The Connection Practice

“Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.” – Roberto Brenes Mesen

The Connection Practice – A Skill Set for a More Connected World

a Maximize your social and emotional intelligence.

Connect with the beauty and insights of your own heart.

Reduce stress, develop greater self-confidence.

Gain skills for deeper levels of empathic connection.


To register for the Greenville class, contact Cathy.

 Watch this introductory video about the Connection Practice!

The full Connection Practice course consists of three weekend workshops.  The first one can stand alone.

To learn about bringing the Connection Practice to your community group, church or business, contact Cathy.

Watch testimonials from participants in Connection Practice workshops.  Click here.



New! Essential Steps to Connection

Invite a minimum of 4 people–your friends or family members to this 3-hour highly experiential short course. First of 3 modules.

Donate according to the value you receive. 20% of proceeds go to Rasur Foundation International to further the training of schoolteachers in the Connection Practice. For more information/to register: 828-545-9681 or  Also please visit

Weekend courses also available by request.

See with your heart

Comments from previous participants:

Watch testimonials from course participants here.

“Powerful and transformative life-changing experience; feeling the authentic empathy allowed me to process and gain a great measure of peace regarding traumatic issues recently experienced. Thank you for creating safety and supporting this journey of the heart!” – Kathy Austin

“Great depth and intensity of connectedness happened in Part 3. A culmination of building a rich skill set… deep and meaningful work was accomplished within the individuals and the class group as a whole. The result: a profound feeling of connection was created as we opened our hearts with empathy and compassion for ourselves and each other. Beautiful process! So grateful to have encountered it.” – Penny Bond

“Fundamentally transformative…I can use this practice of gratitude for freeing myself from emotional reactions, and to better connect with and listen to my heart.” – Andy Weatherly, M.Ed.

“Through the Connection Practice, Cathy made me aware of my heart in new and practical ways, very practical and simple, really.  I’m grateful.  Before her teaching, connecting with my heart wisdom was like trying to do carpentry without a hammer and saw.  Now I’m learning the tools to do the ‘work’.” – Gail Ashburn

“The feelings of love and coherence were palpable.”
“A very valuable practice, clear instruction, joyful and peaceful and supportive leadership.”
“Amazing periods of self-discovery, deep and loving insights, experiencing already the benefits of learning new behaviors.”

“Loved it…caring people…Introduced me to new and valuable techniques to help me in my journey of healing.”

View a mediation roleplay from the Connection Practice on our YouTube channel.

The Connection Practice for Schools

In six lessons, students (grades 3-6) learn to give empathy to one another. They then do so for a few minutes each day using Feelings and Needs cards or the Connection Process Game. This allows emotions to be expressed and named, decreasing stress and promoting conflict resolution. Students learn how to get “in sync” with the heart, breath, and brain, a process known as “Quick Coherence.” Once emotions are cleared, more space is freed up for learning. Students learn to:

  • Resolve conflicts efficiently and effectively, resulting in harmonious classrooms
  • Achieve maximum brain function for more creative problem solving
  • Release negative feelings, resulting in greater clarity
  • Develop deeper self-confidence that leads to higher performance

Lessons of the Connection Practice Curriculum:

  1. Feelings and Needs
  2. Quick Coherence Technique
  3. Heart-Brain Insight
  4. The Connection Process
  5. Empathy Circle
  6. The Connection Process Game

Use of the Connection Practice in schools creates a heightened sense of belonging, which has been shown to prevent conflict, improve academic test scores and reduce dropouts.

History of Success

Costa Rican Schools: In 2004, the curriculum was introduced in Costa Rican public schools. By 2005, this work won the Ashoka Changemakers Innovation Award: Building a More Ethical Society, chosen from 79 projects in 32 countries. Now nearly 1,500 teachers have been trained, impacting over 40,000 students in Costa Rica. Annual teacher surveys revealed:

  • Aggression and violence, intolerance and conflicts had diminished.
  • Misconduct reports decreased from 16 to 9 per month.
  • Students learned to resolve conflicts on their own.
  • The relationships among teachers and with the principal improved significantly.

US Schools: In 2012, the Connection Practice Curriculum at Oakley Elementary, in Houston, was deemed a success by the principal, teachers and students. Please see the video, St. Rita School in Fort Worth was the next success.

In Melbourne, FL, Diamond School Director Doreatha Field, wrote: “We work with at-risk teenagers with social/emotional challenges and learning disabilities. After the teachers introduced the process to the children, there were ‘tears and release’…both males and females dealt with past emotions and pain, that the students said ‘nobody ever let me talk about.’ …the feelings and needs cards are such a rave that the students ask each morning ‘Can we do our cards today? I need to talk.’ Music to our ears…”

Teacher in-service training: Six hours, frequently done in two three-hour sessions; for teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors. (Cost: $350 per six-hour class)

In schools, annual reports show that bullying, conflicts, violence and misconduct have decreased. (1500 teachers in Costa Rica have been trained, positively affecting 40,000 students.) There is a six-hour training available for teachers, and a curriculum for grades 3-6. The Connection Practice has also been offered since 2010 at the University for Peace, a graduate school for international leaders.

In businesses, nonprofits,and faith communities, these skills create stronger relationships between employees or community members, resulting in harmonious and productive environments.  A Unity minister wrote, after members of her congregation took the training: “Whenever issues arise, this unique method efficiently unites our empathy and insight to handle them with ease, harmony, and creativity. This way, it accelerates our individual and collective evolution.”

20% of all income from the classes goes directly back to Rasur Foundation International to support the teaching of these skills to school children and others.

Click here for a letter about how the Connection Practice (formerly BePeace) affected a Unity congregation.

Rita Marie Johnson, founder of The Connection Practice, Rasur Foundation International

Rita Marie Johnson, founder of The Connection Practice, Rasur Foundation International


Rita Marie Johnson, founder of Rasur Foundation International, created the Connection Practice (classes and coaching). The RFI vision: A world where every person practices the art of connection and passes this gift on to the next generation.


Cathy trained with Rita Marie Johnson and is now certified to offer The Connection Practice for schoolteachers, businesses, nonprofits, church groups, and individuals, as well as 1:1 coaching.

Want a class for your organization? Contact Cathy: 828-545-9681 or