“We get to stay in a hotel tonight” A young girl, maybe around 5 or 6, announced to me excitedly, her small suitcase and bear in hand as her parents unloaded the car in the parking lot of the Marriott where I was also staying.
“Oh really?” I replied excitedly, as I paused in my mission to grab something from my car, happy to engage and totally caught up in her enthusiasm. “Have you been in a hotel before?”
“Yeah!” She said, as her smile got impossibly and contagiously big. “We are staying on the second floor!”
“Really?” I asked, noticing her brother running around the car to engage too. “Do you get to go to the pool too?”
“We are staying for two days!” He chimed in as she nodded her head joyfully, perhaps in response to the pool question.
What a couple of cuties! Kids are so great at engaging and connecting authentically when they are excited. I felt a rush of love and joy and I kept talking to them, seeing my hotel stay through new eyes of excitement and possibility.
“Leave the nice lady alone.” The mom chimed in suddenly, a tired warning in her voice as she yawned and looked at me sympathetically, perhaps apologetically, as if her kids were being naughty and I was more than considerate to put up with their chatter.
“Oh no, this is great!” I said, even as I realized maybe that was her transition to get them moving out of the parking lot towards the room itself. I felt the energy in me change from happiness to sadness almost instantly.
Are we so isolated these days we are teaching our kids not to engage or interact? That their excitement shouldn’t be shared? That talking to others is “bothering them” and it’s best to stay silent an in your own lane?
I know I’ve been hypersensitive to the awkwardness presenting itself as people try to engage with strangers these days. As if anything we say can and will be attacked or scorned, debated or opposed.
But what if I don’t want to be left alone? What if I am desperate for engagement, for excitement, for someone to remind me there is passion and joy out there in the simple things? What if I want to be looked at and smiled at and acknowledged, even if only for a moment in a grocery store?
Have we become so used to isolation, hiding, being socially distanced (for real, not just in physicality) that we have lost our desire and ability to just greet another person with a nod or a smile or even, God Forbid, a bit of laughter or a touch?
I thought I was going to the store to buy chocolate. Instead, my mission was to help another person.
Have you ever had a moment where you realized something higher was guiding you? Maybe you called it coincidence, or “right place, right time.” Maybe you heard one phrase that changed you or everything you believed about life.
I had a lovely dinner with my friend in Iowa tonight. Even though I ate light, I ate a ton and was really full. Therefore I was surprised by the strong urge to go to the grocery store. I checked in with my body. Nope, not craving anything.
I decided I had just sat too much and what my body needed was a walk as the clouds reflected the sunset in a deep red hue. Yet, I still navigated to the grocery store.
I stood staring at the chocolate, realizing nothing really sounded good (I know- what happened to me!!!)
Suddenly, a woman started sobbing halfway down the isle. Heart-breaking, life-ending kinds of sobs. You know, like the ones in the movies where patrons get brought to tears too? Where your heart hurts just hearing the sound?
I turned towards her, and watched as people pointedly ignored her. In fact, some walked past pretending they were SUPER interested in things on the shelf opposite her. She lowered her phone from her ear and her head followed, finding a resting spot on the handle of her cart. I’m sure she didn’t even notice the lack of curiosity, compassion, empathy, or humanity around her.
She didn’t notice my approach, so I asked, “Are you okay?” She kept sobbing, and I placed a gentle hand on her shoulder for whatever level of comfort and connection I could offer. Finally, she brought her head up and shared that she just found out her best friend had died. In broken English she told me that once, a long time ago, they were engaged. She didn’t know the details yet as she couldn’t reach the family.
I did what I do best- offered a hug. She fell into my arms and sobbed for a while as I just supported and gave her all the love and healing I could channel through me.
When we parted, she thanked me profusely a few times. I am the one who should thank her. I learned a lot from that interaction. Remembering a time when a stranger comforted me when I was sad in an airport in Ireland, I thought about the power of reaching out to a fellow human (whether we know them or not). Why don’t we?
