I have been told my whole life that human beings are social creatures, that we are meant to live, love, and work in groups. In general, this concept has been socially and culturally accepted throughout time. It has survived and evolved as societies have changed, but the underlying desire to “find our tribe”, as they say, has stayed with us. At a high-level, connection is simply defined as “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.”
I have always struggled with my understanding and acceptance of this concept. I grew up as an only child in a highly volatile and abusive environment, so I never fully resonated with the desire to connect with others. In fact, I have always preferred the opposite. I assumed it was because I was a loner or an extreme introvert, but as I have progressed in therapy and through various self-help efforts, I have learned that I struggle with intimacy because I associate “connection” with pain. This includes my connection with myself, others, and especially with God. For a very long time, I believed that God forgot about me or never existed. I felt damned and lost. I became self-destructive. I pushed people away and never believed that I deserved true happiness.
Thankfully, I have been on a healing journey for quite some time now. And through that process, I have learned how to accept who I am and how to love myself compassionately and unconditionally. This, of course, is the awareness part, but I continue to use these teachings as an alignment reminder. My mind and thoughts tend to go back to my original download from childhood, and that can be a dark place. But now I am able to love myself back to the light.
I have also learned how to give name to the feeling of “shame” and therefore take away its destructive power. I am grateful for my therapist and every book and talk ever written and given by Brené Brown. They all helped to shape my new relationship with myself. However, where I had continued to feel unfulfilled—and frankly, terrified—was my connection to others and God. As an adopted Asian female in a Jewish American family, I never felt like I fit in. I grew up in a society dominated by western culture and westernized religious beliefs. For a long time, it was something that I just accepted.
When I was in my late 20s, a coworker-turned-dear-friend brought me to his New Thought Church, Unity on the Bay in Miami, Florida. In the beginning, I felt uneasy about sitting in a church and listening to a minster use the words “God” and “Christ.” But they spoke about forgiveness, love, acceptance, and gratitude. They also brought in speakers like Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Elizabeth Gilbert, Don Miguel Ruiz, and more. These are all people whose books, teachings, and energy have transformed my life. I viewed the church as an extension of my healing journey, but I always felt like a guest. It was too scary to think of myself as an actual “church member.” It was much easier to keep God at a distance.
Fast forward 10+ years, and in March of 2023 I became an official member of my beloved church, Unity on the Bay. Obviously, this metamorphosis did not happen overnight. Throughout this decade-long journey, I have participated in silent retreats, meditation challenges, sound-bowl healing workshops, and many other similar seminars. I even took several sabbaticals from the church (my ego’s effort to maintain God at arm’s length).
But recently, I chose to leave my secure corporate job and venture into the unknown, and then simultaneously, I felt this deep internal calling to reconnect with the church. I started showing up to Sunday service, I signed up for classes and workshops, and I started to lean into the community. Then one day, I no longer felt like a guest in God’s house, but instead I felt like a part of God (one of the Unity teachings—the Divine within). And I have built the most authentic relationships based on shared vulnerability and tears of growth and joy.
In working with our minister and by “daring greatly,” as Brené Brown would say, I recently chose to spiritually challenge myself and dive into the deep end of back-to-back abundance courses, which led me to accept my Divine Purpose: I gracefully teach Healing Truth to all, through connection, patience, acceptance, and transcendence. Brené Brown says, “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued—when they can give and receive without judgement.” Amen!
I never realized how much I was desperately seeking connection, even though I was always actively running away from it. I am infinitely grateful to Unity on the Bay, our loving minster, my dear friend who first introduced me to this New Thought world; and to our beautiful congregation for giving me the tools to help change my thoughts, feelings, actions, and my life.Leave a Comment