From the Publisher - May 2016





““Connection is the energy that is created
between people when they feel seen, heard andvalued—when they can give and receive
without judgment.”
—Brené Brown

It has taken me a few months to thaw from my winter doldrums. It seems they had me in a deep freeze this year. However, since my awakening with the longer, lighter days and breezes filled with promises of sunshine, one theme keeps repeating itself in my life like a mantra on a broken record: Connection.

Ten years ago, I was at a women’s retreat on Daufuskie Island. It was deep and filled with many personal ah-ha moments. I remember standing on the beach with 30 other women, encircling a bonfire. Our task for the evening was to come up with one word for our lives at that moment. Mine was laugh. At that time, I was busy building this publishing company and my children were young. I was toppling the scale at an all-time high weight. I literally felt weighted down 24/7. All I wanted was laughter.

When I laugh, which is my favorite thing to do, I feel completely free. I don’t believe stress and worry can exist in the same moment as laughter. I’m not referring to a nervous laugh or a snicker. I only had one word to state to the 30 women and the world, and my one word was laughter. Oh how I yearned for laughter—gut-clenching, can’t breath, eyes watering, giant guffaws. Laughter was my ticket to freedom—my miniature escapes from the heaviness of my life.

That was then. Now, I have a lot of laughter in my life, thankfully. Perhaps I manifested it by making it important to me. Or, maybe it’s because my company has aged, my children have aged and quite, frankly, I have aged, which has proven to be better than expected. My priorities are different these days, clearer, too. If I were standing around that bonfire tonight my word would no longer be laughter. My one word now is connection.

It took me a decade to work through laughter. I hope it takes me a lifetime to work through connection. You see, I have come to realize that life is lonely without true connection. It took numerous topsy-turvy, emotionally unavailable relationships to understand the importance of connection. In some of those relationships, I was the one emotionally unavailable, and in others, it was them or both. This happens in all types of relationships.

As I look back all the way to childhood, I realize I have craved connection, lacked connection,  prayed for connection and at times, desperately needed connection when it was nowhere to be found. But I always put on a tough front—I’m good, I’m strong, everything’s fine.  Inhale. Exhale. Finally, at a half a century old, I realize I’m only as good as the relationships I have—business, friends, family, employees, acquaintances.

Now that I’m clear about my word, the question is what next. My plan is incorporating it in every part of my life. I envision more letters, more “how ya doing” phone calls, more personal chats, more “thinking of you” texts, more weekend getaways with friends, more small dinner parties, more visits, more long walks that include long talks and more hugs. I walked solo for three years. I don’t want to anymore.

I recently watched the movie Burnt. It inspired me. Some would say it’s about a screwed-up chef trying to earn his third Michelin star. What I saw was a man who lost his way because he lost connection with those around him. He was pathetic. In the end, connection was the only way to find his way back.

I sat down one Sunday at the dining room table about two months ago and wrote my Aunt Net a letter. She was in the nursing home and not doing well. I wasn’t sure if she would be able to read my letter, but I never doubted that she would know I wrote. My cousin would read it to her. I wanted her to know she’s important to me and that I was thinking about her. It possibly is the last letter she ever received. She passed away three weeks ago. There are few regrets in connection.

The key to connection is opening yourself up to all it has to offer, which stops some because there are a couple of side–effects. Connection comes bundled with trust and vulnerability—my kryptonite. It’s worth it, though. Connection is a lot like a smile. You put it out into the world and it comes back to you. The more times you put it out there, the more it comes back. Connection is the grounding of souls; it’s what tethers us together. It is truly fulfilling.

My word is connection. What’s yours?

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