Posts tagged ‘Connection’

Conscious Communication Matters ll By Dorothy Wallis

Conscious Communication Matters
By Dorothy Wallis

Your life is happening right now.  Will you take the opportunity to connect with those you love and care about?  Being able to communicate your thoughts and feelings is an extraordinarily high form of specialized functionality in human consciousness.  Skill is involved and many articles and books will outline all of the techniques of communication.  Yet, at the heart of worthwhile communication is the desire and willingness to connect with honesty, kindness, well meaning and love.  That can actually be a tall order.

When I ask couples “what is the biggest challenge with your partner?” the most frequent answers are, “my partner does not understand me,” “she/he doesn’t listen to what I am saying,” “I don’t know how to talk to him/her,” “I can’t get through to him/her” or just “we don’t communicate at all.”  Communication may seem like the simplest of skills and yet misunderstandings are common and can easily escalate from annoyance and frustration into fights.  Without compassionate conscious communication relationships fall apart.

Conscious Communication is not just for couples.  It is important for everyone. We are taught how to read and write however, we have not learned the basics of clear communication that expresses not only your thoughts but also the meaning and intention behind the words.  It is a skill and an art to cultivate.  If you want healthy relationships with family, friends and colleagues, it pays to be a conscious communicator.  Conflict and drama lessen.  You experience more understanding, sharing and intimacy with those you care about.  Constructive communication skills will give you confidence to express yourself clearly and give you an advantage in business or work environment.  You will attract friends and have happier long lasting relationships.

Consciously Communicate with Presence

What does it mean to Consciously Communicate?  Being Conscious is a purposeful act.  It means you are aware and present with the other person in an intentional way.  The ones you care most about are the people that you are likely to ignore or take for granted and they most likely do the same with you.  How can communication take place when there is a disconnect?

Communication is a two-way Connection.

There is always a speaker sending a message and a listener receiving it.   For a smooth dialogue to take place each person must be conscious of their part and be able to switch between roles.  It takes effort and concentration.  Think of it as a circuit that you are completing.  Both people need to actively and consciously participate.

Your Role as a Conscious Speaker 

Think about Why You are Communicating 

Are you communicating to express an idea, to relay important information, to express a thought or emotion, to share an experience, or to deepen your connection?  Are you speaking to solve a problem?

Communicate with the Intention of Connecting 

Be aware of the person in front of you.  If this is your partner or someone you care about remember your love for them.  If this is a friend or colleague, speak with kindness no matter what you are asking, talking about or discussing.  Always speak with integrity, honesty and respect.  Do you care about the impact of your words and how your words will be received?

Speak to Make things Better

When an issue arises between you and another person be honest about your true intention and purpose in speaking.  Are you speaking to clarify, to resolve the issue or dilemma, and to create a harmonious meaningful connection or are you retaliating and attacking?  Being contentious, demanding, resentful, abusive, or manipulative will alienate, disengage and create separation or worse amplify into a battle.  Is your ego involved?  Do you need to win?

Speak so People Will Understand

Great speakers are interested in the recipient and want to help them understand.  Speak the listener’s language.  It is the role of the speaker to convey the message in the clearest most concise form for the listener.  Doing otherwise would be talking just to hear yourself speak and not getting your message across.  Delivery matters.  Keep it simple.  If you go on and on you will lose the listener’s attention.

Relate Your Emotions as Well as Your Thoughts

Whether you realize it or not, your feelings are detected by those in your presence.  Allow yourself to speak the truth about what you are feeling.  Thoughts and ideas are important, yet your emotions reveal your interior dimensions in a way that thoughts cannot.  Sharing your emotions with those closest to you creates intimacy.

Notice the Sound of Your Voice

Pay attention to the tone and volume of your voice. Your personality is reflected in the tone, inflection, volume, and pace of your words and reveals your attitude as well as your mood.  Is your voice even, calm, nurturing, expressive, charismatic, persuasive, and easily understood?  Is your intention clearly expressed?  Shrill, whiny, loud, yelling, pleading, caustic, and piercing words will drive people away.  Contempt, resentment, and anger will distance others and undermine any attempts to persuade, resolve problems or create harmony.

Notice Body Language

The way a message is expressed helps the listener to receive.  Are you relaxed and engaged?  Is your body position cuing the listener that you are equal to them and not dominating them nor shrinking from them?

