Docking is different to simply parking. A connection is made when something docks: whether it is a ship’s hawser tied to the quay or a module locking onto a space station.
Docking says you are now in a stable and secure landing place where you can offload, download, and also upload whatever you need to then continue on your journey. Nowadays when driving an electric car, one is given a map/app of where there are recharge facilities. In the same way, it is an important aspect of personal wellbeing that we know where to go or who to be with in order to dock, recharge, and replenish.
It is an individual thing. It isn’t enough just to follow and go along with the crowd, especially if it doesn’t leave you feeling re-energised and filled with renewed enthusiasm afterward. Docking isn’t about ‘switching off’ to worries or, just voicing complaints and concerns. Docking should make a person feel that they are getting stocked up with whatever they need to then tackle them.
Just as a red warning light can start flashing when we need to recharge or re-fuel, we get the emotional or mental equivalents. One such ‘red light’ is a feeling of loneliness. Another is a feeling of overwhelm. When the emotional red warning light begins to flash, that is not the time to wonder where to go, what to do, or who to be with. A red flashing light says you need to dock soon before you crash-land. Like the driver of the electric car, you need to ideally have in place plans and options to recharge the battery.
If we take loneliness as an example, being with other people at random does not necessarily provide you with a docking station. Especially if they too are in need of the same – it can become like too many sockets in need of the same plug. People who need to hog the conversation and need to be heard are not docking stations.
Equally, someone in overwhelm feels they can’t ‘hold’ anything else – even to ‘hold’ a conversation, or a sense of ‘presence’.
In the book Lost Connections by Johann Hari, a comprehensive selection of possible ways to reconnect for wellbeing is described. They include feeling part of a community group that is fighting a cause you feel passionate about; being in nature; or immersing in a hobby, interest, or pastime.
Ultimately the greatest loss of connection is with ourselves – our spirit within – and whatever is truly and deeply meaningful to us… and so the greatest learning of all is how we make time for solitude so that we can be in what should be the best company and docking station of all – our own company.
Docking stations are very much an individual thing as we are all unique – it’s not like the same charger will work with every device. Therefore continue to be curious and to pursue newness: to keep trying out and to assess the feasibility of new docking stations for your Route map. People. Places. Projects. Passions. Purpose.