impartial, if I can be with what is, that gives me a deeper sense of connection. If I can be with you in empathy or myself in empathy, that gives me a deeper sense of connection. Wonder, awe, those things all help us get into connection. There are those kinds of hacks you can use.

There is also just a noticing that you are always connected. There has never been a moment in your life that you weren’t connected. You depend on so much to survive. Every thought you have had is connected to some other part of the world influencing you. There is also just a noticing that can happen. That’s how it works in my system. There is a choice in that moment. So that’s my internal state of connection.

My external state of connection, VIEW works very well, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder. Also, there is often a question of what it is that if I were in that person’s shoes, how is that I would want to be interacted with? The question is how I want to interact with that person mostly deeply. Usually if you mind those two wells, they become the same well. You will start to see how I would want to be treated and what my truth is the same if you get down far enough, meaning specifically I want the person to stop being an asshole. If I were them, I would want me to just walk away.
Eventually, I am going to get down to I am going to say I am hurt, and I am going to be vulnerable. They want to actually see that I care about them enough to be able to do that. Eventually you get down there.

Brett: That’s an interesting point here because often we project if we were in their shoes and we imagine what they would want if we were them, we will project what we would actually want, which might actually be some form of disempowerment or care taking that we have conflated with connection of love. What you are speaking to is getting asymptotically closer, closer and closer to the core of what the actual connection is, which might not be stopping being an asshole. It might be loving that person to own their truth with me. If I was this person, I would want to hear what I have to say but in a way that is in connection, loving and owning my own shit.

Joe: Yeah, that’s right. There is a triangulation piece there, not in the psychological triangulation sense of the word, but there is a triangulation piece. The Sufis have this great thing about the golden rule. They would say do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I hope that person is not suicidal because if they are suicidal, they are going to kill everybody. That is the thought process. There is a triangulation between do unto others as you would like others to do unto you, and what is my deepest truth? What is the thing that I feel most deeply in my own want or my own truth?

Brett: How do you know if you are in connection with this truth?

Joe: There is a visceral feeling that tells you when you have a sense of connection, and this is the weird part. It is, like I said, a state that is beyond states. If you close your eyes right now and you feel a moment that you are sad and disconnected and sad and connected, you can feel a moment when you were working at your computer and you felt connected and you were working at your computer and felt disconnected, that’s how you know.

Brett: This reminds me of the way you talked about meditation where you can be meditating and enjoy it and be in connection with yourself or you can be meditating and torturing yourself. There is a difference. If you sit down to meditate, there is a way discomfort can arise just because there is discomfort in your system. Now you are connecting to it, and you are allowing it to be felt. It moves. That’s how you tell, I guess, if it is connection. It moves without you having to move it.

Joe: Yeah, it moves, and there is a feeling of expanse and of beyond yourself that comes along with it. Then if you try to get there, if you are trying to get connected, if you are trying to get to expanse, if you are trying to get to movement, then you are out of connection because you are not being with what is. You are trying to get it there.

This is part of that practice of connection. There is a practice to it. On one level, connection is always there, and there is no practice required. On another level, there is this practice to it.

Brett: This ties in a lot to the work we do with the voice in the head and the internal conflict. When there is a part of us that we feel in conflict with, getting into connection with it is actually in some sense tracing that part’s connection back to ourselves. The part of me that’s a perfectionist and judging me, how is it trying to take care of me and love me? Getting into connection with that part and seeing them connect back to the same source.

Joe: If I am thinking about it in a group context, we have a group of people in this coaching thing we are doing, and to me how deep real connection is built and constantly goes deeper, deeper and deeper is the following: We have some sort of tension. We allow that tension to be there. We embrace the difficulty in that. We work through it. We get back to love. We get back to a sense of safety, love, and then repeat.

The more that you go through adversity together and get back to some way of feeling connected and loving and supportive of one another again, the more that connection happens in a group. You can see this in soldiers who have been really, really tough things and have trusted each other deeply. You can see that sense of connection built, and it will stay for a lifetime. Similarly with teams where they have gone through really tough stuff, and they have made it through, they feel this deep sense of connection.

It is no different internally. Internally, if I have the different parts of myself, if I embrace them, if I embrace the friction between that from my fear, the part of myself that’s scared or the part of myself that’s angry or the part of myself that’s greedy, if I can be in that tension, embrace that intensity and get back to connection, to love, to supporting the different parts of myself, I am just a more connected being over time.

Brett: It seems very importantly related to the podcast we did on embracing intensity rather than creating intensity. It can be possible to interpret what you are saying what my team and I need right now is to go through something really hard together. Let’s go through green hell, like the military does. That does create really cohesive teams. Also, I had in my childhood a lot of times where I was taught to build character, and then I carried from that a habit of putting myself through shit to build character.