Pay attention to the listener.  Be present with them.  If possible, look into their eyes and notice their body language.  How are your words being received?  What does their body language say?  Are they bored?  Have they stopped listening?  Are they irritated?  Do their eyes roll as you speak?  Do you sense interest or curiosity about what you are saying?  If you are aware, you can adjust your words to help the person understand or you can stop and inquire about what is happening for them.

Your Role as a Conscious Listener

Listen with Presence

The role of the listener is just as important as that of the speaker.  Be fully attentive and curious about the speaker’s perspective.  Listen carefully to their words, take in the details and watch for subtle messages in their tone and body language.  Receive them as a fellow being with ideas, experiences, as well as struggles.

Listen without interrupting

Are you actively listening to the person speaking or are you waiting for your turn to share?  Hold onto your questions and assumptions.  Give them “the floor” and don’t interrupt.  Their perspective may differ from yours.  Difference can be exciting and sometimes turns to a sense of threat.  When you drop your ideas, open and receive their truth and honestly listen to another’s perspective, you don’t become “different.”  Antagonism drops away and a realization of the fundamental “sameness” can enter.  Their struggles don’t look different than your own.  You will reap the benefit as conscious listening soothes your nervous system.

Watch the Speaker’s Body Language

Watching the speaker’s body language will tell you a lot.  It will reveal information beyond what the words alone are saying.  Are they sharing a joyful experience?  Do their words match what their body is telling you?  A person’s words may describe being “fine” while their arms are crossed, their body slumped and their eyes gaze downward.  You sense something is off.  If you pay attention, you will notice the incongruence.  Is there more not being said?  Sense the emotions of the speaker with interest and compassion.

Listen to Understand

Be curious about their perspective instead of making judgments.  When it is your turn to speak, inquire or ask questions for clarity and to help both of you reach deeper into knowing the other. Be open to alternate ideas and viewpoints.

When someone has an Issue or Complaint Listen without Defending 

When issues or problems are brought up let go of defensiveness.  When you are defensive you are not listening to the experience or perspective of the other person.  Long explanations of your intentions give the impression that you are not paying attention to the other’s complaint or request and are only concerned with yourself.  It can sound like an excuse or that you are deflecting or invalidating the other’s experience.

Magical Tips to Improve all Relationships

Be Compassionate 

Sense what the other person is experiencing.  Have empathy and be supportive.  Help them to feel heard and safe.  If your friend or partner is hurting, they will not be at their best.  Receive their struggle and offer what you can.

Validate Other’s Emotions and Experiences 

When someone has an emotion, it is what he or she is experiencing.  It is the truth.  Whenever you tell a person not to feel or that they should not be having that feeling, you are invalidating their experience.  It is painful and causes people to question their reality.  It is dismissive and they may react with resentment, anger, and frustration.  They do not feel seen, heard or cared about.

Let go of Criticism, Blame and Retaliation 

Focus on your own issues and growth rather than on the other person’s.  Attacks, diminishment, digs, debasement, passive aggression, condemnation and threats are hurtful, harmful and mean.  It does not cause people to change.  Are you retaliating to punish them?  Resentment is destructive and creates contempt.  If you are hurt and want to understand, you can ask for clarity.  Listen with an open heart rather than assuming the worst.  You will learn more by honest inquiry than with blame.    

Give up Your Compulsion to Be Right

What is the point in being right?  Will your version of what is “right” change their truth?  Are you attempting to dominate or belittle someone with your opinion of what is right?  If you continue to batter someone with your point of view, what happens?  Are they happy that you corrected them?  Notice what it does to your relationship.  It is actually a form of violence.  Realize that there are as many differing worldviews and opinions as there are people on the planet.  Does it really matter that you went to dinner at 6:00pm on Saturday night or Friday night?  Let go of the little things.  Do you have a photographic memory of every word of a conversation?  Better to find out another’s perspective rather than berate them for what you believe is the “truth” about what they meant.  Be flexible and adaptable.  You can disagree without assaulting someone.  A difference of opinion does not make you or them less.  In fact, truly listening to different perspectives opens you up to a wider understanding of the other person.