Are we afraid they will get angry or that we will get caught listening to their ‘sob story’ for hours? Can we not be bothered to show a minute’s compassion for someone in pain? For our friends, do we just say, “Hey, call if you need anything. I’m here for you.” and walk away feeling as if we’ve done our part as we leave them the responsibility of reaching out when they are in the midst of emotional upheaval?
Perhaps instead we give them a short, “I’m sorry” on their facebook page and scroll on as if we’ve really made any difference.
I was reassured that the book I wrote recently about how polarized and scared our society has become to communicate and interact was divinely inspired. Chocolate wasn’t the reason of my journey tonight. Most importantly, I was sent to the store to help a fellow human who needed a moment of understanding, of acceptance, and of unconditional love. Above all, I think we’ve lost our capacity to approach each other with curiosity and openness. Like this SNL skit, we are reactive instead of compassionate.
Have you ever been pushed out of or separated from a group that you really felt part of? Maybe you have experienced this in sports, in school, in religious community, in friendships, in your neighborhood, or over this pandemic. I’ve worked with people who have had this painful experience, but only recently has it happened to me in a way that broke my heart.
Break-up x 100 = Devastation
I’m surprisingly devastated, and it’s like 100 friends have broken up with me at the same time. To be honest, this group that I perceived and experienced as loving and spiritual has its own agenda. They schedule things and then move them with little to no notice (which is what happened.)
I Paid to Be Part of Something
I planned my travel and my whole work schedule around this spiritual journey; the time it is offered has been moved with only five days notice. Instead of participating in the 25 classes in-person where I can ask questions and build relationships, I now will have to watch the replays.
It feels disrespectful and personal, even though it has nothing to do with me. The odd thing is, many of the communities I have been part of have pushed me away, attacked me, or shamed me recently. Enough that I got very ill and depressed and was unable to function for days. I sat on the earth one day and observed myself and how I was feeling and thought, “Is this how people feel when they decide to commit suicide?” Although I wasn’t suicidal, I had never felt the depth of hopelessness I did in that moment. I questioned everything I was doing in the world as well as my purpose in it.
What’s the Lesson?
I’m trying to figure that out. As a person who really loves people, who is writing a book on the importance of community and connection and communication and empathy and love, it almost feels like a test. Do I believe what I say? Or am I the painter who never paints her house? Perhaps I talk so much about love and connection because I am trying to create it for myself.
Is It Safe To Love?
Is it worth the heartbreak? Am I expecting too much of my fellow humans? I don’t think so. I do think at the core everyone wants to be loved. Individuals are loveable. But so many messages from our infancy on teach us that love is conditional. We are not enough. Love isn’t to be trusted. Community is a place you go to find others, but must ‘Do’ to be ‘part of’.
Creating a Powerful Story
After writing this, I am considering the possibility that I am experiencing these losses over and over so I can channel the isolation energy as I write this book. I was fairly sheltered during the pandemic, but this mirrors many of the experiences of those I have talked to.
Doing My Work
I’ve already done some EFT Tapping around it and prayerful meditation. That’s when I decided to write this blog. Now, I’m off to do yoga and move the rest of this energy out before I continue to write my book.
Do You Resonate?
I’d love to hear your stories about connection and disconnection, loneliness and isolation. It is something we all experience sometimes, so why don’t we talk about it more? How do you find ways to connect when you feel like no one cares? Drop me a line. Let’s chat.
I went to my parents’ house out in the country and took a hike into the back hills where I used to frolic as a child. Memories came flooding back as I wandered through the open, snowy woods.
I remembered the neighbor, Ms. Mueller, who I had been told was a survivor from World War II and the Nazi camps. She lived up the hill behind our house on her own, windows covered with black garbage bags. I was always told not to bother her, yet if I saw her outside of her house curiosity would win over and I’d talk to her. She was very kind, if not a little strange. My dad would tell me that was part of her PTSD, but I didn’t really know what that meant.
For the Love of A Child
In elementary school one year we made paper May Day baskets, decorated them with crayon, and filled them with candy. I decided I wanted to give a basket to her; perhaps she was lonely and need some drawings for her refrigerator. I hung it on her doorknob and knocked on her door and ran into the woods to watch, terrified and excited. Would she be angry for being disturbed? I didn’t even know which of her two doors she used. I waited for a while, then ran up again and knocked on the other door even harder, confused at the lack of response. She never answered the door, and I left a bit disappointed, but hopeful she would find it later.
