The Connection Practice at the Purpose Collective!

This series of four classes will be held at The Purpose Collective, 101 Stone Ridge Blvd., N. Asheville.

Cathy Holt has taught nonviolent communication for over 15 years. She is a certified teacher and coach of the Connection Practice, and a certified HeartMath® coach.

1. The Connection Practice: Empathy & Insight for Healthier Relationships – Sunday, August 19, 3-6pm

  • Do you want more heart-based communication skills?
  • Would you like a way to self-regulate your emotions and behaviors to lower stress and increase resilience?
  • Want access to your intuitive intelligence?

This experiential, interactive class, firmly based in heart and brain science, helps deepen our connection with the hearts of others. Please pre-register by August 17.

2. The Heart of Empathy: Giving and Receiving Empathy through Feelings & Needs – Sunday, September 30, 3-6pm

  •  What empathy is…and isn’t
  •  Replacing judgments with the language of feelings & needs
  •  How empathy for self and others decreases everyone’s stress

3. Gratitude, the Heart, and Heart Insights – October (date TBA)

  • How gratitude makes us happy
  • Heart breathing and Quick Coherence
  • How heart insights can improve communication and relationships

4. Collective Care: Assisting in Conflict Resolution – November (date TBA)

  • Quick coherence and the group energy field
  • Guessing feelings and needs empathically
  • Accessing heart insights for finding solutions

Pre-registration via Eventbrite, please see https://www.facebook.com/pg/heartspeakpeace/events/ or by emailing cathyfholt@gmail.com. Suggested donation: $20-45 per class. Paying the higher amount enables scholarships to those in need. 10% discount available when you sign up for all four! Please ask about scholarships. For those with some background in nonviolent communication, each class can stand alone.

Brooke Medicine Eagle: The Power of the Deep Feminine

Brooke Medicine Eagle, a ceremonialist, Earthkeeper, author, healer and visionary, spoke eloquently as part of the “Shamanism Summit” on the Shift Network. I love how she inspires us to practice accessing the resource of our loving heart, to share love and connect.

According to Brooke, the time of the feminine is here now. Patriarchal cultures feared the female power to give birth, the power of creation. Women have been suppressed and disempowered for so many years, and their anger at the abuse is coming forward in the “Me Too” movement. Many women are angry today, Brooke acknowledges, yet the time has come not to “conquer” the oppressive regimes (the old way), but to create something new.

The dark womb is the first power, holding us all in love; all potential is within that darkness, yet invisible. Honor and respect for the feminine, Brooke believes, is the beginning of all power. What wants to be born now? At this time, all the negativity is being pushed to the surface, revealed, in order to be acknowledged and cleaned and cleared. We are in the clearing phase now, so that kindness and unity consciousness and connection can arise, finally. Love is the magic. Unity and loving connection with all beings is the essence of shamanism, Brooke believes. Suffering is caused by our belief in separation. Creator pours love into us at all times.

“Close your eyes and go back to a time of feeling HUGE love,” Brooke instructs. Whether it was holding an infant in your arms, or seeing a dear one running toward you with arms open wide, or looking into the eyes of a beloved person or animal and feeling your heart open. Find it in your body, how does your body know you are feeling the love? Is it in your chest, are you smiling, are there tears? This loving feeling is a POSITIVE RESOURCE. Find it in your body, and call that feeling in. That’s embodiment, not just being in our head. When we’re in our heads, we’re not grounded or embodied, not using the great gift of the heart. Enjoy the practice of calling up the love, and sending it out to people, animals, flowers, any life form.

Intention, commitment, practice, taking 100% responsibility for creating the feeling we want, gives us true power. Abraham (Hicks) advised: “Be angry for 16 seconds, yell and shake it off, then let it go, and choose another feeling.” The spiritual warrior chooses what to feel and create. Brooke adds, “When we pour our love out to everything and everyone around us, it’s the best feeling in the world!”

