The Connection Practice at the Purpose Collective!

This series of 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 14, 3-6pm

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

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. For those with some background in nonviolent communication, each class can stand alone.

The Connection Practice at Unity of the Blue Ridge 

2041 Old Fanning Bridge Rd., Mills River, NC

Date: Sunday, Oct. 28

Time: 1:30-4:30 pm

Donation: Love Offering

Want help with difficult communications? Hoping to heal a troubled relationship? This highly experiential 3-hour class will give you the tools you need!

“Very heart-centered, practical, supportive…an empathetic and safe space to dive deep and open the heart!”                         – Rev. Christy Corna

“I experienced support in the challenging process of replacing old patterns with new skills, and the gift of insight.”               –  Michelle Smith

“…valuable insights from my own heart, that changed my relationship to myself and my family. Powerful and transformative life-changing experience!” – Kathy Austin

Please pre-register by Oct. 20 by emailing: cathyfholt@gmail.com

 

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.

Completely Connected

Completely Connected cover   “Completely Connected is brilliant, authentic and potent. Rita Marie Johnson puts leading edge theory into groundbreaking practice and offers us a medicine that is both soulful and acutely relevant.”  – James O’Dea, author of Cultivating Peace

“Combining empathy and insight, as Johnson has shown, is a valid and proven way to improve human relations.”  – President Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

This is a book that gives me hope. Rita Marie Johnson is an

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

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

extraordinary woman who received a calling to be a teacher of peace at the age of ten. After developing a set of practices that resolve conflicts, she has trained hundreds of school teachers, positively affecting over 160,000 students in Costa Rica alone. She has fought her way back from lymphoma twice, always learning and growing, and is passionate about spreading the steps she calls “the Connection Practice” far and wide.

Johnson offers story after story in which people of all ages and from many countries and walks of life have experienced breakthroughs using the Connection Practice. It involves identifying one’s own feelings and needs, those of others, and using the “Quick Coherence Technique” to get our hearts and brains into sync.

School children

Joe, a fifth grader, had just failed a math exam and he pulled a classmate across the playground by her hair. Instead of punishment, he was given empathy for his anger, hopelessness, and need for belonging. After being led into a state of harmony between heart and brain, he had this insight: “I could ask for what I need instead of hurting someone.” Later, this same child became a school mediator.

“When we deny the most basic aspects of ourselves–our feelings and needs–and don’t teach young people how to express themselves safely, it’s far more dangerous than not letting them open up,” writes Johnson.

Two rival 5th grade gangs were in conflict. When a teacher assisted them to list the feelings and needs of each, the need for communication emerged. This was because one gang spoke Spanish, causing suspicion and distrust. They agreed that everyone would speak English when they were together, and conflicts ceased as friendships formed.

Teachers

Not only are misconduct reports cut in half; the teachers benefit too. Several public school teachers shared that their marriages turned around by the end of the week-long course in the Connection Practice. One teacher was on the brink of separating from her husband; instead, she offered empathy to him and they connected “for the first time in ten years.” They are still together years later.

Brain research shows that naming feelings reduces the amygdala’s response to stressors, and naming needs enhances empathic responses.

Businesses

Two CEOs who’d had a 10-year conflict used “Feelings and Needs” cards to name their own feelings, and then to guess each other’s needs. The CEOs resolved their conflict, and then decided to have their executive teams do the same exercise. The two organizations agreed afterwards to use the cards to resolve any future conflicts.

A study of businesses showed that employers spend nearly 3 hours each week dealing with conflicts between people. One business now uses the Connection Practice at Monday morning meetings. A management consultant said, “The Connection Practice allows me to get clear about the needs I have and to consider the needs of the group…a much easier way to come to a solution or strategy that can work.”

Recovery

A 12-step participant said, “I got the skill set that transformed me from codependent behavior to unconditional love and acceptance.” Another wrote, “After all these years I’ve finally been able to forgive my father, and he has forgiven me.”

