On Connecting To Strangers
The Sidewalk Talk Blog
Judging someone is a real bugger.
Judgment prevents us from connecting as people. And it kinda makes us sick.
Not proudly, I judge people all the time. And I am not always aware when I am doing it. Sidewalk Talk and being married have both been my biggest teachers for being a better human.
A dear friend, Jamie McHugh, shared a quote with me,
“Judgement and anger are always a signpost of an unmet need.”
This quote reminds me of training I did with Marshall Rosenberg in 2005.
“Great so I have an unmet need, I am still mad and I’m judging and blaming the other person for it. What is your point, Traci?”
Let me tell you a story that will help this all come to life.
I see couples for therapy in the evening. Three nights I week I get home after ten pm and it is pitch black out and finding the door, getting the key in the lock...it is impossible if the porch light isn’t on. One week, my husband forgot to leave the porch light on for the third time. I was very snarky and judgemental when I got in the house. “He is so lazy.” “He is so selfish.”. “He is so ..fill in the blank.”
Because I love my partner, I am motivated to dig beneath the surface of my snark and I try to dialogue with the parts of me that are so upset rather than being a self-righteous jerk to him. “I am so sorry you are upset, Traci. What is the truest truth here? What most tender need didn’t get met by your husband that you can share tenderly with him rather than lambast him?”
To figure out what the heck is up with me I first need to close my eyes, feel the tension of the judgment and anger in my body and let my care and compassion for my hurt melt it a bit and then the real tender hurt part of me reveals itself.
My judgment and self-righteousness was a way I was trying so hard NOT to feel my vulnerability. A part of me felt forgotten and unimportant - an old wound indeed. (No wonder it was hotter than the situation called for.)
A few minutes later I got in touch with my need for nurturance and consideration. And whamo, I am free and open and available for a connected dialogue with my husband that has nothing to do with making up some judgemental story about my guy, nor using some “heady” 1, 2, 3 steps for better dialogue.
Heart-centered listening fixed my whole judgemental sassy stuff.
In my years of practicing this kind of heart-centered listening and dialogue it doesn’t always work out, though. My husband may still forget to leave the porch light on. Or, in some instances, other folks I have shared my tenderness with rebuke with pep talks to “get over it” or “go meditate” or “count to 4 and the feeling will shift” instructions. Some folks will not honor our tenderness and vulnerability, ever and that painful truth we can also be heart-centered with.
None of this is about getting the other person to change.
It is about us being heart-centered, even when the world around us cannot. That is why such simple acts of dialogue and connection are WAAAAY more than reflective listening. Reflective listening is a technique. Being heart-centered is a state. And it is a radical, life-altering, world-transforming state to walk around the world in.
Will you join me in using our own hearts to melt our judgments by getting clear what is really true in our most tender places inside?
From those tender places we can learn to be tender with all the different parts of ourselves and tender with all the different people in the world and do right by them. That is what we are practicing at Sidewalk Talk but you don’t have to come listen with us to practice. You can start right now, today.
I am someone who likes dancing with shadow stuff. I don’t just walk around with toothy smiles and like talking about love, positivity, and growth. I like knowing what makes us ache as humans. The positive and negative aspects feel authentic and more genuine to me.
But even for someone who likes dark stuff, the world feels increasingly intense and painful right now. It seems some new environmental catastrophe, the threat of war, or injustice emerges every day. I watch friends post things on social media and I see the desire to find some steady ground by hunting for a root cause, placing blame, taking the position as the righteous actor. I notice myself drift in and out of all of these places too. I feel less human and less humane in this casting about.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to Yemeni activist, writer, mom, deep feeler, lovely human, Atiaf Alwazir. She will be on the podcast in April. Be sure to follow to and listen along here so you get the update when she is live.
In our moment of connection, we stretched beyond the anguish and human atrocities going on in Yemen. And I was left feeling like I had come to afternoon tea with Atiaf as she described how the women dress up and gather every afternoon. I could smell the spices of the fish dish and could hear the laughter of friendship and mothering together. What happens, when we leave out joy, is we can no longer connect as people. We dehumanize when we are out of balance in our joy or despair.
Atiaf said, “You know Traci when wars and bad things happen, we cannot just talk about a place and a people as victims. We have to also hold joy and reverence too for their resilience and livelihood.”
I am reminded of a quote that goes something like this...I have to stretch my arms wide to my grief and my joy so I may embrace myself and others in hard times.
