I still remember standing outside visiting with people after church. I could feel the warmth of the sunlight on my skin, but I couldn’t feel the compassion or understanding of those around me. It felt like an invisible curtain appeared right in front of my face as I talked with them — you couldn’t see it, but you could feel it. An invisible barrier laced with the belief that no one cared, that they couldn’t understand.
And to be honest, they probably didn’t. I’d recently lost my dad, and even those who had experienced loss couldn’t express their sentiments in a way that I could feel. Somehow their genuine concern got lost in translation.
They had already made it to the other side, to a place where their grief was no longer felt at the same depth as mine. They were no longer standing in the very same hole that I felt I’d been plopped down into.
I wanted someone who could crawl down into that hole with me and keep me company while I was there.
And that’s what I’d love to do for you — crawl down into whatever exact, uniquely shaped, and sized hole you are in, and shine some light, share some love, and walk beside you or sit with you with compassion.
Compassion is my specialty.
Just ask anyone who knows me, and it is often one of the first traits people will mention.
I care. Deeply. And it’s one of the things the people I’ve coached thank me for most.
And it’s also one of the things I’ve practiced most deeply in my life — learning to care for and be kind to myself.
Do you have that challenge too?
My guess is, if you’re here reading these words, you might also be on a similar life path of learning to offer yourself the same kindness and grace that you so readily offer to others.
And I’d love to work with you.
I’d love to shine a light in all of the dark corners and lift them up with evergreen grace.
I’m here for you. All you have to do is decide you’d like to open your hand and welcome some fresh love in.
Try it right now. Open your hands, palm up and feel the love that is here for you.
Now — let me know where your “hole” is located and I’ll be right over! With your favorite cup of tea and a beautiful strand of twinkle lights.
We’ll shine some twinkle lights in the darkness until you find the light and strength of your own. And we’ll do it, together.
You don’t have to go through any of this alone.
I’ve got you. And I care.
And that’s a winning combination.
Not that there’s anything to win. But the ability to feel better, even when the circumstances around you don’t change, is one of life’s greatest gifts. It’s something I’ve learned again and again in new and deeper ways, and continue to practice every day.
So if you feel curious about the idea of hanging some twinkle lights to bring a little light and ease to any challenges or losses in your life, I’d love to talk with you.
Schedule a time on my calendar for a free 30 minute, Shine The Light On Your Life call where we can talk about your dark hole of a challenge or loss, and what some possible twinkle lights might look like in your life right now, even if it’s just one teeny tiny bulb to add a little glow.
Schedule here: https://calendly.com/coachingwithcaitlin
In the meantime…here are 10 ways to feel more connected when you’re feeling alone.
Feeling disconnected and unable to connect with the people around you, whether because of loss or illness, is one of the most gut-wrenching experiences I believe we can ever have. I also believe that it is an opportunity to get creative and find other ways to support yourself in feeling connected.
I know from personal experience how hard it can be, and whether you’re in a tough place right now or not, I know these can help. They are my top 10 favorite ways to connect! Enjoy!
1. Take a 5 minute nature break.
Spend some time sitting or walking outside, or looking out the window. Just take some time to notice your breathing and look at what’s around you — notice the rocks, the leaves, any trees, or blades of grass. Even if you don’t FEEL anything, just keep noticing. Keep observing. And eventually you’ll start to feel more connected both to yourself and to your surroundings.
(Bonus: Make note of how you’re feeling both before and after your 5 minute nature session to build evidence for yourself if it’s helpful and to watch how your experience changes over time.)
2. Write down how you feel.
Science shows (and I’ve learned from personal experience) that naming your feelings can help lessen the severity right away. And then writing them down is an even deeper way to acknowledge your feelings and offer yourself compassion and support. Take 1 minute and write down as many feeling words as you can that describe what you’re experiencing.
(This can be a post it note, a note on your phone, the back of a letter or piece of mail, anything nearby will work.)
They don’t have to be complete sentences either, anything goes! Scared, alone, twist in my stomach, hard to breathe, numb. Whatever it is, write it down. See how you feel when the minute is up. Any better? Want to keep writing? If so, keep going. If not, move on with a greater sense of connection to yourself and awareness of your emotions and experience.
3. Do a Lava Volcano Quick Write.
This is where you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write down EVERYTHING that comes to your mind. And when I say everything, I mean everything! Every thought, even if it’s “this is a stupid exercise.” Letting whatever is swirling around in your head flow out through your pen onto the page (or note on your phone, etc.) is one of the easiest, and most powerful ways to set that energy free. Try it and see how you feel!
4. Connect with your breath.
This is one of the easiest ways to begin feeling more connected — and also one of the most challenging to remember or make time for…or, let’s be honest, find the motivation to actually DO. But it’s effects are far reaching and healing in ways our minds can only imagine.
To do this, simply stop wherever you are.
Notice your breath in, and feel what the air and oxygen feels like as it fills your body. Does your belly expand, your chest rise? Do you feel it in your neck, head, shoulders, feet?
Then exhale slowly and notice the physical sensations in your body there as well — does your chest collapse and relax forward, do you feel an openness in your belly, sleepiness in your eyes?