Home Has Changed
The structure of the forest has changed. I searched for the tree where I used to hide out and read books in my dad’s deer stand. (Around the age of 8 I “ran away” and was determined I’d live there to show my mom how much I didn’t need her rules.) The sacred meadow where I used to sit on the rock and overlook the cow pasture is now full of bushes and trees and thorns. A temporary deer stand exists elsewhere, ladder propped against a young vital tree that can hold the weight.
Can You Go Home Again?
When I come here and go into the woods, I remember the simple innocence; the comfort of wanting to be away but knowing I had a place to return to where I was loved. I think about all those who don’t have that right now and feel trapped in houses with people who don’t love them.
The water is off. I know 20 years ago I could have walked to any neighbor’s house to refill the water jugs. I’m sure I still could, but it feels different doing it now, since I don’t know the neighbors, than it did when I could bike to the neighboring farm to ask for a cup of sugar for my mom. Why is that? Has living in the city and owning my own house and seeing the separation of the world taken away my ability to knock on someone’s door? Maybe I should tap on that.
Have Neighborly Ways Changed?
I’m not scared and I know I won’t get hurt. It’s almost as if there’s an unwritten social rule. I guess I could go knock and introduce myself. I don’t know why asking for water seems like a harder step. If I were in a foreign country, I probably would, as if being a foreigner excuses my need. But I’m home, aren’t I?
I’ve Changed More Than Home Has
As I followed the deer paths, the landscape no longer looked familiar to me. I remember coming here when I was 24. I think it’s the last time I was out here. My cat had died unexpectedly in front of me the same day I broke up with a boyfriend.
I had returned to bury my cat next to my childhood dog, and took to the woods to heal my broken heart. I sat on a fallen tree, laid down and promptly fell asleep. The sun was in a different space when I awoke, and a deer was calmly grazing nearby. She looked at me as I rolled my head to look at her more clearly, and we shared a moment together. She kept eating, and slowly ambled away. It connected me to what’s real.
What’s My Point?
It was a reminder connection and love is eternal, no matter how painful it can be. Peace can be found in gentle moments, no matter where home is or isn’t. Even in the grief of a death, even when all feels lost, there is still the part of self that grew from that connection.
That’s what I choose to take back with me to the city. Stillness. Hope. Knowledge that beauty is unfolding and will expose itself when this part of the journey is done.
What is Home for You?
If you are struggling with connection in your family relationships, whether in or out of your current home, I can help. EFT tapping is amazing at helping move through feelings of disconnection, anger, loneliness, betrayal, stress, and feelings of lack of intimacy. Reach out for a free health and healing strategy session and let’s figure out how to make you find that feeling that home is safe and calm for you.
“Are you accepting hugs?” I asked my friend, Jason, at the ski hill just before he opened his arms to welcome me into his space. I had been running into people I hadn’t seen in over nine months my first day back at the slopes, and had enjoyed the variety of connection opportunities.
After sharing a lovely hug, I turned to a nearby acquaintance of ours. He was sitting distant to everyone, drinking a beer, and before I could even open my mouth to say hello, he looked at me sternly, held up his hands, and crossed his fingers towards my face.
What the hell? I thought, immediately offended. I’m sure he heard and saw me ask for permission before entering Jason’s space. I wasn’t going to bombard him with a hug.
“Hey there,” I said to him. He’s frightened I’m sure, and probably didn’t mean ill wishes towards me. He just stared at me, nodded his head, and turned back to his beer.
The fact he wants space doesn’t bother me, I thought. It was the look combined with the gesture, as if he was warding off evil. I know in Japan it is the gesture to ask for a check, but here I take it as a rude “get away from me.”