Don’t confuse what I am saying as advocating for a kind of bypassing “zoning out” kind of joy that is about avoiding taking action. We must act but hard to do if hopelessness has zapped us of all our energy.
Atiaf reminded me that there is another kind of joy - the joy of remembering that in great tragedy there is also great resilience and we need to feel into those positives in order to thrive in the negatives. She reminded me that even while I am an adept shadow dancer some days I can get too lost in my dark feelings when the world is burning.
Balancing our despair with “effective hope” is an act of protest in these dark times. We must stretch our arms for both our despair and hope. For when we don’t, we run the risk of perpetuating the disconnection that leads to these crises in the first place.
George Kinder will also be coming on the podcast soon and he invites us all, in his book, The Golden Civilisation, to start creating the space to have an effective conversation about the world we want to create. He encourages us to hold each other accountable for taking these action steps to start creating that world together. His is another version of balancing the negative.
For me, Sidewalk Talk was my way of finding that balance between my despair over gun violence, injustice, and police brutality. I could see how media reports turned people into caricatures rather than people and we were rushing to blame or be right. For me listening was rehumanizing and hopeful.
So if you are looking for a way to find balance in the chaos, come out and take up the practice of listening on the sidewalk with us. And if you cannot join us on the sidewalk, you can lean in, in other ways. Email firstname.lastname@example.org on how to be a Sidewalk Talk ambassador, start a chapter, or help our operations team. Let’s stretch wide our embrace.
Healthline Media has a new series called "How Are You?" and Sidewalk Talk was lucky enough to be covered. Check out the beautiful documentary short and the wonderful host of "How Are You?", Omar Davis.
What an honor and a privilege. Sidewalk Talk is creating a mental health producing culture by making the connections that make us well a priority, all over the world.
On this particular day, we had, at one time, 22 listeners and 44 chairs on the sidewalk. It was also my last day listening in San Francisco before I moved to Heidelberg, Germany.
Watching this lit up my connection to Omar but more importantly, my love for my little family who I have listened with so many times. I miss you all. A LOT!
Last month, I was sitting on a sidewalk in Heidelberg, Germany. A man had been watching us for thirty minutes so a volunteer walked over and invited him to sit and talk.
I was privileged with getting to listen to him. Neither German, nor English, were his first language. And yet, we found our way together, cobbling together a mix of German and English.
Last month I also got to hear the leadership stories of Dr. Narendra Thagunna in Nepal and Patricia Maria Martins, in São Paulo, Brazil. We did not share a common language. Being a foreigner, learning a language, gave me a special kind of reverence for their courage to speak in their non-native language for our interview series and podcast.
Not judging non-native speakers is a shift inside me. As a teen, I had assumptions I made about people who did not speak the same language as me. "They are hard of hearing" or "they are not as smart." One of the great joys of aging and practicing listening at Sidewalk Talk is how my brain has changed and it quite naturally no longer makes that assumption or at least I notice assumptions I make about people really quickly, now.
How do we listen, if we do not share the same language?
I quite literally deploy all the ingredients of HEAR, our new organizational training protocol, here at Sidewalk Talk. H is for Honor. E is for Embody. A is for Accept we Assume and Assumptions Check, and R is for respond.
I come with a deep intention to HONOR this person as whole and deserving of love and respect just because they are human. This intention shapes my wonder and curiosity, my respect, and my ability to stay silently reverent. Part of showing honor to someone who speaks a different language is to invite a person to teach me the exact correct pronunciation of their name. To share with me some of the favorite words from their language or if they are struggling with a word in my native language, can they teach me that word in their language, and I practice saying it with them, as a show of honor and respect for their native tongue and as a way to be in resonance with them.
I stay inside my own skin and stay as present as possible, but I also pay attention to their body language so we can share an EMBODIED experience. Getting too analytic, intellectually can make a person feel like they are in a petri dish. Instead, I am a big ball of ME and they get to be a big ball of THEM and I notice them as a total self and they notice me as a total self.
3. Assumptions check
I have become deeply curious about my assumption making brain. I make assumptions about others, about myself, about the world, and it is now a natural habit to question virtually every assumption I make. ASSUMPTIONS CHECK and ACCEPTANCE that all brains make assumptions helps me not make that fateful assumption that a different language spoken means hard of hearing, not intelligent, or any other assumptions a person can make.
My RESPONSES incorporate Honor, Embodiment, and Assumptions Checking. I am not merely repeating what I have heard but responding to "who this person is". In the simplest of terms, I let my heart speak.