Acceptance and Kindness create Harmony and Understanding

The more you are able to accept differences in others with kindness, the more harmony will enter your life.  The key to understanding is to relate to others as kin rather than enemies.  Everyone makes mistakes.  You will make mistakes and your loved ones will too.  Everyone has struggles, problems, times when they are up and times when they are down.  Compassion begets compassion.

Have Appreciation and Gratitude for the People in Your Life

Relationships are the most profound experiences in life.  The people that enter your world offer you a mirror into the innermost depths of you.  In the end your intimate connections with others is what you will cherish.

As you relate to others, you learn more about yourself and humanity.  Treat people as the gift that they are.  As you appreciate them with gratitude, you give yourself the gift of love.


Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is an International Spiritual Teacher at the forefront of the consciousness movement for over thirty years grounded in practices of meditation, family systems, relationships, and emotional growth.  Her work reflects efficacious modalities of alternative approaches to healing based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality.

As a leader in the field of emotional consciousness and the connection to mind, body and spirit, her compassionate approach safely teaches you how to connect to your body, intuition and knowing to clear emotional wounds and trauma at the core.  The powerful Heartfulness protocol empowers your ability to join with your body’s innate capacity to heal through holistic Somatic, Sensory and Emotional awareness.  www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com

Losing Connection through Connectivity ll Rich Brodt

Losing Connection through Connectivity

By: Rich Brodt

     An opinion is only that, an opinion. All opinions are valid as they are simply views or judgments based on one’s personal beliefs. Everyone is entitled to them. Everyone has opinions with which others strongly disagree. They are subjective, and certainly not conclusive.

     Opinions aren’t new. However, over the past couple decades we’ve seen the proliferation of social media platforms. It started with websites like MySpace and Friendster and has lead to social media apps like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and various others that I am probably too out of touch to be fully up to date with. These platforms have some obvious benefits. Many marginalized groups are able to hold safe space in these places, often with anonymity that can protect their identities and allow them to share more freely, allowing feelings of acceptance and validation. This can be life-saving for individuals who feel misunderstood, rejected or isolated from their peers.

     There’s also a very dark side to social media that seems to be growing; it promotes shame for certain groups while attempting to empower others. If you use Facebook, for example, you should understand that there are algorithms in place, which are designed to simply feed you ideas that agree with your worldview. While this is happening on your computer screen, there is another individual who’s beliefs differ from you being fed information that further enforces his beliefs. The more each side continues to be spoon-fed information that justifies their beliefs, the more extreme those beliefs become.

Eventually, we stop seeing people as individuals and start to judge them solely based on their stance on the controversial topic du jour.

     This leads to conflict with no resolution. Both sides, dogmatic in their beliefs name-call, shame and poke one another until the whole thing devolves into chaos. Nothing is resolved. Both sides have their beliefs reinforced again, “I am right, and the other side is either stupid or evil.” Who, with a Facebook account, hasn’t at some point scrolled through an argument over a political post and seen the thread regress into name-calling, with words like “MAGA Moron” or “Libtard” being thrown around? No one wins and the two sides move further away from any common ground.

     This is where we are. We have a cataclysmic income gap, one of the worst healthcare systems of any developed nation, a huge national debt, mass surveillance, and politicians that seem to care less and less about the actual human beings that put them in office. And this is where we will stay if we insist on being so attached to our beliefs and unwilling to empathize with the positions of others. The political climate has been so divisive, so belligerent that many people honestly believe they can’t even have a conversation with another human being based on who that human being voted for, and without any knowledge of why they decided to do so. Let’s call that what it is: ignorant. You can talk all you want about how terrible/disgusting/dumb our current Commander in Chief is, but when you shut people down based on their voicing of an opinion that is different than your own, aren’t you doing exactly what you hate him for doing?

Connection with others, in and of itself, is the key to change.

     However, the connection we seek has damaged us. Social media platforms are exploiting flaws in our psychology. If you don’t believe me, put “facebook designed to be addictive” in your search engine, and you’ll find several articles referencing a Facebook creator’s admission that the platform was designed to exploit “a vulnerability in human psychology,” and that he fears what it is doing to the brains of children who use it regularly. Many of the other social media platforms, I would wager, were designed to exploit that same flaw. In essence, we get addicted to the feedback we get from social media, and so we return to it over and over again. We get a dopamine hit from writing a scathing response to someone. This phenomenon has caused such turmoil in our brains that we are actually giving ourselves a little chemical reward for publicly being terrible to another human being. This is highly disturbing.

