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A lawyer, mother, writer and founder of Connected AU. I am on a mission to fight loneliness and ensure that everyone in our community has access to connection.
My journey creating Connected AU has been rewarding and exciting.
September 10, 2021
Several months ago, there was a lot of talk around the experience of languishing, I did a social media post on it and the concept was popping up everywhere in mainstream media. Languishing was given as the name for the ‘blah’ feeling so many of us seemed to be experiencing in 2020/2021. A New York Times piece perfectly surmised it as “the niggling feeling that something just wasn’t right. It isn’t burnout, people still have energy, and it wasn’t depression, people didn’t feel hopeless. It was just a lack of joy and hope. Aimlessness. A state of stagnation and emptiness.”
Rather than jumping out of bed early we are lying in scrolling social media, instead of feeling motivated to get started for the day we are unenthusiastically going through the motions, and instead of looking weeks and months ahead with anticipation, we are filled with a feeling of ‘nothingness’.
As a collective, this feeling has not dissipated. And for many, it has developed, or is on the path towards developing into depression and anxiety. Personally, I feel the weight of immense instability and uncertainty for our world, community, families, and friends. Coupled with exhaustion from creating a national initiative, it is safe to say I have been feeling less than average mentally and physically.
To manage my mind and body more effectively I have been exploring ways to simply ‘feel better’, listening to audiobooks like the phenomenal ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear, ensuring I take time out to go for walks outside, trying to eat a more balanced diet, all the standard things one turns to. Pleasingly this exploration led to me mindfulness, a concept not unfamiliar to me but one I had never truly considered. Mindfulness is simply the basic ability to be fully present; aware of where we are and what we are doing without being overwhelmed by what is in and around us. It is such a powerful tool that practising it can literally remodel the physical structure of our brains. Mindfulness, developed through meditation, can be one of the most effective, life changing skills we can learn.
Enter, Liv Downing.
A psychologist and meditation teacher I discovered who also has an innate passion for all things connection. Liv is calm and gentle to speak with, after 20+ years of working in mental health and wellbeing, she explained that connection is the number one thing we can work on for our health.
She recounted science that supports the fact that the quality of our relationships, with each other and within ourselves is the strongest predictor of human thriving. To meaningfully connect with ourselves, we must be mindful.
Liv spoke of professional and personal experiences that fuel her work, and her desire to remind people that we belong to ourselves, to the world and to each other. I immediately knew I wanted to add her to this “Things we love’ blog, as the concept behind this blog is simply for us to share things with our community that will be positive connections and contacts for them. And Liv is certainly a positive connection for anyone to make.
Her own journey to connection was along the path of mindfulness and now she runs regular mindfulness and meditation workshops in schools, community groups and workplaces. She also does individual coaching and counselling and teaches public meditation classes. Her first children’s book called You are Loved is all about connection and is due to be published by Allen & Unwin in 2022.
In addition to her work professionally, she volunteers her time in her local community and is the co-creator of two community initiatives based on the science of connection. The first is an annual community Christmas Carols event, in memory of Liv’s late Mum https://www.lakesidecarols.com.au/ and the second is a parent wellbeing program at her children’s school http://www.albertparkps.vic.edu.au/index.php/more-info/parents-connect
You can listen to her podcast, YOU ARE LOVED on apple iTunes –https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/you-are-loved/id1519345397
And to her free meditations on Insight Timer – https://insighttimer.com/livdowning
I recommend everyone, whether you have been languishing, depressed, anxious or simply on a mission to live better, to take a look at what she does. It could be life changing.
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