How many of us feel connected? Really connected. Do we even know what it means? When I first became an actor I remember my acting coach telling me “Frank you’re not connected” I said “what do you mean?”
He replied ” You’re in your head. Get out of your head. Get into your heart and get connected.” I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. It took me quite a while to get it and once I did it made all the difference once I “got connected” What we seek as actors is this thing called connection. Without it “the acting” doesn’t work, and it’s the same in life. Connection means connecting with an inner truth. It’s about expressing ourselves from a place of authenticity. Without authenticity we can’t connect. Connection is what gives meaning to our lives. Without it we feel alone, isolated, and anxious. The problem is we live in a really disconnected world and I believe it’s getting worse. How many of us can honestly say that we’re connected to our loved ones, our parents, our kids, our co-workers, our community, to nature? I know so many families that can barely stand being in the same room together. Parents who barely spend time with their kids anymore. Couples that have no idea what the other is feeling. Expressing ourselves from a place of inner truth is scary. It means risking disconnection. Expressing ourselves could mean setting limits. Saying no to someone. It could mean saying I love you to someone and not know if they’ll say I love you back. It could mean saying sorry to someone, or forgiving someone. We have all stories going on in our heads concerning expressing ourselves. I’ve had people say to me. “oh my god I could never express that to my husband he wouldn’t know how to handle it.” Or “If I say no to people I’ll end up alone.” Or I can’t cry in front of my kids they wouldn’t respect me” and on and on it goes. The result is disconnection. We’re left alone with all this stuff we’re holding inside and not only are we disconnected from others but tragically we begin to feel disconnected with ourselves. So how do we find our way back? We have to recognize that the only thing holding us back are fears, which again are just stories. Stories that we’ve picked up from when we were kids. When I was a kid there was a lot of love but there was also a lot of dysfunction as well, just like in all our families. The thing I learned was to not rock the boat, to just accept the situation as it was, and especially to not express, anger. As kids the thing we seek more than anything is connection. Without it we suffer so we learn to play by the rules. One of the ways we learn to cope is to stop feeling, by shutting off what’s in our hearts and moving up into our heads where we rationalize, analyze, and make decisions about how we should behave in order to maintain the peace or maintain connection. These survival mechanisms carry on as we enter adult life but they end up costing us because we end up relating to the world with our heads and not with our hearts. The distance from our head to our hearts is only about twelve inches and the layers of fears we have in between can make it seem like an impossible distance to travel. But once again all those fears are just stories. Change your story, change your life.