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January 4, 2012 at 9:11 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Reconnecting With Yourself

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

Each year I visit India, a trip that involves a long plane ride and some definite sacrifices in regards to "western comforts."

The work is hard. The people I care for, the "untouchables",  have overwhelmingly difficult issues, many of which seem hopeless and I usually see about five times as many patients as I would in a typical work week at home. And I haven't even mentioned the language barrier or the dreaded "Delhi belly," a food-borne infection which can leave its victims begging for mercy. 

Despite all this, however, I have grown incredibly fond of this experience. I actually look forward to the time of year when I step on that plane and get off to experience India once more. Because of the experience there are even certain smells - exhaust and rotting trash and spices - smells that few would describe as pleasant, but that bring me to that special place emotionally.

I know.

It all sounds kind of funny, but for me this time is about reconnecting with myself. 

Like a piece of machinery that is "off kilter," my time in India leaves me feeling "calibrated" and uniform again. Touching these "untouchables" brings meaning to my personal mission and helps me to center on what is really important. When I return home, though exhausted, I actually feel more effective in my family, work and even in my mundane day-to-day obligations. 

This blog will explore the concept of reconnecting with your own center.

When I go to the zoo, I find myself feeling sorry for the animals.

I see eagles that were meant to soar high above the trees and lakes, swooping down to grab their fresh meal out of the water instead confined behind a net and given food that is already dead. 

Lions pace behind glass and eat out of a bowl. These "kings" once raced across the plain in the heat of the kill. 

The eyes of zoo animals look empty, as if those days are long forgotten.

What do YOUR eyes tell? 

What have you been called to do in life? 

Are you relationship? Are you raising a family? Do you serve within your faith? Is your work a calling for you? 

The question of "calling" is an important one to answer. Once you answer it, you must also ask yourself - are you meeting your goals and truly working toward this calling? 

Unfortunately, it is here that many of us fall short. We find ourselves in a "rut". Time passes and we don't know where it goes. "The kids grow up so fast."  "Time flies by."  We, too, lose the thrill of the "hunt".

Like it or not, we all have obligations which we must meet. We can't go off and live a life of constant self-fulfillment. We must maintain our shelter and earn our food. There are people that depend on us. Escaping problems and obligations should not be your aim. We must find time for both the things we need to do and the things that lift us up, recharge and renew us. By making time for your goals, your heart and your spirit, you are actually enabling yourself to overcome problems and meet obligations with more ease and less dread.

How can you begin reconnecting with yourself?

Really, it doesn't need to be complicated or costly.

Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Position yourself to see things from a different perspective. 

If you are constantly surrounded by others, try going solo. A periodic road trip alone to a place you have never been, a day alone in the woods, find a place to be alone with your thoughts and strong in yourself. OR consider including someone whom you can engage in deep conversation. Communicate this need to your partner and reciprocate support for their own efforts to reconnect.

Set a reasonable challenge and go for it.

If you feel that you that time is passing you by, make a deliberate break. Step out of your comfort zone. If successful,  repeat the experience! If not, don't lose hope. Just look for a new angle.

Hopefully you will return to your life with a renewed spirit, reconnected with yourself once more.

Live, and live well!

-Dr. VanWingen

Photo Credit: lanuiop

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  • That is so very true. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I really love this concept, thank you Dr. VanWingen! It's so true. To recharge, this next year, my husband and I are thinking of taking some weekend camping trips. Or take days where we do not use technology....sometimes it's refreshing to be disconnected from everything. :)

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