• Crysta

A New beaT

Lifetimes ago, in a body that I have long since regrown, I mastered the art of disconnection. I learned to float above myself, live outside myself, to roll beyond. I credit that, my ability to escape, to disconnect from my body, as a soul saver. I could switch it on and switch it off with ease and float between here and not with grace. I was skilled and discreet and most wouldn’t even know I was gone. A body taking the brunt of whatever cold hell the situation had to offer and a heart and soul that were free and flying and untouchable. It was a talent and a strength and I practiced and refined it. Disconnection saved me from trauma but it also became a useful tool for avoidance, for conflict, for the slightest sign of discomfort. And, like most things when they become the default, disconnection stopped serving me.

Disconnection became a habit so ingrained that it went from being a secret game of hide and seek to days and weeks where I felt unanchored and listless, vaguely aware that something wasn’t quite right but without the wherewithal to place it. A dull and aching melancholy, or a slight homesickness, like the missing of a childhood friend or a brother or a sister or someone who really knows you and what it’s like to be you. A tired but can’t sleep, searching but can’t find, lonely but can’t love kind of vibe. A little outside, a little left out, a little off balance, a little too much. Like an elastic with all the stretch gone. All in the background and playing on repeat like the shitty soundtrack to a B movie. I couldn't place the tune and I didn’t know how to change it. I kept searching outside of myself for the thing that would change it, the thing that would soothe it. The thing that would bring the background to life and colour it with vibrancy and texture and that would pull me from a supporting actor in a life that was happening to and around me to a starring role in my own production. The right house, the right husband, the right job, the right friends, the right dreams, the right life. If I could just get the pieces right, the movie would be better, the soundtrack more tolerable, the fog a little less thick.

It never worked. Nothing soothed or sated, nothing was enough, nothing lasted. Stale popcorn. Until I realized that the shitty soundtrack was called "disconnection" and that it was on my stereo and it belonged to me and it was a thing I did, consciously and unconsciously, on repeat and that I had been playing the stupid album since forever because at one point in time this was the record I needed most. My realization around this was gradual – bit by bit in different areas of my life. At first I identified it as a thing I do at work. Great. Part of my leadership work, a masters project, something to work on, a couple of KPIs and we should be fine. And then I realized it was something I do in relationship. Oh. A little bit more work on that staying present in conflict piece or on articulating your needs Crysta. And, it’s always a two way street so there’s that. And then I started to see it in how I handled stress. Introvert, isolate, withdraw, numb. Numb. Which led me to my beloved wine. Wine was the equalizer, the clutch that made the shift, the relax without the effort, the social without the anxiety, the ballsy without the balls, the cool without the natural, the liquid courage, the bad day eraser, the liberation in a bottle, the responsibility reliever, the false connection. The hard stop.

The hard stop.

The antidote for disconnection is of course connection. It’s learning to come back to my body, to come home to my self. To sit with my self, to live with my self. Right things, wrong things, good things, bad things. All the things. It requires conscious effort, mindful practice, patience, persistence and compassion. It means I have to show up for all of those moments that I skipped out on – especially the hard, ugly, uncomfortable ones. The ones that make me want to run, fly, escape, whatever. Good days, shit days, mediocre days. All of them. And it means I have to check myself each step of the way to make sure those old habits aren’t still ruling. When the record is stuck or the CD is skipping or whatever the streaming analogy is, I need to do a manual reset. And, when you have been playing the same shitty soundtrack for longer than you want to admit, it’s a bit of work to feel the beat and the groove of something new. It takes a minute.

It's ironic that something as simple and innate as connection to self feels as difficult. The thing is though, it isn't. It's just about remembering that we know the way. A reminder to be patient, take some space and let the mind get quiet. To listen with a whole heart and allow connection. Like really feel it. Deep in the bones, at the base of the spine, the bottom of the heart, the full of the lungs. Feel the itch and the cramp and the yell and the scream, the ache and the throb and the breath in between. Feel the whisper and the promise and the joy and the gratitude. Root down. Rise up. Know that we are never so far gone we can't come home.

Come home.