Saying ‘Yes’ While Asking For Space
There have been various versions of this scenario throughout the pandemic; although this was the most off-putting and rude way someone has asked for space, I can’t help but remember that many of us have not learned how to say ‘yes’ to a person while maintaining distance. In other words, how to acknowledge another person’s presence while simply and honestly stating one’s boundaries.
I have seen people place hands together in a gentle ‘namaste’ as a greeting. Others simply state they are maintaining physical distance. I have seen people wave or step back with a gentle verbal reminder that they would like some space. To me, these seem like gentle ways to address the desire for connection (a yes to the person) while asking for distance.
It’s Different with Strangers–Or Can Be
With strangers I have had the experience of people shrinking away in fear if I walk too close on a hiking trail; others just step off the trail and wait for me to pass-or vice versa. I have seen people get out of line at the grocery store if someone is too close, while others wait (patiently) for an isle to be vacant before entering themselves. There is not necessarily a need to say ‘yes’ to a stranger, but one can choose the level of grace and fear that accompanies non-verbal communication.
Saying ‘Yes’ as A Skill
Saying ‘yes’ to a person and ‘no’ to touch is a communication skill that was important way before this pandemic. Have you ever had to redirect a child who wants to be held while you are occupied? Perhaps you have said something like, “Not now, honey, can you wait until after dinner?” Or, “I know you want to be on my lap right now, but I have to finish folding this laundry.”
Redirecting and saying ‘yes’ to a person goes beyond physical contact as well. Has your partner been focused on a project while you are trying to ask a question and said, “Can you wait a minute to talk about this until I’m done so I can give you my full attention?” Or, “I’ll help you as soon as I’m finished with this?”
I’m sure you’ve acknowledged someone’s presence or need for attention or an answer while also asking for a pause, for a moment or two until the timing is better.
This is saying ‘yes’ to a person and ‘no’ to the interruption. It is saying in a subtle way, “Hey, I hear you and I want to respond, but if you can wait a bit, I can engage in a manner that is more authentic, more thoughtful, more connected.”
We All Make Mistakes in Communication
Do we make mistakes consciously and subconsciously with communication verbally and non-verbally? Of course. Can each of us take offense to something that is not meant to be offensive? Absolutely. I did.
My Question For You
How can you choose to state your boundaries more clearly with those you interact with? When I teach classes about healthy touch and communication, we often discuss offering a series of options to another that suit your own boundaries. “Would you like…a high-five? Fist-bump? Handshake? Hug?”
Giving a few options within your own comfort level can be a helpful guide to the other whilst showing respect for their own boundaries. Or, clearly stating before any error is made, “I would love to give you a hug/ handshake, but I am choosing to maintain distancing at the moment. But it is lovely to see you.” Clear communication not only takes the awkwardness out of a situation, but shows a level of caring and respect.
Comfort Levels Change Around Touch
Permissions can also change day-by-day. A person who wants a hug on Monday may feel a bit sensitive on Friday, or may be starting to distance before they visit an elderly relative. It doesn’t hurt to ask. You can even make it playful! Find a few phrases that fit your boundaries and personality for the next time you run into someone you know. And remember, if someone says ‘no,’ don’t take it personally. Even if they come across rude or angry. After all, we are all doing the best we can at the moment; that too, needs to be respected.
Have you ever lost your ability to love? I have been hesitant of love a few times in my life, especially after relationships (both intimate and friendships) that ended. But I really lost it, believe it or not, after one of the most joyful and life-changing experiences I had. I came back from Europe December 28, 2019 and one of the first things I noticed when I interacted with my friends and family was the loss of the emotion of love.
My Brain Knew, My Heart Did Not
Seriously— I could not feel the love. I knew I loved them, cared for them, but it was flat. Detached. What I imagine people explain when they are on antidepressants where there are no highs and no lows. In a way it was devastating–but I couldn’t even feel devastated. Usually I would use Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) with myself for something like this, but I couldn’t figure it out. I hired Gabriella from Migration of Emotion, and the best way I could describe it was as if my heart was in a concrete bunker.
Part of the reason I went inside? Safety. I connect so deeply and so easily to people that I had stopped connecting because it was too painful to keep leaving.
Where Is the Connection?
