Odds are, at some point today you will find yourself juggling an assortment of electronic devices whether on your desk, in your car or perhaps the floor (if your juggling skill needs a little work). Surrounded by some combination of headphones, speaker, laptop, tablet, phone, or speakers you will be waiting patiently (or not) to hear her voice. “Oh, please answer!” You've pushed her buttons, touched, scrolled and cajoled; sometimes she is there and other times, she’s elusive in her arrival. She speaks up and is ready to go when we're not in a rush, but not so much when we really need her attention. In those testy times, it’s more than likely us; we’ve confused her with too much input and requests for output - too much vying for her full attention. In the end, it seems nothing is able to clearly connect. And then it happens, “Bluetooth connected."
This is not unlike our interactions with the people we are in front of each day, whether it be in person or via electronics (hopefully with Bluetooth’s assistance). We experience input from every direction trying to connect with us while simultaneously demanding some type of output and engagement.
In my relationship counseling, a significant amount of the focus turns to "bids for connection." This is simply a request from another to connect and engage with us; however, how that bid is offered is less simple. Seldom is it a clear question that our brains register and react to, more often than not, it is a subtle foray into our psyche coming from emotions or curiosity.
Because we innately need connection with others, however it comes, in answering those bids for connection we help others satisfy their needs and we satisfy ours at the same time. It’s a form of attunement. Like with the Bluetooth device, we can become confused with too many inputs, outputs and requests. For us to make these valuable connections with others requires awareness - and there is so much to be aware of every second - how do we filter out the static from the bids?
Answering this question has become a focal point in my work. Emotional connection with others is a key, if not the key, to our growth as individuals and as a collective. If our interactions with others are rooted in kindness and compassion, that leads to openness, trust, and vulnerability; thereby allowing our minds and bodies to entertain positive and loving thoughts and feelings, rather than “walking on eggshells” out of fear and anxiety. It is absolutely possible to learn how to make this awareness our default operating system rather than the tired, outdated program we have been using for too long.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, if when we answer a bid for connection we hear in our head, "Partner connected" or "Child connected?” I can hear it as clearly as “Bluetooth connected,” and it’s far more satisfying when we can enjoy that connection for all it is worth. It’s possible with awareness; however, this awareness takes presence, patience, practice and positive thinking - the 4 P's I introduced in my first webinar, Connection Through Awareness (you can find the link on my website). All the growth, changes, and goals we wish for ourselves, require this awareness. It begins with an awareness of who we are in the moment - who is desiring change and growth? From that awareness we are able to observe all that is going on around us and recognize how it fits (or doesn’t fit) with the growth we desire.
I’m going to continue to dive even deeper into this as we move forward on this journey together. For now, how about some homework? I'd like you to move through your normal day, but I challenge you to pause every now and then and observe what you are feeling and thinking in that moment. What thoughts are going through your mind? How does your body feel - comfortable, relaxed, tense, tight, hurting? What emotions are you experiencing in this moment of awareness? Identify these thoughts, feelings and emotions and acknowledge them - without judgment – this is just a check-in. After this pause, move on with your day. Try it a few times, do you notice any differences between pauses? Don't analyze, just notice, and carry on. Over a period of a few days to a week see if you can do this multiple times a day. The hardest part of this will be remembering to do it, but you will find it becoming more natural as you practice. Approach this challenge with an attitude of curiosity; don't let it become a burden or chore. If you miss a day, just do your best to remember the next day. This will help as we move forward with our understanding of awareness. Until next time.
Every Monday at 3:30 pm PST tune in to my radio show At the Root for further discussion on Connection through Awareness. KKNW 1150 AM in the Seattle area, or http://player.listenlive.co/50431. Shows will be available to listen to later on your preferred podcast platform and by visiting my website www.kipercounseling.com