Back to my exchange with the man in Heidelberg. As the man sat, he began to shiver. I noticed his jacket was not warm. I found a blanket and covered him with it. He smiled. He shared the essence of what was true for him. In some moments I could not understand the message exactly, but I could see and feel in my body the general music and I stayed with him and leaned forward and shared what I was hearing in word and energy. He smiled again. Then he said, I was feeling alone before I sat down. Now I am not. And in a way, I heard him better than I could, if our conversation had been filled with words.
Today is International Volunteers Day and we have 7000 of those here at Sidewalk Talk.
Volunteers are a lively bunch because they are CHOOSING to turn up rather than beholden to turn up because of a wage.
The volunteers here at Sidewalk Talk are some of my favorite people, and many have become my closest friends. It is not uncommon for me to tear up talking to other volunteers about their experiences at Sidewalk Talk.
Here are my favorite things about Sidewalk Talk volunteers…
Whoa...these are really good people.
In a society that increasingly does not engage with a church or organized religion, my hope is Sidewalk Talk continues to grow in our community with each other and we have some hopes for more of that in 2020.
And, it turns out, volunteering is good for us. Check this research out from the Encyclopedia on Aging and Public Health.
“There are five reasons for benefits to [volunteering]: enhanced social integration; distraction from the agent's own problems; enhanced meaningfulness; increased perception of self‐efficacy and competence; and improved mood or more physically active lifestyle. Adult altruism (i.e., voluntary behavior that is “motivated by concern for the welfare of the other, rather than by anticipation of rewards”) has been associated with improved morale, self‐esteem, positive affect, and well‐being. The links between altruism and mental and physical health have been studied.” (Encyclopedia of Aging and Public Health)
Post S.G. (2008) Altruism and Volunteerism. In: Loue S.J., Sajatovic M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Aging and Public Health. Springer, Boston, MA
I sat curled up in bed this morning. I had a post on loneliness I was going to share on the blog but reading Spring Washam’s book, A Fierce Heart, in preparation for our podcast interview later today, I was moved by her storytelling and how important it is to listen to stories of calling. I welcome you to these intimate stories of others here at Sidewalk Talk and hope you feel their calling and let their stories inspire us all over the holidays. These leaders are all over the globe bringing love and connection to the street. Let their love shine bright in you and perhaps share the story of Sidewalk Talk listening with your family to ignite a new kind of conversation.
In absurd times, we need absurd amounts of love, - Brad Montague.
If you want to hear each of these leaders tell their stories, in their own words, head over to the #GivingTuesday page and scroll to the bottom for the audio and video clips of these leaders here and hear Heather, Esther, and Dr. Thangunna on the podcast. If this movement calls to you, invest your time, your heart, and consider helping us locate 100 monthly financial investors /donors to reach our #GivingTuesday goal on December 3. $20 per month will help us keep all 92 of our chapters and 7000 listeners creating the kinds of wellness for people, our politics, and our planet.
I volunteer for a global movement called Sidewalk Talk. We set up chairs in the streets and offer to listen to passers by. We don’t solve problems. We don’t give advice. We simply offer non-judgemental, empathic listening; the opportunity to sit with a stranger and be heard.
Newcastle is at 55°N latitude. We had one warm, sunny outing about 18 months ago but most of the time it’s freezing. We often take our chairs to a city centre square where the folk who have nowhere else to go hang out on park benches. There was a fatal stabbing in the same spot a couple of months ago.
Not exactly cosy. So why do I go back time and time again?
The answer, it seems, is not what I thought when I embarked on this…..
The Power of Listening in Coaching
I originally trained in a client-centred coaching approach, based on Carl Rogers’ principle that if we hold our clients in ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ they can largely solve their own problems. Later, I was deeply inspired by Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment and her concept of ‘generative attention.’ Personal experience with countless clients testified to these approaches; there is a profoundly simple power in listening to bring about change.
For several years, though, I had a growing sense that my work wasn’t REALLY making a difference in the world. It started as a mild sense of unease, maybe even distaste at the ‘privilege’ of the sphere I was working in. Every client that actually makes it to coaching (or indeed any listening service) has overcome huge social, psychological and financial barriers. How many thousands or even millions were there for whom these barriers were simply insurmountable?
Then one day in 2017 Sidewalk Talk appeared in my social media feed. I watched a TED-style talk by the amazing founder, Traci Ruble. I was gripped. Maybe Sidewalk Talk was the thing I was looking for – a chance to give something back.