The first time I was in Europe I’d be in one area three weeks then go to another area. There was always something new to see, some new excitement to be had. The second time I was there, I wrote my book, The Touch Crisis, and it was much less like that. Friends hosted me, but I also took a lot of continuing education and was in hostels or camping temporarily. The connections were not as deep and, in fact, a lot of the people I considered close friends in the U.S. were not staying in contact or returning texts. Because I was going back to places I had traveled before, there was less magic and a little less enthusiasm about where I was going. I lost, over time, my desire to be connected because subconsciously I didn’t want to feel the pain and loss of leaving people.
I do remember a couple months traveling and thinking I ‘should’ feel more excited about what I was seeing . The realization I had been to all these beautiful places and done all these amazing things and had no one who really understood, no one who really could share that experience with me, was horribly isolating.
Jung on Loneliness
Carl Jung said in Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, “Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”
I knew I had changed, but kept questioning: what is this lesson? I was doing my work, tapping, self-exploring. Shouldn’t this be easier? I felt so lonely I couldn’t even find the motivation to do my self-work. Apathy was my main companion. I escaped through reading, sometimes drinking or eating too much, and sometimes stared at the computer. Watching movies was pointless because I would spend an hour trying to find what to watch only to turn something on and be completely dissatisfied– all because I was dissatisfied within. I felt lonely, isolated, and not understood.
With help, I came out of it; she helped me find what actually needed to be healed. She did for me what I strive to do for others, and I am extremely grateful.
Love is worth it. Connection is worth it. It’s why I’m so passionate about relationships and why it’s my life mission to help people feel wanted, connected, and powerful. Sometimes shit hits the fan and it feels it’s too hard or impossible to heal. Hell, half my work was about getting over the fear of feeling pain or heartbreak. The other portion was about observing where I was getting love, support, and understanding but wasn’t able to see it.
My Question for You
Where do you want to feel more love with yourself, others, and/ or your community? What is preventing you from having that? How will you choose to communicate the things that are important to you?
I am having WAY too much fun connecting and collaborating these days–even without touch.
When the first round of stay-at-home orders hit, I was thrilled to use my “free time” to be on zoom about twelve hours a day. I was co-writing another book, networking with my two favorite networking groups, as well as having online connects personally with those I kept intending to build relationships with.
Computers drain my energy. They make me irritable and restless if I’m not also doing regular exercise. At the time, I was busy pouting over a sprained ankle and a shoulder injury, so wasn’t working out. The only things that kept me sane were hugs from my roommate + a newfound coffee and chocolate compulsion. It was not the best choice for my physical health. Emotionally they helped, as coffee reminded me of friends in Europe.
Can you ask for what you need in this time? Can you let go of any fear and understand that healthy touch actually boosts the immune system? Seriously-they did a study exposing people to the flu and found the more hugs and better social support, the less likely people were to get sick.
When you see friends ask, “Would you like a handshake? Hug? Or for me to say six feet away?” It shows respect + you get to only throw in the options that suit you. You can also make it playful, “Are you receiving hugs today?” Instead of having an awkward moment, take charge and choose to connect.
If you need a hug or some healthy human contact, you know where to find me.
**This is a storyline edit and repost of a past blog. I was looking for the words to help others connect with their community, have compassion, and heal from old wounds. My connection post from August of 2019 danced through my head, and felt more relevant than when it was first posted. I ask you to read this version with an open heart and mind. Learn. Think. How do you speak/ write/ make comments to others? Are “those people” doing something? Heck, I have even used that term lately.
Who are “Those People”
I’ve found myself talking about all of “those people” who are judging other people. Who aren’t seeing the big picture. Who are creating division and separation. You know-like I was at that moment.
Crap! I might be one of “those judgy people” right now
It was a good moment to check myself and my own ego. That’s a broad-based statement and judgement there, Dawn. Not only are we all doing the best we can, but our brains are wired from birth and from upbringing to find solutions to a problem in a pattern. You are doing what you can with the knowledge, beliefs, and brain you have. So is everyone else. No matter what “side” they seem to be on.