Whatever it is, just notice. And then at the end of your exhale pause, and wait for your body to naturally inhale. Follow this sequence for as long as feels good and notice how little effort it actually takes — that you’re not the one who has to MAKE breathing happen, that in fact, you’re the one being breathed.
5. Write a note to a friend.
Whether it’s a text message, an email, or a handwritten letter, reaching out to those we care about can have huge mental health benefits. But what do you do when you don’t FEEL connected? Reach out anyway. Send a kind word, a thought about how your day is going or ask for some support. If there’s something you need — ask. This is SO hard, I know from personal experience and it’s harder for some of us than others. But even if you simply write to wish THEM a wonderful day or to say “I’m thinking of you,” there’s some part of you that will receive that kindness too.
6. Write a love letter to yourself.
Take some time, set aside maybe 10-15 minutes and write out some of the things that are troubling you. Then, look through your list and imagine your dearest friend was experiencing these things. What would you say? What words of comfort or compassion would you offer? Now write “Dear, (and your name),” at the top of a fresh page, and begin pouring out all those loving and kind words of support to yourself. Allow yourself to gush as much as feels comfortable — and know that it might not feel comfortable at first, but that’s okay. The more you practice this, the easier it will get. And before you know it, you’ll be connecting with yourself in an easy and compassion-filled way each and every day.
7. Listen to a song with a melody or lyrics you love.
Let the music wash over you. Get up and dance if you feel inspired, or sit and wrap yourself in a blanket and allow yourself to cry if they lyrics move you. Allow yourself to feel connected to the rhythm, the harmony, the connection of another person’s words and music, knowing that anything that artist could write or compose or sing about, is something they’ve experienced too. So if it moves you, know that there is a connection there. A life and a spirit of compassion and love. An empathy of sorts — being sent out through time and space in the sound waves of this favorite song.
8. Do a short loving-kindness meditation.
Find a calm and quiet place where you can relax. And sit down, or lie down and close your eyes. Call to mind the image of a pet or family member or friend who naturally makes you smile. Hold them in your mind’s eye and send them all the love and support that naturally arises. Do this for at least 3 breaths.
Then see yourself standing there next to them, and continue offering the same loving support, and any kind phrases or wishes that come to mind. “May you be blessed with peace / ease / gentleness / kindness / love / forgiveness / healing.”
Now, imagine that this friend or other person or animal needs to go somewhere else for a bit (they can always come back if you need them!), and see yourself standing there in the golden glow of this love, and all of the wishes and kindness you have offered.
Now spend 5-10 breaths sending even more love and support directly to yourself — this vision of yourself you’re holding in your mental movie screen. Offer her all the love and beautiful wishes you can and see how you feel.
Repeat as often as necessary, and as mentioned, you can always bring that loving family member or friend back if that helps make it easier to send the compassion and love. You’ve got this. And you’re infinitely loved. Allow yourself to step into that circle and receive some love yourself. You so deserve it.
9. Pet, snuggle, or play with a pet.
This can either be your own pet, or someone else’s. (And if you don’t have access to a pet, try watching a bird or squirrel out the window, or pulling up a cute animal video online.)
Connect with your pet — talk to them, pet them, invite them to sit on your lap if appropriate, stroke their fur, play a game with their favorite toy — anything that helps you connect. What do they like to do? Offering one of their favorite things and watching them enjoy it can help you feel more loved and connected in turn. And can even help spring forth some new feelings of joy and relaxation. Enjoy!
P.S. If you’re really struggling this might even look like sitting in a favorite chair with your pet on your lap or by your side, not engaging but just sitting together, looking out the window or staring at the wall. Do whatever feels best to you and fits your situation. You are so loved!
10. Sing a song.
I know this may sound silly, but there’s nothing like the power of singing a song to help you connect to the voice and the power within yourself. It’s like you connect to yourself through your song. Any song that comes to mind is perfect, or maybe a lullaby your mom sang to you as a child. Maybe you have a favorite song that always brings tears to your eyes or helps you feel relaxed and at home. Even if you don’t have a song in mind, just humming whatever random sounds or tones come to mind can help put your mind at ease and connect you with yourself as you notice the vibration and humming sensation in your body. Give it a try!
I hope this helps the next time you find yourself feeling low, or alone and like no one understands. There are so many other ways that you can connect with the people around you — but when all else fails, don’t ever doubt the connection you have with yourself, and the power of tapping into that with compassion.
I’m sending you so much love, and I’d love to know — which one of these ideas was your favorite? Is there one you feel like you could put into practice today or sometime this week?
Hit reply and let me know! I love hearing from you.
And as always, sending lots of love and many blessings your way,
P.S. You’re Invited…
I wanted to do something beautiful for us as a community, and so I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we had a virtual tea party!?
Join me August 1st at 3pm Pacific for a cup of tea, some journaling, Q&A and conversation. We’ll go wherever the wind blows so be prepared for an adventure!
All you need to do is subscribe here, if you’re not already, to receive weekly newsletters and the link to where we’ll meet at the designated time.
Make sure to bring a cup of tea (or other delicious beverage of choice) in your favorite mug, a cozy blanket, your journal if you have one and something to write with. Looking forward to it!
Hope to see you there!
three hearts, Caitlin