One of the nuances in the call we had this morning was the tension will arise and will already be there. What I notice you doing in this work is just allowing the tension to be there. You are not trying to drag it up. You are not poking to bring it up unless it is right there at the surface already.

Joe: I will say that being able to be in the tension without wanting it to go away. It is just like we were saying on the call this morning. If you were to listen to a symphony with no tension, you would be like I don’t want to listen. I don’t want to watch a television show without tension. I don’t want to have a course where there is no tension. It just takes all of the life out of it.

As soon as you feel tension, any of us feel tension, we want it to go away. It is this really interesting phenomenon that we want it in the long run, but we don’t want it in the short term. One of the great tricks of connection is to be able to be with tension in a connected way. How do I have that connection and still feel deeply connected with myself?
Brett: What makes it that we don’t focus on connection? If it is this effective and this baked into our mammalian nervous system, what makes it that we lose the plot so frequently and end up going in some direction orthogonal to connection?
Joe: We get the idea that our happiness is in the future mostly based out of fear or our demise is in the future, but we get focused on the future, potentially the past, but mostly I think it is the future. We are out there thinking I can get happiness if I do X, Y and Z or I can get connected if I do X, Y and Z. If I am famous, then everybody will love me. If I have money, then I will feel safe.

We are constantly sacrificing the connection of the moment for the idea that we are going to have something in the future rather than thinking if I am connected in the present, people are going to want to be around me, want to support me and everything I am going to want to achieve is going to happen easier. My accomplishments are going to happen easier because I have a community of support.

We are constantly giving up, out of fear sometimes and you can be connected with your fear, which changes the way fear is, but through that disconnected fear, through that in the future thinking, then we lose track of connection. It can’t be that simple.

Brett: That’s interesting. Something I pulled from that is if you are holding your connection with yourself hostage or making it conditional over something happening in the future, then you can never actually have it.
Joe: That’s right. Carrot it on a stick.

Brett: You can’t be connected with yourself if it is dependent on something that is not actually present right now already. Interesting.

Joe: Right. You see people do this all the time. I will be there when I quit smoking. I will be there when I have the money. I will be there when so and so loves me. You are there right now.
Brett: Even if it means being with there the fear of your future happening or not happening or your past following you or all of the things.

Joe: You see it all the time, especially in my line of work. People get everything they wanted, and they are still miserable. You see it all the time. They had this idea of what was going to get them the thing. They did 20 years of schooling and then another 20 years of career to have everything, the checklist, the husband, the money, the power, the notoriety, everything, and they are like I am fucking miserable.

Brett: Ironically, I have found myself being more miserable the more I have what I think I want and then less miserable, more engaged, and more connected when I have less of what I want, and I am just living moment to moment because that’s all that’s available to me. The times I was traveling through Africa with no money and didn’t know where my next whatever was going to come from were actually some of the golden moments of my life.

Joe: Yes, that’s right. There was a great billboard in LA that spoke to this at some point. They were basically saying why it is that our best memories are when we are young and without money. It was a bank one. Speaking to that same thing, one of the ways to get out of connection. If you think about those times in your twenties, there is this deep sense of connection with life. Oh my gosh, with food and the people around you. If you are in some sort of thing that you are constantly looking at the future, it is very hard to feel that sense of connection. You can do it. You can look in the future and feel that sense of connection, but it takes some doing.

Brett: Another thing that’s interesting here is that the way we have been talking about connection is it is all internal. It is something that is within your own agency, your own internal locus of control. I think a lot of times when people think about connection, it is a two-way street. It takes two to tango. Some might imagine if someone wants to break connection with you, you can’t stop that and then the connection is lost. Then that impacts you. You are like I lost this connection and so I can’t be as happy unless I get it back in the future. Then the conditional thing begins again.

Joe: There are two parts to that. The first one is the locus of control being yourself. That’s true to a point and then very not true to a point. The not true to a point is not where it is dependent on somebody else, but you can see that it is a gift. There is a deeper level of connection that occurs when there is surrender in you. To think you are in the locus of control often makes it so that you forget that you are here by the grace of God. That’s a way to say it. You are here by the grace of the laws of physics, the universe, nature and existence.

Brett: That can even separate you from your reality.

Joe: That can as well. That’s true. Putting yourself in the center of control can separate you from your reality as well. What’s interesting is in almost anything those thoughts can both put you out of connection and into connection, depending on how you approach it. The thing you are saying that’s also very true is that you can’t bring connection with me. I have to agree to it.