Ego and Fear
My book, The Touch Crisis, is now a bestseller. Perhaps my mind is accurate in telling me it’s not going to help enough.
Firstly, how on earth am I supposed to help us connect with each other when we cannot even use civil tones with each other on social media? Secondly, how can we use intentionally loving or compassionate physical contact to connect when we cannot even use compassionate verbal tones?Thirdly, how can we touch each other with kindness when we are triggered by the idea that someone–that stranger over there– may or may not have a mask on at the moment?
I have been observing people become angrier with each other. We are acting less patient, less kind, less considerate. Perhaps as a culture we are expressing more belligerence and more defensiveness because we tie ourselves to “a side.”
Maybe touch will help? My internal dialogue spins. When did each of us stop thinking critically? When did the slippery slope of identifying with an idea shift to our ego and our tie to our own identity? How has each of us lost touch with how our actions and words impact others–no matter what the others’ beliefs are?How has the way I define myself changed?
People cheat, people lie, people do bad things—not liberals, not conservatives, not pro-Trump, not BLM, not whites, not gays, not the immigrants, not the millennials, not the elderly. There are hate groups, of course, but individuals make these choices, the same way my individual friends make the choice to use tones of hatred. Individual People also make mistakes. Many are traumatized–even if they aren’t aware of it yet because they are in survival mode. “Those people” who are judging others for their actions or inactions are part of the problem. How do I become part of the solution? How can I even stop using the insidious yet seemingly-harmless term “those people?”
My goal of helping others connect seeming suddenly hopeless, I stepped away from my computer and wandered aimlessly around my house. Instead of the peace of the Norwegian countryside, I was confronted with rain and the piles of detritus left on the curbside by the college-student turnover in my neighborhood. I thought of my friend who made the comment, “Suddenly I’m associating the American flag on vehicles with the concept of racism, and I don’t want to feel that way. In fact, I know it isn’t that way.”
Our shadow side has emerged. On one hand it’s great, because to heal anything we must face the hard truth of what lies in the dark. Of what has been hidden. Of what needs to be healed and confronted and understood. But one cannot fight shadow with anger, with cruelty, with judgement, and with denial. My mind drifted again to an exercise at my Blandin Community Leadership training. If only people understood how much our beliefs are actually part of our brain function.
Blandin Leadership Training
“I am going to put you into groups based upon your Meyers Briggs results and have each group figure a way to solve this problem.” One of the program directors stood in the middle of the U-shaped table formation near the front of the room and watched us expectantly.
I was one of fifty rural community leaders. We were a variety of ages, backgrounds, gender, and race. Our similarity was our passion and our desire to change our community for the better, and each of us had been chosen– after a lengthy application process– to be trained and resourced to build and sustain a healthy community. We were learning not only about ourselves, but where individual and organizational blind spots may be, how we interact with others, how to see problems from a higher perspective, how to build positive social structures, and how to resolve conflict. Quite an undertaking for a five-day retreat.
This should be interesting, I thought, as the director divided us into three groups. The last few exercises taught us all a lot about individual roles and reactions, but this is the first big group problem-solving exercise. I smiled as everyone stood up and a cheerful buzz filled the room, as people grabbed their materials and re-organized themselves.
“Here’s the situation,” she interrupted the chatter as people organized into smaller circles. “You are on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization. Your bookkeeper, a volunteer who has been loyal, accurate, and timely for 15 years, suddenly starts making mistakes in the financials. The mistakes seem to be growing slowly, and one day it is brought to your attention that someone smelled alcohol on her breath while she was at the office. What do you do?”
She stepped back and smiled knowingly. “Does anyone need me to read that again?”
Huh, not quite as challenging as I anticipated, I thought as I turned back to my group with a thoughtful look on my face, I already know what my plan of action would be.
“Well, of course we need to have a conversation with her,” one member piped up right away. “We don’t know what’s going on or if it’s true she really had been drinking.”
“She is a volunteer,” another person chimed in. “But we do have a duty to our organization, especially when it comes to finances.”
“Yes, we definitely cannot sacrifice our organization if she isn’t able to continue here duties well, but if she needs a bit of time away from the job to deal with a personal issue, we could find another person to help temporarily,” the next comment came.