Malidoma Some says that in a Dagara village it is believed that our “job” is to call forth the best in everyone else.

Trees, in drought, bring water to the surface for smaller plants. They are role models for us.

The shaman is not only the bridge between the animal, plant and human worlds, but also the bridge between the physical and spirit worlds. “Power is stepping into the great stream of connection. When we step into love and unity, there is great power, which can wash away the oily scum on everything, revealing the rich beauty of love and caring,” Brooke affirms.

Let’s remind one another that we are birthed in love, held in love, infused with love. When we send love to a flower, the flower’s life force is enhanced. As we overflow love, more comes to us!

Digging deeper into the dirt

Digging deeper into the dirt

Sometimes I really slip up on my goal of regulating myself when I get into a bad mood. Usually that mood accompanies some judgment I am having.

We three housemates have a Friday night meal, and it was up to T. or me to cook. M. was working  that day and T. was busy on the phone and seemed content for me to cook the meal. I had hoped T. and I would be cooking together, and began to judge her behavior as “entitled.” M. came home from work and jumped into making a salad.

Some part of me is a really nitpicking score keeper, obsessing about fairness, and after dinner when M. was helping clean up, I said I thought she was helping T. too much–as if I was trying to even the score, for T. not helping us cook! In reality, we all have times when we are busy and do less, and times when we put in more effort on behalf of the household.

After dinner we were planning our gardens, and when T. started drawing the existing garden beds on the whiteboard, I thought I would contribute by adding a little piece, but T. erased it. This happened twice. I got triggered because I judged T. as “controlling” and left the room saying, “This is really annoying.” What I wish I had said was, “When you erased my drawing, I felt hurt and annoyed because I interpreted that as a lack of respect or negating my input. I was judging you as controlling. I value cooperation and collaboration, and I need to be seen and heard.” When I came back I played with my phone, not even looking at T.’s drawing. T. explained that it was easier for her to be the one doing the drawing and that she was open to verbal input. She acknowledged my discomfort and even came and rubbed my shoulders!

The next day, M. and T. got started digging out a garden bed to put a vole-barrier of hardware cloth into it. They had agreed to do that the previous evening and I was not actually asked to take part; however, I thought it was only fair for me to offer to help, so I started shoveling too. The hardware cloth needed to be bought, and that was easier than shoveling, so I volunteered but neglected to research the best place to find it for a good price. When I got to Lowe’s, the price seemed high so after phoning T. and M., I made several calls to other stores. I started feeling stressed that the cost was so high. M. had offered to help make calls and call me back, but I said it would take longer that way. She still offered to help, and I gruffly said, “Whatever,” and hung up. I had not realized how much time it would take to get the errand done and I was getting impatient, hungry, and hadn’t had lunch yet. Yes, I was “hangry!”

When I got home she expressed to me that she did not like how I had spoken on the phone, and especially being hung up on, and I apologized.

Later I wrote: “Were you feeling stressed, hurt and sad when I said ‘Whatever’ and hung up the phone, because you need respect, harmony, and consideration for how you’re trying to help? I’m feeling embarrassed and regretful because I didn’t self-regulate or attune to you.  Instead, I was out of control with my grumpiness! I did not mean it personally. I need more self-awareness and to walk my talk. I would really like to be more mindful and respectful with you.” She thanked me and forgave me.

When I have a day like this, I’m often hard on myself. I think, “Who am I to teach heart coherence or compassionate communication? I’m not practicing it when I hit a rough spot, and instead I vent my impatience and bad attitude on other people, the opposite of being compassionate!”

So I stopped myself, took a breath, and acknowledged that even though my behavior was far from my ideals, I had communicated in a better way afterwards and had been forgiven by both housemates. Going deeper into questioning my high reactivity, I was aware that I was feeling envious of T. for the important and meaningful work she is so deeply engaged in, and that I had been in a self-critical and financially stressed place over not having generated enough work for myself. I had been looking forward to an afternoon to nurture myself on Saturday, and didn’t like spending part of it shoveling and running errands, but imagined that there was peer pressure to do so…a story I was telling myself, since T. and M. said they did not have that expectation. The pressure came from my own desire to be seen as a collaborator, someone who does her fair share.