It just happened to me recently. I had somebody who had been a client who just did something that hurt. We found out intentionally and we talked about it. She did it to hurt me because the love was scary. The thing that was happening was scary for her. It reminded her too much of love that she felt where she got abused, and so she was having this trauma response. She did this thing, and I was like I know you know that you are hurting me. I know you know that. I expressed some anger, sadness and hurt. At some point, I said I am not going to let you stop me from feeling connected and love for you. I am not going to do that because that hurts me. You are doing all of this stuff. That’s fine. I am not going to stop loving you. I am going to stop doing business with you because I am not going to allow that damage to be done again, but I am not going to stop loving you. That was a huge event for her.

Sometimes you can’t say that to people. They have decided they are out here.

Brett: I can imagine in a romantic context that might sound a little stalkery. You can leave me, but you can’t stop me from loving you. I will be loving you from over here. Every time you think about me, remember I am over here loving you.

Joe: If you say it like that, that is kind of creepy.

Brett: But that’s also the way some people might take this if that’s the energy.

Joe: That’s true. Yes, they are going to take your connection in lots of different ways. There are going to be lots of projection onto it. Some people will think it is needy, I am sure. Some people will think it is stalkery or whatever, but that’s their reaction, their own presence and their own love. That’s their own sense of connection.
What you will notice is any person has the capacity to get to a certain level of connection, and that’s their okay, now it is getting more intense. I am going to lift up. I am going to get into the phone. I am going to go watch television. I am going to go do heroin. Whatever it is, there is some level of it that is within their normal range, and then they are going to react to it. That’s why it can’t depend on anybody else. It can be all very silent.

For this particular case, it was really important for me to say it because of the relationship that we had, but there are other cases. I am in a grocery store. I see somebody and feel a deep sense of connection. I don’t have to say anything about it. I often walk around the world feeling a tremendous amount of love for people I don’t know. I am not walking around going I love you. That’s not happening.

Brett: It is like meta meditation. Nobody in the world can stop you from doing a meta meditation in which you are sending love to all beings. That’s your own internal experience. That’s beneficial for you, and it has an impact on all of those you have contact with in some sense due to the impact on your consciousness. Nobody can stop you from doing it, and you aren’t crossing any boundaries.

Joe: Right. That’s part of all religions. That’s a very Christian ideal, too. Love thy neighbor. There is a freedom to it. We somehow think that freedom comes from having a set of ideas that are right and that we never have to leave. What I have noticed is the truth to freedom is far more about being able to feel and love everything, feel and be connected to everything.

Brett: Which would include falling out of connection in the most ungraceful way. Let’s say somebody leaves me. I drop out of connection with them. I leave in a rage. I go do the heroin. I get a bunch of self-criticism, and the spiral. How do you get back into connection from there? I know I am walking into a trap with that question with you.
Joe: This is kind of where grace and surrender come into play, meaning that on the same it is not until you think about wanting to be back in connection. It isn’t until connection presents itself that you remember you are even able to. If you are completely not present, there is no way, but as soon as you think I could be present again, presence has already occurred. Connection has already occurred as soon as you think you want to be in connection.
There is a way in which connection is always there and it is always available. If you start trying to get it, you push it away. That question, I always answer with it: How do you drop a hot frying pan? There are things you can do. You can meditate. You can get in your body. You can exercise. You can eat healthy foods. Those all will help. They all point to it for you. You can do meta meditation. You can pray. You can do community acts of service. There are a thousand things you can do. On some level, you also need to see that it is always there and always available because the effort takes you away from it.

Brett: Once you are back in it and once you recognize that it is something there all the time, then what do you do?

Joe: Then the best thing is gratitude. It is just to be thankful to it. That’s the easiest thing. Even right now, if you feel into this moment, you can feel your connection. It is always there, and you can be grateful for it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. That was what the kindergarten teacher of my daughter always used to say. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Brett: This reminds me of a question I have heard posed that was a scientist to university students to ask themselves throughout the day. Am I conscious? Then they did some studies on that after they had that practice. Asking yourself the question increased the sense of feeling conscious in the moment or being aware and less on auto pilot. It sounds very similar here. Am I noticing that connection is a thing? Once you have noticed it, rather than trying to judge it and figure out how you can improve it or what’s wrong with it or missing, just noticing there is my desire for connection and feel gratitude for it and let that deepen it. Then you can see what happens from there.

Joe: Even the desire for connection is a desire for connection. Beautifully said. Brett, what a pleasure! Both of our times together today.

Brett: I loved this one.

Joe: Me, too. Talk to you soon.

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