Yep, this is easy, I sat up straighter and looked around the rest of the conference room to see how the other two groups seemed to be getting on. Looks like there’s a lot of agreement in the other two groups as well, I noted, people are smiling and nodding and seem enthusiastic with their hand gestures—-at least the extroverts.
I giggled to myself. Blandin had broken our 16 types down into sub-types, giving us further insight to each category, and I could see those dynamics playing out in the room. Our group is much smaller than each of the other two, I noted. We only have about ten, and the other two are around twenty people each. That must make it a bit more difficult to come to a resolution.
“You have three minutes left. Please pick someone from your group to present your decision to the group,” the director interrupted loudly over the animated chatter.
We hastily picked our leader, had her verbally recap our final decision to us quickly, and turned towards the front of the room, waiting.
“Group one, please present your results.”
A prominent businesswoman stood up and projected the decision easily and clearly over the group. “As the board of directors, we have no choice but to terminate her volunteer position immediately and find a replacement. We cannot tolerate any financial impropriety in the organization, as it could cause a negative impact on our nonprofit status, our revenue, and the community trust in our organization.”
Wow, that is super harsh, I thought, stunned. No communication? No making sure that there wasn’t some other error in the system or an update that wasn’t her fault that was creating the errors? Wow. So much for years of loyalty. I know how much time that stuff can take.
“Group three, go ahead,” the leader interrupted my thoughts as I shook my head and turned my body the other direction to hear the verdict from the other side of me.
“Well,” the executive director of a nonprofit stood and faced the group. “She has had 15 years of loyal service. We thought it was in our best interest to sit down and have a conversation with her, offer her help, see if the matter was one in which she wanted to leave the position temporarily or permanently. We will give her support in finding help with her drinking if that is necessary, and do what we can to get her back on track. She is a volunteer after all, and we don’t need to jump to harsh conclusions or actions until we understand the totality of the problem.” She sat back down.
Huh, that doesn’t seem to protect the organization fast, and is completely opposite of the first group’s answer.
“Group 2?” The leader prompted.
Our spokeswoman, who worked for a large corporation, stood up and announced our decision, an exact blend of the other two. Starting with compassion and curiosity, and if the issue wasn’t fixed, to take strong disciplinary action.
Our brain wiring determines how we make these kinds of decisions. Holy crap. And my group’s brain wiring has a blend of both sides, which is why we are smaller and have a blend of both answers.
The understanding hit me as ways to increase communication and synergy to pull two conflicting sides together became clear.
Nature and nurture both influence how we see and interact with the world as individuals. The fear, drama, and propaganda in our culture now shapes the tone and grace–or lack thereof–in which individuals choose to share their opinions.
My mom told me that if I can’t say anything nice—-don’t say anything at all. I don’t believe that is true. Communication is necessary for a vibrant community. We need to be able to disagree, to have respectful conflict, to speak our minds, to share what is disturbing us, and why. However, it can be done in a curious, educational, and amicable way. Are there people spouting melodrama and hatred out there? Of course. Does that mean you need to match their tone? Absolutely not.
If something someone says triggers you and makes you extremely angry, is there a way you can pause, take a breath, and reply in a manner or tone that conveys your disagreement in a way that opens communication? What kind of attitude and tone would open you to listening to an opposing point of view? Try using that.
That’s my challenge for you this week. Whether it’s a disagreement with your child, your coworker, your friend, or on social media, take a breath. Realize that everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter what information or lack thereof informs it. You may not be able to change someone’s mind, but you won’t for sure if you attack them. Ignore those who haven’t learned these lessons yet, except to prompt them to please use a different tone.
Does that seem too challenging? Perhaps it’s time to learn Emotional Freedom Techniques (a.ka. EFT or tapping.) It’s a powerful way to release the visceral emotional reaction to stressful situations. Check this link for class details. If you would prefer to talk about it individually, schedule a free session here.