Observing reactions to global events added to my restlessness. I often found myself thinking about the universal human pain that lies behind every act of greed, blame, hatred and violence. Whether in our homes, workplaces, political systems or street gangs are we not all just hurting human beings trying to protect ourselves? Even our economy, based on growth, fuels a striving for more. We fill the gaping holes in our hearts with perceived success, wealth, and more stuff. What would it be like to live in a world where we were OK as we were? Maybe if there was more listening without judgement we could lessen some of the pain? Maybe I could contribute to positive change in the world by bringing Sidewalk Talk to Newcastle….
So, I threw myself into it with altruistic intent. I would ‘do good’ in the world.
What I wasn’t anticipating, though, was the ‘good’ the world would do in me…
Getting BackHaving done about 25 of these outings now, I’ve come to recognise a repeating pattern in the effect they have on me. In the hours leading up to an event I feel a mounting sense of apprehension. I’ve created stories to explain this away – mostly about how many pulls there are on my time and if I was being kind to myself I’d stop taking things like this on. Then, as I’m arriving and we’re setting up our chairs, the stories morph into fears of judgement and rejection – the other volunteers probably think I’m a flaky event organiser; nobody is going to want to sit down with me; what we’re doing is crazy.
Then we start. And this amazing thing happens.
As I reach out to passing strangers; as I practice genuine acceptance when people give us a wide berth or turn our offer down; as I sit with someone who hasn’t washed for weeks and battle with a rising physical repulsion to the odour; as I listen with curiosity to someone who passionately shares opinions with which I strongly disagree, I start to soften towards myself. As I practice holding non-judgemental space and accepting the human being in front of me, they give the same back to me. In the act of listening I also feel heard. I am not judged. I am OK.
I return home exhilarated.
The magic of human-human connectionIt is a deeply humbling experience to connect with a stranger in this way. I am blown away by the beauty, pain, humour, vulnerability, creativity, wisdom and compassion in their stories. How easy it would be to despair if I only focused on the suffering they tell of. But there is hope in the magic of human-to-human connection.
They say that we teach what we need to learn. I am learning more about myself through Sidewalk Talk than I have through most of the professional CDP programmes that I have attended put together. Certainly I am discovering that I not the superhuman ‘empath’ that I aspired to be. It turns out I am just a hurting human being. And listening to another human being has incredible healing power. It also turns out, that heart-centred listening is not a capability. It is a practice. Likewise becoming human. So, it seems, it is not such an altruistic endeavour I’ve embarked on after all. Perhaps, in fact, there is a perfectly imperfect, human selfishness in it too.
And yes, sometimes there aren’t so many people who choose to sit down with us, but as one of our volunteers so beautifully put it: Our success is not how many people we listen to. Our success is that we are here.
Find out more about the global Sidewalk Talk movement and our HEAR programme for organisations on our website, or contact me at email@example.com.
Transforming business by developing exceptional leaders | Executive Coach | Leadership Consultant | Speaker
I volunteer for a street listening project Sidewalk Talk. Little did I know what gifts 'giving back' would bring to me when I embarked on this journey. With deep gratitude to founder Traci Ruble and my lovely volunteers Geof Ellingham, Christina Gates, Katie Demain, Laura Cook, Alan Ross, Rob Baker, Cath Brown, Ann Hall, Karen Wilson, Tara Case, Megan Hall, Angie Main, Sally Norris. #listening #connection #community.
The Heidelberg Sidewalk Talk listeners pulled up chairs in the freezing cold Monday night on an empty stretch of sidewalk and made it warm with connection. What if our communities were places of belonging? What problems could we solve in the world if this was our reality? Pictured are people from all over the world in this very diverse city speaking many different languages.
Are you responsible for Sidewalk Talk’s movement to create culture change one heart-centered conversation at a time?
You probably are and don’t even know it.
You are a Sidewalk Talk creator if you;
What do you feel inside when you let yourself really register how Sidewalk Talk is because of you?
Let that wash over you for a second.
Every little thing you choose to do to keep this Sidewalk Talk bus driving along the highway, banners out the windows, gas in the bus, is you raising your hand and saying “Look I see all the problems in the world and I know we can solve them if we can first connect."
"Everything I want to change in this world is possible from the starting point of heart-centered dialogue.”
If you have not yet become a part of the Sidewalk Talk awakening rippling across the world to wake up hearts to make us healthier, happier, and wiser, what would be different about your daily well being if you were fully on board?
How would it feel to say out loud to people you know “Yeah human connection is the thing that is going to save us. We cannot be healthy people, with a healthy planet, with healthy equality, and healthy politics unless we prioritize connection to each other no matter how different we are.”
Sidewalk Talk has very concrete impacts on the world.
Sidewalk Talk is in 92 locations across 15 countries - we have doubled in size since last year.
Our goal is to create more ease and joy for chapter leaders, a clear link to their impact, and more frequently listening everywhere. The big goal is to listen to 11,000 people a month around the globe. Can you imagine the ripple effects of that?
Here is what Sidewalk Talk does with money we earn:
1. First, all money goes to Social Good who are our bosses so they have to approve what we do with our money.
2. Money is making our impact 3x more efficient. In the old days we didn’t even have a website! Here is our stance on money.
3. Our mission of connection guides our growth. Intentional growth keeps us out of “harmful hustle” that leads to the disconnection problem in the first place. What is coming? A global and diverse advisory board is coming together to keep our heart focus and inclusion to all voices central and we are crafting a community voting system to influence direction. Everything we do with marketing messaging and partnering activities must have service rather than growth as its core ethic.
So if you are new to us, these are how we move through the world.
You are here because this is your mission. You have been called to it.
We invite you to stretch by asking others to join in.
For #GivingTuesday we need 100 monthly angel investors to get fully behind this mission with a monthly investment.
Maybe you are called to be that monthly angel investor. Or maybe you are called to go find those angels. You are making the world a better place.
Thank you for taking this stand to create connection, inclusion, belonging, and wellness in a divided and disconnected world.
A friend was telling me she was a big fan of a teacher who taught anger management. Then she began to volunteer for the organization and was surprised at how angry folks were inside the very organization hoping to dispel anger.
We chuckled together because we both knew that often we teach what we most need to learn. I started a listening project because I am a shitty listener and forget that I am a human being who needs other human beings. My nickname when I was in corporate life was “the machine” because I could get so much done in a day at great expense to my own well-being. So I bring a lot of humility to this work of listening and perhaps that willingness to be a beginner over and over makes me the best possible teacher. I know how hard it is to listen. As a result, I have reflected on what I have learned over the years and we have built a new organizational curriculum called HEAR.
Here is the rub...Sidewalk Talk is over 7000 volunteers and 92 chapter leaders and it is easy for my “people pleaser” “machine-like-self” to work around the clock to try to meet every person’s needs. I have certainly erred in that direction from time to time, that is for sure, but mostly I say no to a lot of pulls on my energy and time so I can stay a loving human. Some folks don't like boundaries - they feel mean but actually boundaries are a big part of connection. My heart’s desire is to walk the talk and all the volunteers who soar at Sidewalk Talk hold the same ethic to HEAR each other. Let me just say, some of the best humans I have ever met in my whole life, are inside this project.
Friday, in between psychotherapy sessions, I had an hour call booked with a volunteer who does design for us and our marketing person. I slowed down enough to say “Hey I am coming to this call with some high-intensity couples sessions so I am a little wobbly and feeling the pressure of our short time together to get a lot done. What are you bringing - good or bad?” Their answers about their lives, their kids, took all of four minutes but the remaining “worker-bee” conversation was filled with connection, joy, and creativity largely due to how we shared and listened at the start of our conversation. I still caught myself interrupting, feeling the crunch of time, and then I would come back, just like in any awareness practice, and remembered to HEAR these beautiful souls on this call with me.
Our successes and our failures to be big-hearted humans with each other led to the development of our new organizational training called HEAR that we bring to those of you who want to experience the magic of Sidewalk Talk. It is way more than training, it is a stance. When we all feel life-affirming connections at work we are more eager and engaged. Who doesn’t want that?
HEAR stands for Honor, Embody, Accept We Assume, and Respond.
Honor is a bow. We come to each conversation willing to see a person as having many parts. We bring reverence for their humanity in a very special, almost sacred way (certainly not a machine-like way). Everyone has great joys and great heartaches, no matter if they are a homeless vet or a wealthy CEO.
Embody is a word that was meaningless to me twenty years ago but is perhaps the MOST important part of my listening practice. I am not connecting with you with my judging brain but my whole being of feelings, sensations, and presence. When I am inside my own skin I also know when I need a break or need to set a limit.
Accept We Assume is a dozy for some. Here is the scoop...our brains are hard-wired to notice difference, have bias, and make assumptions. If we accept that our brains do this we can course correct. If we deny, we will continue to perpetuate disconnection and bias. “Oh look, I just assumed that person doesn’t speak English because of what they look like?” or “Oh look my boss just set a boundary with me which means they are a jerk?” Those are both assumptions. We have biases based on role, identity, religion, appearance, age, voice, and the list goes on. It is O.K. The thing to remember is don’t believe your assumptions. Open beyond them and the connection that awaits is magical.
Finally, responding is way more than repeating back what you heard. Responding is a facial, tonal, verbal and full-hearted intentional communication that says “I see you and I am with you.” There is no agenda to change this person’s state. What our initial research has shown is listeners feel just as great as the talkers. We all feel less alone in a heart-centered dialogue.
I hope you might consider taking up the practice of HEAR wherever you go. Taking the time to honor each other, embody our whole self, accept that assumptions will crop up to be dealt with and responding with intention in our listening allows us to make our organizations life-affirming rather depleting and humanizing, rather than dehumanizing. We need more of that in this world, now more than ever. Join in. I can vouch that since I started applying HEAR my whole world has become brighter.
If you are in Atlanta, GA, San Francisco, CA, New Jersey, Greater Los Angeles, the UK, and Western Europe, we have spots for 2 pro bono HEAR training's for organizations interested in trying our model out in each area. Training always includes bringing your team out to listen on the sidewalk. Complete this application here.
I was getting my kids breakfast in our tiny apartment that was already 85 degrees at 9am in Barcelona Spain, still not quite recovered from packing our house the week before. I had not checked my phone in a week but happened to pick it up as I was waiting for the coffee to finish. To my surprise, I see a message from the Sidewalk Talk volunteer team that someone from Oprah Magazine had reached out to us.
Would Being in Oprah finally ignite city leaders who have not launched yet?
I grinned. Then I immediately went from joy to “Oh no, do we have good enough WiFi here to take a call?” and “This apartment gets to 95 degrees during the day, where am I going to take this call?” and “What is the time difference?” Once my brain sorts that the next place I go is to the excitement and vision for Sidewalk Talk that “Yes we can widen our impact”.
Then I get hopeful and have all kinds of fantasies about how this press will not only bring new energy to the project but invigorate city leaders who have signed up to lead a chapter but have not been out to listen yet. I am always thinking about these leaders. I lose sleep thinking about them. How can we help them go live? What is in the way of them getting out there and listening? Is there some operational piece that we could work on for them to make it easier without ‘overtaxing’ our people, our families, and our pocketbook? I go to sleep every night with these questions on my mind. (If you are a leader reading this, let us know. Email the city leader team.) But an Oprah Magazine article? Maybe this will be the thing to ignite those leaders to take a leap of heart.
Being Interviewed Brings New Clarity About What I Stand For As Person
My favorite thing about being interviewed is I get to know myself more. As I wandered around in my nightgown, talking to Zoe on the phone, I started getting shushed from my husband and kids in the other room because I started getting loud. The heart fire started to glow in me and come out in my words. Our sense of connection to each other is the lifeblood of everything we create, do, or want as humans. Connection is such a key ingredient to our health and survival that I want us to be provocative out there on the sidewalk….offering it right out there in public. Moreover, we aren’t suggesting that connection is only for those who are suffering - nor is it about helping. Nope. Connection is the magic vitamin of the heart and soul. We have an epidemic of loneliness because we have devalued connection.
Heart-Centered connection turns to love which then turns to high integrity action
If we are good at heart-centered connection, guess what happens? We are better at all the other stuff. We are better at conflict resolution because we love each other. We live equality because we love each other. We take responsibility for past injustices because we love each other. We are better at considering the wellness not just of our own community but of everyone else and the planet as a whole because we love each other. Like it or not, we are an interconnected global family. We have a lot of people on this spinning ball and only connection will allow us to thrive.
What is more, this is not the first time Oprah Magazine has covered loneliness. So why do the story a second time. First, there are so many cool connection type projects to cover. But second, there are cool projects cropping up, because loneliness is an issue.
It was funny, before sitting down to write this morning I had to nurse my cold and wait for my Dayquil to kick in. I was watching a show on tiny homes and how there are so many ways people are hungry to reclaim their time so they can spend their time doing what matters, connecting.
I am a woman, therapist, wife, mom, friend, listener, and founder/leader of Sidewalk Talk. You can subscribe to my couples therapy list here.