Connected Hearts: A Philosophy
Our everyday experiences can be some of our most impactful teachers in life. I noticed two small, typical, yet powerful moments from this last week that made me reflect upon the ways my Connected Hearts philosophy looks in real life.
Connected Hearts has three layers; I like to think of Connected Hearts as a ripple effect, starting from the Self and rippling outward. First, each individual connects to oneSelf. With this inner locus of control and strong sense of self-love, we can connect with others– the second ripple. We find healthy, authentic, and supportive ways to relate to others. The third ripple is community; here each individual shows up and participates in the world, taking agency and understanding their power to contribute.
Today, I share two everyday experiences that illustrate the way we can use Connect Hearts to live in more peaceful and easeful ways.
I’m at the kitchen table– my favorite workspace because of the big window– when my partner walks in after a long day. His hands are full, his face looks a little tired after 2 hours of coaching high school soccer, but he’s smiling at me.
I hurry up and type “one last thing.” (Are these your famous last words too?!) Then I stand up to greet him with eye contact, a hug, and availability.
Each day, morning and evening, when we wake up and when we have both arrived at home, we make a conscious effort to CONNECT. To acknowledge one another, even for just a few minutes. Usually, it’s a kiss, a “How are you?,” a “What are you up to?,” or just a long hug— which releases oxytocin and makes us feel good!
While this seems like common sense, and I’d like to say we have always done this, I must admit that the intentionality of the routine is new. We are often doing our own things, on our own time, with different ideas of schedules, priorities, and preferences. Throughout this last year, it has often been hard for me to let go of what I’m doing when my partner gets home or when plans change.(Does this sound familiar to anyone? Perhaps you feel this with a child or a partner of your own?)
Slowing Down to Grow Connected Hearts
This simple strategy of pausing and making a thoughtful connection was a recent suggestion from my therapist. It allows both of us to Stop. Breathe. Feel. First, we check in with ourselves and then with one another, as we grow Connected Hearts. Instead of being on autopilot, we slow down and take small, loving actions that fuel ourselves and one another.
I invite you, as parents, supporters, partners, spouses, and friends, to decide who you want to make intentional connections with AND how and when you will do it. Furthermore, I suggest talking to your child or your partner about routines for connection during transitions.
You might share with your teenager, for example, “It’s always so busy and chaotic before dinner, isn’t it? When I get home, I’d like to stop what I’m doing for a few minutes and check in with you about your day. How does this sound?”
It can be beneficial to explain the ways that this connection helps both parent and child understand one another. Be transparent about the fact that you want to give each family member the chance to gauge their own energy, too, while becoming aware of one another’s energy. You might describe the fact that energy can be charged or scattered– especially during transitions– and this practice of slowing down can help everyone reset and ground.
Try making brief connections a part of your everyday transition routines. Tell me how it goes!