Connection. It has so many nuances and meanings. I’ve been interviewing people about how they want to approach physical contact (touch) with others as we start connecting in person again. How they want to communicate around touch and where their wants, needs, and desires are. I feel called to connect and collaborate with three non-profits who I have personal connection with right now.
So am donating 30% of my EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques a.k.a. tapping) gross sales to these charities July and August (see the end of this blog for links and more details.) EFT not only empowers you to work with yourself on stressors and emotional challenges, but can make permanent and positive changes in your life. Click here to access a short video on the science and power of EFT. I am offering inexpensive classes online through eventbrite for those who want a sneak peek. You can also book a complimentary session online so we can chat and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Join Me on Lois’ Podcast!
I’m really excited to join Lois Koffi on a special edition of her weekly Friday Podcast. We will speak about The Healing Touch Through Difficult Times. Please join us on the 10th of July at 12.30 PM (PST) / 2:30 PM (CST) for this interview! www.loiskoffi.com/podcast (Here is the replay.)
I’ve been cherishing the people I’ve been able to stay connected to from overseas, and enjoying reconnecting with my clients, friends, and family here. But overall in these last two years, beyond playing, I’ve been learning to reconnect with myself, my deeper desires and passions that fuel me and my work. I also explored how I want to help others find connection to their own being, their own spirit and soul, and feel the deeper connections to others. I’ve been getting support through my own practitioners and loved ones. My book, The Touch Crisis, will be out in early August, and I have classes and experiences to help people find their way through their own muddy pasts and out of their ruts so they can have the experience of connecting authentically—even if they feel they are already connected.
How Lonely Are We?
A recent Cigna study (September of 2019) of over 10,000 Americans showed that 61% of Americans surveyed feel lonely. The top causes cited? Not enough social support, too few MEANINGFUL social interactions, poor mental and physical health, and not enough life balance. Heavy social media users are more likely to feel this way. That’s before the quarantine prevented connection. I want to help shift this for each of you. It’s my passion, my desire, and what I feel I am called to do at this point in my life.
Beyond joining others on their podcasts to teach this great concept, I am offering online one-hour classes on creating connection via communication around physical contact into your life. Not only do you get to learn what you want, but what you don’t. How can you gently tell someone to stay six feet away and remain connected? Do you know how you can ask for a hug that you desperately need– even when you are not sure how the other person is reacting to touch? How do you navigate the tricky terrain of handshakes, elbow bumps, or physical distancing for yourself and others you are meeting? Check out some of the Touch Conversations on the Touch Remedies YouTube Channel, and if you are so inspired-please subscribe!
As always, please let me know how I can support you. I’m willing to work around barriers-including financial, time, and location. Now that I’ve gone through the wringer and come out the other side embodying all the love and joy I thought I had lost, I’m fully present and here for you all.
Pause 4 Paws was established in 2011 with a mission of working to ensure that dogs and cats are treated with dignity and respect. Through 2019, Pause 4 Paws directly supported numerous animal rescues and sanctuaries in Minnesota as well as the rescue community in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Most animal rescues are small, volunteer-based community organizations that do not have staff available to spend time fundraising. P4P worked on behalf of these organizations and has distributed over $500,000 to these beneficiaries since our inception. In doing so, the rescues we supported have saved over 46,000 dogs and cats and spayed or neutered nearly 31,500 animals since 2011. 100% OF THE FUNDS WE DISTRIBUTE THROUGH PAUSE 4 PAWS GO DIRECTLY TO THE SUPPORT AND CARE OF THE ANIMALS.
The Spread Sunshine Gang is a non-profit with the mission to share goodness, kindness and generosity to the Twin Cities metro area and beyond. We do this by providing outlets for people to creatively give. Everyone needs more sunshine!
Inspire and Flourish…..It is something we can all do. It is something we can help others do. It is something we should do. There are so many ways we can make a difference in each other’s lives. We can lend a helping hand, donate something ~ whether it be goods/supplies or our time. Watching someone else’s life change just because you decided to help ~ is a wonderful thing.
All of our auxillary events are put on and run by volunteers. Monies raised from the “Mobile Memories Photo Booths” helps to support these fundraising projects.