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An interesting man said, not so long ago, ‘People are starving for connection.’ He meant modern humans in the industrialised world. This struck such a chord with us at HorseBack. We believe profoundly in connection, in all its forms, and we see, over and over again, that it is the vital element which so many people lack.
There are many reasons for this, and psychologists and sociologists and moral philosophers will talk you through them all. That’s an interesting study, but we sometimes like to look at the what, not necessarily the why. The hard fact is that many people on this green planet are disconnected: from their true selves, from the natural world, from purpose and meaning, even from each other.
Think of the mental anguish it causes when you are with another person but there is a gulf between you. There is a misunderstanding, a secret, a silence. That’s true pain. Yet all it is is two people in a room, not getting it. How can that produce an ache in your heart so agonising that you can feel it all over your body?
That’s the power of disconnection. It runs deep and it cuts hard.
The lovely thing about connection is that it can be learnt. Like all great habits, it requires a little attention and a little practice.
It starts with being present. When you are with another human being, or an animal, or in the glories of the natural world, stop and make sure you are really there. Don’t think about the difficult email you’ve got to write or what your boss said to you yesterday or how many jobs you have to do before your day is done. Be with that person or that creature or that landscape as if it’s the last thing you will ever do. Use all your senses: really listen, really look, really feel.
It is rooted in honesty. People get disconnected because they keep their shame secrets; most commonly, they put on a good front when in fact they feel as if they are falling apart. Everybody has grief and heartbreak; the more you are honest about those, the more you connect to other human beings. Because they have been there too.
And it canters along with gratitude. If you remember how lucky you are to have that friend or that other half or that dog or those hills or woods, you instantly connect.
There are lots of fabulously easy small tips that can help with connection. Concentrate on the things you have in common with someone, on the things you agree on. There’s a lot of divisiveness running around on social media at the moment, and it can make people feel confused and alone. Find your meeting point, your common ground. Look for what unites, rather than what divides.
And talking of social media, it’s not a bad idea to put down the devices as often as you can. Connect with the person in front of you, instead of a screen. Go out into the wind and the weather instead of staring at an app.
Check in with yourself, every morning if you can. Ask yourself how you are and what you need and what you love, just as you would ask a best friend. That’s a connection that will last you a lifetime.
Connect with little things, that might not seem very important. If you are cooking, really cook. Think about the ingredients and the taste and texture and all the love that goes into making a delicious meal. If you go for a walk, really walk. Feel your body, thank your body, sense the air on your face. If you are reading a book, read like you’ve never read before. Think of the miracle of language and the glory of seeing into someone else’s mind.
Connection is, wonderfully, everywhere. You just have to learn to look for it.

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We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.

We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.