     The way I see it, the more we’re looking down into our phones, computers and tablets, then the less we are looking at the faces of people we walk by on the street.

On the internet, things are safer, we can easily pick out the groups that share our opinions and sink comfortably into an echo chamber, where we can avoid true conflict resolution. This echo chamber then reinforces the most extreme parts of an individual’s beliefs by creating an environment where anyone who speaks out, however reasonably, in opposition is immediately ridiculed, bullied, shamed and often threatened. We can’t learn to reason intelligently about topics, and actually address the issues when there is no room for discourse. It is essential that, as individuals, we seek out and dialog with those who are different from us. I don’t think we need to step away from social media entirely, rather, I think we need to spend more time reminding ourselves that every individual we interact with is more than just a simple opinion, more than just a username and avatar, more than a meme. We are far too complex for that sort of reductive thinking.


Rich Brodt is a former intern at People House, and is currently a co-owner and private practitioner at Elevated Counseling, PLLC in the Highlands area of Denver. Prior to training to become a therapist, Rich practiced as a mental health litigation attorney in New York City, where he first became passionate about the field. Rich draws on knowledge of law, philosophy and poetry, bringing a unique perspective to his sessions.

Rich’s current practice utilizes a client-centered approach, integrating Gestalt, existential and depth approaches. He focuses his practice trauma and anxiety-related issues, including PTSD, high-stress careers, life transitions and other major stressors. Rich’s first priority in counseling is to create a safe, non-judgmental space, where clients can feel comfortable sharing and processing their most difficult thoughts.

 

Elevated Counseling, PLLC
2727 Bryant Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80211
ElevatedCounseling.org
Ph: (720) 295-1352

Thinking, Feeling, Free – Lydia Taft

This morning I have allowed the fear of “what is” to stalk me.  I have allowed myself to become lost in terrible thoughts that do not serve my peace of mind.  I have allowed the stories I retell about my life and myself to torment me, and now I find myself entering worry.  

These are my choices I remind myself… I can decide to feel a little better than I do right now, or I can continue to recall, retell, and re-experience this fearful feeling,  letting it all get worse.  That is all that I must decide.  I allow myself a few deep and centering breaths, while visualizing the worry falling off my shoulders.  This choice is my own.  The choice is always my own.

I am reminded of the Course in Miracles Lesson #34, “I Can See Peace Instead of This.”  I can choose peace.

The world does not need to dictate what I feel.  I get to deliberately determine what I am feeling in any given moment. 

No, this is not always easy, but, it is always necessary.  If the goal is to be peaceful, then I must figure out how to feel peaceful.  I must remind myself about what peace feels like. 

Peace is within me.  I know this because I have felt it before. 

I only have to allow myself to experience it.  I decide to refocus my attention toward things that feel peaceful to me.  I must reset my receptivity toward anything that helps me feel better.  What is a better feeling?  What do I prefer?  My mind is so lost in negativity that I realize I need to use a focus tool that is easy to implement.  I know that it is relatively easy to think of better feeling words.  I start there and begin with finding an “A” word. 

Appreciation.  Yes.  What does appreciation feel like?  I explore the feeling of appreciation and become settled into it. I then refocus my attention on finding another word.  Awareness comes to mind.  I settle into what awareness feels like.  I search next for a “B” word, but stumble a bit, so I move right on to “C.” I allow myself to experience Connection. When I am connected, I am clear.  This leads me to Clarity.  Eventually I get to Delighted and At Ease.  I notice I am feeling free.  Free is fun.  And on and on this game goes, until I find that I feel relief in the better thoughts and feelings that flow through me. 

After a little time spent playing this game, I realize that I have opened myself up to better feelings.  I am now receptive to experiencing relief.  My simple search for better feeling words has allowed me to step into a feeling of peace, despite the things that are happening outside of myself.