And so by writing this blog I am sharing with you the truth that we all struggle with our old patterns, I am not proud of my bad habits but they give me plenty of opportunities for growth and learning!

Take your connections up a notch this year!

Rita Marie Johnson, founder of The Connection Practice

Would you like to experience more rewarding connections with family, friends, co-workers? There is now an affordable way to get top-notch instruction in the Connection Practice, from its founder, along with personal coaching!

Here is a FREE introductory video with Rita Marie, called “A Simple Solution for Our Disconnected World.”

The Connection Practice increases your empathic communication skills–both for yourself, and with others–while developing your ability to calm yourself under stress and access your heart’s own insights.

The result is that you can move forward in your goals, and even heal damaged relationships. This social-emotional skill set, pioneered by Rita Marie Johnson, is being used in families, businesses, schools, nonprofits, and universities with remarkable results.

Now you can watch Rita Marie’s lectures and demonstrations to learn these transformative tools at your leisure, in your own time-frame, through a pre-recorded series of five webinars. To bring it home and help you with your personal challenges and skill-building, you can receive four hours of personal coaching from me via Skype or in-person. I am a certified coach and teacher of the Connection Practice, as well as a HeartMath coach. If you are local, you can experience biofeedback of your heart rhythms in order to learn and experience heart-brain coherence.

What people are saying about the Connection Practice: 

“This course brought me valuable insights, from my own heart, that changed my relationship to myself and my family. The depth of learning from the heart goes way beyond what is possible using only the intellect. 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

See more testimonials here.

Special offer

The regular price for four private coaching sessions with me, without the webinar, is $220-$320, sliding scale.

This special offer includes the five webinar sessions with Rita Marie, plus four private coaching sessions with me, for only $297!

Email or call today to schedule your FREE consultation. 828-545-9681.

 

The Connection Practice – at the Shift Studio

When: Saturday, June 9, from 10 am to 1 pm

Where: The Shift Studio, 708B Fleming St., Hendersonville

Come and learn how empathy and insight can transform your relationships!

  • Learn to be present compassionately with your own feelings and needs
  • Gain practice in giving empathy to others to build deeper connection and resolve conflict
  • Decrease your stress and enhance your resilience with heart-brain coherence
  • Access intuitive insights from your heart
  • Love offering

Compassion Camp, June 28 – July 1

at Earthaven Ecovillage

Black Mountain, NC

An immersive gathering for people interested in learning and living compassionate consciousness, building community, networking, and deepening our skills in compassionate communication.

A collaboration of the REAL Center, 10,000 Love Letters Project, Culture’s Edge, and the School of Integrated Living, organized by Steve Torma.

Relational activities including Open Space, interactive learning, singing, dancing, storytelling, and silence. The Connection Practice will be presented by Cathy Holt.

For more information, please click here.

Resources for Parents

I’ve discovered a great resource for parents who are struggling to communicate in a compassionate way with their ornery children! (And they are all ornery sometimes!) It’s the website of Lori Petro, www.teach-through-love.com.

Lori has a series of brief YouTube videos in which she discusses how to give empathy to children when they are acting in ways you wish they wouldn’t– from fighting with siblings, to whining, to refusing to do a task, refusing to go to bed, hitting others… And she always gives great empathy to the parent, as well!

Lori also has a set of “Conscious Communication cards,” which I love, because they are organized by the typical words a parent might say, such as “Hurry up” or “Do your chores,” along with the frequently used guilt trips, demands, and judgments. Below that is a set of suggestions for new ways to approach the problem, using empathy, curiosity, validation, and compassion. Fostering connection!