International

Students from all over the world attend the University for Peace in Costa Rica, one of the places where the Connection Practice is taught. Comments from students:

“This course has saved me years of therapy; it has empowered me.” – Mayn from India

“This practice can be applied in every country in the world.” – Maham from Pakistan

“I went home with the sensation of a clean soul.” – Laticia from Brazil

“This practice can be very important for preventing gender-based violence.” – Marion from Australia

For classes with Rita Marie Johnson, please visit www.rasurinternational.org. She is offering web based courses. For classes in the Asheville area, please contact cathyfholt@gmail.com or call Cathy at 828-545-9681.

 

 

Getting Connected

Completely Connected coverIn her new book, Completely Connected, Rita Marie Johnson recounts some of the insights she received when she was in a state of “heart-brain coherence”–the times when our breathing, our heart rhythms, and all our systems line up in synchrony, and spontaneous intuitions come freely. This state can be invited through a process known by the Institute of HeartMath as “Quick Coherence”: focus on the heart, breathe through the heart space, and experience feelings of appreciation.

Sometimes, Johnson writes, the message is simple: “It’s not time to leave Costa Rica yet.” This was not the message she wanted to hear at the time, yet she deeply realized it was for the best, and later events proved it. She recounts how the heart-brain insight can be used to understand a dream: when she was traveling all over the U.S. teaching courses and staying with friends, and feeling a bit “homeless,” she dreamed she owned a large apartment complex. Upon practicing coherence and requesting an insight, she realized that “the ‘apartment complex’ was made up of all the bedrooms of my many caring hosts.”

Here are a couple of examples from a recent course I taught in Asheville:

One woman stated that she had been bothered by a recurrent nightmare, at least weekly for over eight years. It usually left her feeling unsettled for a day or two. In the dream, she was trying to discover the “rulebook” of life. She requested a heart insight on the dream during our course. After I had led her into coherence, she kept her eyes closed for a long time and I hesitated to speak to her. When I finally asked if she had received an insight, she responded, “It’s still coming in.” Afterwards, she shared that her insight was that “there is no rulebook;” we need to ask for guidance day by day, situation by situation. This was a huge paradigm shift for her. A month later, she reported that she had not had that dream again!

Another woman in the class had been recently told by her doctor that she would need to start taking medication to lower her blood pressure, and she was reluctant to take it, but willing to monitor her blood pressure periodically. After the first Saturday of the Connection Practice, she dashed into a K-Mart to check her blood pressure and it was rather high. She decided to try an experiment, and used her heart focus, slow breathing, and a delightful memory to bring herself into coherence. A few moments later she again checked her blood pressure and it was 120 over 58, the lowest she could remember it being. She checked it again, just to make sure the reading was not a fluke. She felt so empowered, knowing that now she had a tool for instantly lowering her blood pressure!

Rita Marie’s new book, Completely Connected: Uniting Our Empathy & Insight for Extraordinary Results, is available at www.Amazon.com. I’m inspired by reading it, as I hope you will be too! The book is already #2 in Conflict Resolution & Mediation and #5 in Communication & Social Skills, on Amazon’s best-seller list!

Here’s what James O’Dea, renowned peace activist and educator, had to say:

Completely Connected is brilliant, authentic and potent. Rita Marie Johnson puts leading edge theory into groundbreaking practice and offers us a medicine that is both soulful and acutely relevant.”

President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, said:

“Combining empathy and insight, as Johnson has shown, is a valid and proven way to improve human relations.”

The Connection Practice Launches!

 The Connection PracticeThe Connection Practice was offered for the first time in Asheville, NC at Jubilee Community, last weekend, with three trained facilitators leading small group activities. It was such a thrill for me to see people engaging earnestly and joyfully in learning the skills… as they perused tables full of feeling and needs cards, thoughtfully selecting the ones they guessed their companions were experiencing; as they engaged in “heart-brain coherence” with music or with the Em-wave biofeedback games…as they shared a personal challenge with one another.
“The feelings of love and coherence in the room were palpable,” one facilitator stated.

Sarah, Duncan & Michelle, facilitators

Sarah, Duncan & Michelle, facilitators

Comments from participants:

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

“Amazing periods of self-discovery, … deep & loving insights, experiencing already the benefits of learning new behaviors.”

“Experiential focus made material meaningful & relevant…I feel competent to use what I have learned to enhance my own inner work as well as deal creatively with conflicts that might arise.”