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Drawing Strength from the Goddess Archetype: Part 2 of 2 – Monica Myers

Feminine power isn’t something we go out and acquire; it’s already within us. Its something we become willing to experience. Something to admit we have. –Marianne Williamson

 

I remember encountering for the first time images of the Goddess when I was an undergraduate student taking an anthropology class. I was shocked to learn that goddess mythology predated Christianity by thousands and thousands of years. I had never heard of a goddess cosmology until then. In fact, the Great Goddess, before she was split into many different forms, is one of the most ancient symbols historians and archeologists have discovered, dating as far back as 30,000 B.C. when the first sculptures of bone, ivory or stone appeared. For me, she is the ultimate proof that an older grace and wisdom exists and is available to us today. Her image holds a key to the healing of our fractured souls.

 When you think of the feminine, what first comes to mind? Physical beauty? Nurturing? Submissiveness? Weakness? Feelings? Birthing? Sugar, spice, and everything nice?

The feminine archetype is especially misunderstood in our era, today.  Marion Woodman notes that “noisy literalism” now characterizes the struggle between the “ready-made masculine” and the “ready-made feminine.” A more authentic understanding of the concepts of “masculine” and “feminine” does not actually associate them with biological gender. In fact, a young woman may not be entirely at home with the feminine, just as a man may be intimidated by his own masculine energy.

 Similarly, a return to the Goddess is not about destroying the patriarchal ego, rather it’s about embracing the tension of opposites in a healthy, conscious and balanced way. 

As Woodman states, “The feminine is the instrument of recognition of the masculine, as the masculine is the instrument of recognition of the feminine.  The one is present in the other as the instrument of consciousness itself.” Carl Jung, too, believed that individual wholeness was dependent on balancing each within us.

In addition to embodying hope for a harmonious global existence, the Goddess has taught me many things about how to live my life. Briefly, I mention them here.

  •  Body as a source of the numinous. The Goddess has taught me to honor my body as sacred. According to the Great Goddess, the spiritual and the physical are two aspects of the same reality. The Goddess is embodied in every living thing; spirit is immediate and actual, not something earned later. Our bodies are a living source of the divine feminine, so connection to our bodies, equates to connection with the divine. This contrasts our cultural norm and practice of living primarily in our heads; of attempting to transcend our bodily existence.

 

  • Respect and honor for nature. The Goddess’s own body is the universe. Her image represents nature and the interdependence of the natural world. Humans, animals and plants are all seen as connected through the process of seasonal awakening, growing, fattening, and dying; the life force, growing powers and the death instinct are recognized as dwelling in all living things; therefore all of nature is sacred. Accordingly, as humans, our very existence is tied to the health and existence of other species and the planet as a whole.

 

  • Life on earth is constant transformation. Among her lessons is that the essence and beauty of life is a cosmic dance of perpetual and rhythmic change between creation and destruction, birth and death; there is no new life without death, both literally and metaphorically. If we want to change and grow emotionally and spiritually, we must let go of something, something within us must die.

 

  • Being okay with the unknown/resting in mystery. The true feminine knows life is cyclical and full of mystery and the unknown, and that security is achieved, not in materialism, but in spiritualism. In my experience, accepting this reality lessens anxiety about the future and cultivates a greater sense of presence, faith, trust and vitality. After all, all things are born of the dark.

This is challenging to write because I can hardly do justice to the fullness and richness, the rigor and dimension of the divine feminine in one short blog.  Above all, the Goddess inspires me to align my life with my heart. When we fail to listen to our heart and soul’s yearning, we are sleepwalking through life.  I don’t want to be a walking dead.  From a metaphorical standpoint, it’s curious that our culture has a current fascination with them.

We live in interesting times. Well-known and respected mythologist Joseph Campbell stated, “we are the ‘ancestors’ of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths, the mythic models that will inspire its lives. In a very real sense, therefore, this is a moment of creation.”

There are no models for anything that is going on today. The old models are not working, and the new have not yet appeared. This is our present challenge: it is up to us to shape the new into existence.

In this moment of creation, can we really afford to be bound by myths about the feminine that keep us small, unbalanced, and fractured?

 

Monica Myers, MPH, MA, LPCC is a teacher and therapist currently accepting new clients. She has offices in Boulder, Denver and Golden. She invites your comments, questions and responses.

 

Find out more about Monica and her practice online at the Boulder Art Therapy Collective.

 

Contact Monica:
monimyers69@gmail.com
720-378-6603.  

 

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth