Four steps for healthy communication in relationships

One of the biggest reasons people seek coaching is for help in their relationships. Whether it’s a marriage where it’s becoming more difficult to connect…or a work situation where communication has shut down…or a family with old unhealed wounds that seem to get re-opened frequently, relationship stress can be very painful! Typically, we choose to avoid conflict, often by putting up walls,  communicating minimally, and distancing. Is this happening for you?

Most people lack skills in “emotional self-regulation” – the ability to take care of oneself emotionally. Without those skills, we will typically “act out” our feelings rather than express them to ourselves and others. Acting out can be as subtle as an angry expression on my face, could take the form of coldly criticizing someone, or be as blatant as yelling an insult.

What is the alternative?

  • Taking some slow, calming, deep breaths while focusing on my feelings
  • Acknowledging to myself when I feel angry, upset, fearful, and exploring what need or needs of mine aren’t being met (this one step has been proven to lower stress levels significantly!)
  • Taking care of myself by meeting my need another way
  • Asking another person to just listen

In a coaching session, first you’ll receive deep listening and empathy for the painful situation you’re in. Next, you’ll learn and practice self-regulation skills. As you become accustomed to slowing your breathing and shifting your focus, you’ll have the opportunity to receive intuitive guidance from your own heart. These are resiliency skills from HeartMath. You will learn the skills of giving empathy to yourself, and to other people, even when you are in the midst of a disagreement, and without having to agree with them. You’ll have an opportunity to do role-plays in which you try on seeing the world through another’s perspective. The result: improved communication and greater ease in your relationships!

Would you like to explore further? Call or email me to book a time for your FREE one-hour consultation, in person or by phone. If you choose in-person, you are invited to have a cup of tea or coffee with me at my home office. 828-545-9681.

The Connection Practice helps our youth!

Many people in our time feel disconnected – the opposite of feeling heard, supported and lifted. This disconnection results in confusion, conflict, bullying, depression, and addiction and is reflected in the rising number of at-risk kids.

We need a solution that restores hope.
The Connection Practice is a self-empowerment skill that does that.

This scientifically-based practice is elegant in its simplicity and awesome in its application.  The award-winning Connection Practice combines empathy and insight to enhance social and emotional intelligence, resolve conflicts and heal relationships. It integrates methods from the Institute of HeartMath® and Non-Violent Communication to help people understand one another through heart connection.

When this practice is integrated into classrooms and considered as important as reading, writing and math, the numbers of at-risk kids will decrease rapidly.

“Threat Assessment in Schools,” a guide by the US Secret Service and Department of Education, calls connection the “critical emotional glue” and “a central component of a culture of safety and respect.”

Teaching empathy and creating connection are at the core of the Connection Practice. Integrating the Connection Practice into the school day can take as little as 10 to 15 minutes. It makes teachers’ jobs easier by improving behavior, preparing children for learning, creating more cooperation and teaching children how to handle conflict themselves. Guidance counselors are embracing it too.

A new tool that can streamline the process of bringing empathy into classrooms (and even boardrooms) is the magnetic Connection Practice Board. This video will give you a brief introduction: https://vimeo.com/303564198

Heart-Brain Coherence

Heart-brain coherence, which plays a major role in the effectiveness of the Connection Practice, has been thoroughly researched by the Institute of HeartMath®. For example, a study funded by the U.S. Department of Education showed a statistically significant connection between reduced test anxiety and improved test performance, in students who had learned the skill of heart-brain coherence.

  • 75% of the students experienced lower levels of anxiety during tests.
  • The test scores improved on average by 10 to 25 points.
  • Students experienced less fear and frustration, and made fewer rash decisions.  They participated more in class activities and demonstrated emotional connection, humor, persistence and empathic listening.

In addition to K-12 classrooms, the Connection Practice is an effective tool for after-school programs, university courses, and community classes.

Individual coaching is available for adults, couples, or families. I am a certified coach and curriculum instructor with Rasur Foundation International, which originated the Connection Practice, as well as a certified HeartMath coach and holistic health guide. For a FREE consultation, click here. For a sample of what I can offer to a classroom, click here.

Website: https://connectionpractice.org

Rita Marie Johnson, founder of the Connection Practice,
exhibiting at California Student Mental Wellness Conference

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!