The Connection Practice will be offered again at the end of this month!
​Saturday, February 28, 9:30am-5pm and Sunday, March 1, 1pm-5:30pm

Odyssey Community School, 90 Zillicoa St.

with Cathy Holt, certified teacher, coach, and curriculum instructor with Rasurinternational.org

Cost: $125 by February 20.
* May sign up for Parts 2 & 3 to be held March & April, $295 for all three.
* Bring a friend or family member, receive 50% discount yourself!
* All teachers of youth are eligible for partial scholarships.
* Class size limited to 20.
To register, please contact Cathy, 828-545-9681 or cathyfholt@gmail.com.

Teachers of Peace

Week of SplendorIMG_0520

In the mythical village of Quizur, in Costa Rica, one day a teacher appears and silently calls the children from the village deep into a mountain. There he teaches them about the treasure within their hearts and their connection to nature. Their worried parents are searching everywhere for them, but when they approach the mountain they hear joyous singing and are reassured. When the children return in the evening, they share their newfound knowledge with their parents.

Then, every day for a week, they return inside the mountain to learn more from the mysterious teacher. During that week, the entire village of Quizur comes alive with creativity and is transformed into a happy and harmonious culture of peace. Amid the protests of the children, Rasur announces that he must leave for the next village. Upon his departure, the villagers realize that “before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.” In the end, all Costa Ricans look forward to following the example of Quizur, with peace spreading throughout their country.

This is the story told in an epic poem called “Rasur: Week of Splendor,” written by a Costa Rican educator, Roberto Brenes Mesen, in the 1940’s. He was well ahead of his time, understanding the importance of the inner life of each person, and their ability to have harmonious relationships, in creating a culture of peace.

Photo-Rita-Marie-JohnsonRita Marie Johnson

That epic poem inspired Rita Marie Johnson, a young woman who had received a calling to be a teacher of peace when she was ten years old. After her 1993 move to Costa Rica, Johnson wrote a book and a musical about Rasur. She began seeking a method of social and emotional learning that could help promote both inner and outer peace.

After ten years of research, including study with the Institute of HeartMath and the Center for Non-Violent Communication, she came to believe that empathy grows from a conscious connection to feelings and needs, and insight is accessed through heart-brain coherence. The synergy between empathy and insight maximizes our social and emotional intelligence, builds resilience and enhances performance. Johnson originated Rasur Foundation International (RFI), with the mission of creating a world where every person practices the art of connection and passes this gift to the next generation.

Costa Rican Public Schools and the University for Peace

In 2004, Johnson created and began offering the “BePeace” curriculum in Costa Rican public schools. It has since been re-named “The Connection Practice.” Now close to 1500 teachers have been trained, positively affecting nearly 40,000 students. Annual evaluations revealed that bullying, intolerance, conflicts, violence and misconduct reports had decreased.

The Connection Practice, now used by individuals, schools and businesses, brought her the 2005 Ashoka Changemakers Innovation Award, chosen from 79 projects in 32 countries. Since 2010, Johnson has taught the Connection Practice Foundations Course at the United Nations University for Peace, a graduate school for international leaders.  In addition to presenting seminars in the USA, Canada, Japan, Europe and Central America, Johnson was a keynote speaker at the Department of Peace Conference in Washington DC in 2009, and a Global Summit for Ministries and Departments for Peace in 2009.

Spreading Peace
Through trainers certified by RFI (Dallas, TX), the Connection Practice is spreading rapidly in schools, businesses and faith-based communities in the United States. In 2012, the first US school pilot project in Houston was deemed a success (as shown in the short video at this link). St. Rita School in Fort Worth was the next success and now other schools are implementing the curriculum. To learn more, please visit www.rasurinternational.org.

I had the privilege of learning The Connection Practice through classes with Rita Marie, and this spring I assisted in facilitating a 4-day class in Melbourne, FL at a Unity Church. This experience really let me experience the depth of transformation that can take place in a group from the combined practices of heart coherence and empathy. I am now a certified trainer myself; I welcome the opportunity to train teachers, coach individuals, and hold classes for nonprofits, churches, and businesses.