Finding Peace and Grounding Through the 4 Pillars of Connection
“I’m doing all the work, but something still feels off.”
I’ve said it to myself 1,000 times, and I hear it from my clients often too.
It’s such a strange, nagging feeling that is hard to shake.
We know we should be happy and grateful because we have so many blessings, but there is a ball of anxiety in our chests and a walnut in the back of our throats that makes it hard to fully be present with celebration and gratitude.
We feel untethered and ungrounded and get stuck in our heads about what it could be: Is something wrong with me? Do I need to change something? Set a new goal? Get more accomplished? Why won’t this feeling go away?
That feeling that something is off-balance can often trigger a spiral of negative thinking, cause us to slip into self-judgement or victimhood, or even get irritable and start taking it out on the people around us. And then another spiral begins-- the shame spiral. The one that starts with the thought, “I have been working on this, this shouldn’t be happening” and then devolves into us beating ourselves up because we know better and we are working so hard and why won’t it just go away?!
I’ve learned that the feeling of being off but not being able to pinpoint the cause often points back to one thing: lack of nourishing connection.
Healthy connections are like cords that are constantly nourishing and replenishing us, we cannot survive without them because we would have no way of refilling our energy. Connection keeps us balanced and rooted. It provides a sturdy foundation to build on, and keeps us in our bodies, in the present, and feeling safe and empowered. It is the container through which we can hear our intuition and our inner guidance.
In short: the kinds of connections that we want to be constantly cultivating keep us grounded in ourselves, tuned into our needs and our intuition, and energetically nourished.
I like to think of connection like a table with 4 main pillars: Self, Spirit, Nature, and Community.
When one of the pillars is neglected, it’s like a leg of the table is disconnected and we become lopsided. And lopsided plays out in our lives as anxiety, overwhelm, self-doubt, fear & negativity, and getting stuck in the spiral of thoughts and emotions.
Here is a rundown of what each of those legs represents:
Connection to Self-- Consistent check-ins with our physical, mental and emotional needs is the ultimate form of self-love and self-care. If we aren’t nourishing our bodies with food and movement and caring for our mental and emotional health, it is so easy to lose ourselves and get swept away in the chaos of the world around us. Ask yourself: What do I feel right now? And what do I really need right now? And carve out space to feel through your feelings and meet your own needs. This one is really foundational to all the others. Connection to self can be achieved in so many different ways, but some of my favorites are through journaling (try my 21-day Journal Guide if you need some help getting started), going for walks by myself with no music or podcasts, and practicing yoga.
Connection to Spirit-- Remember where you came from. Overwhelm and victimhood and getting lost in our thoughts comes when we lose sight of the fact that we are spiritual beings living a human experience. We have the Divine in our DNA. We are made of the same stuff as the stars and the Earth. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, almost all are based on love. Connecting with Spirit (or God) means connecting in to the universal love that is in us and around us and that reminds us that we are not an accident, we are not alone, and we brilliant and majestic AF. How could we possibly play small when the force of what created heaven and earth loves us and is behind us working for us?
Connection to Nature-- This one is especially important for those of us who live in cities. Our lifestyles have taken us out of the natural world and planted us in tall buildings and surrounded by screens all day. No wonder we feel ungrounded and chaotic; we are absorbing endless streams of information and demands (and EMF!) coming through our screens. Nature is so healing. Its cycles, its dependability, its calm strength makes us feel grounded and abundant and supported in ways that we cannot create on our own. An afternoon hiking in the woods or sitting in the sand can do so much to get you out of your head and into your body. It helps remind you that the moment is temporary. That you are PART of nature. It helps you cleanse your energy field of all the noise so that you can hear yourself, hear God, and hear the promise of nature: that you can trust the seasons of life, the way everything works together and works itself out.
Connection to Community-- As humans we have tribal instincts that translate into an inherent need to be seen, heard, and supported by others. But our modern Western culture is so rooted in individualism that we can often feel like we are alone, that we cannot ask for help, and that we have to figure it out on our own. But that is unnatural for us and makes us feel isolated and strips us of a sense of belonging. Connecting with community can be so simple as calling a friend or volunteering at an organization that means a lot to you. It means being a little vulnerable, peeling off your masks and letting people see the real you. It means finding external support systems that uplift you and help you grow and flourish. And if you feel like you don’t have a community that supports and nourishes you the way that you would like, then this piece means going out and creating it by joining groups, going on retreats, or finding events that align with your interests and going out on a limb to get to know new people. Time spent with people who have love in their hearts and a genuine desire to connect and uplift will always stop the spiral and bring us back to what matters.
Whenever you feel those feelings of anxiety and overwhelm creeping in, create space to pause and reflect on your 4 pillars of connection. Is there one (or more) that isn’t being nourished? Is there one that jumps out to you as something that your soul is craving?
It is important to remember that simply pausing and reflecting isn’t usually enough. We must not only create the time and space to make the connection, but also being consistent and following through on the intuition or guidance we receive as a result of making the connection. There is so much magic in the follow-through, because that is what creates self-trust.
It is nearly impossible to be nourishing and perfectly balancing all 4 pillars all of the time (and I would never want you to attempt that unattainable standard of perfection), but setting your life up in a way where all 4 pillars are allotted time is helpful. Even so, there will be seasons when one pillar needs more nurturing than another. It doesn’t mean anything, and there is no judgement around it, it is just the nature of our evolving needs.
Our responsibility is just to bring awareness to them, check in and be honest with ourselves about where we need more connection, and then build trust by going out and creating the connection we are craving.
If you have trouble managing your thoughts and emotions and feeling like you are consistently getting caught in a spiral of over-thinking and emotional overwhelm, private coaching may be a good fit for you. Set up a free call so that we can get to know one another and create a plan to move you forward into a more vibrant, confident life.