Lately I am pondering, and writing, about the basic skills that create deeper connection. I like getting into the nitty gritty of what creates connection, and I also love making it simple, to the point where anyone can practise these basic skills whenever they want to.
One of the most simple – yet profound – of these skills, is slowing down.
Slowing down as a practice is what shifts relationships from being a practical affair (what are we doing, what’s the plan?) and being about stuff to connecting in the moment to what, and who is in front of you. And that includes yourself.
Slowing down is what brings me, over and over again, from going just a bit too fast, with my head in the future or the past, to right now. And to whomever is in front of me right now.
All of a sudden I notice different things. I get a chance to check in with what I am feeling and how I am doing. And I get the chance to check in with the person in front me. That connection with the right now, is what creates connection. It is real time. It is about this moment and what unfolds there.
Simply put: I get to connect with somebody versus talking to somebody.
It is a skill I need to cultivate (read: practise) because I was not born with the meditative quality of a buddha. My mind is busy, I like making plans, I see links between everything. So I practise just to:
And check in with where I am at.
First and foremost with myself, and then I can optionally connect with another person.
Over the years this has grown from ‘yet another thing I need to learn on the list’ to an essential day-to-day practice for me.
Because I do not like feeling disconnected from myself and others. I like being in the pulse of the moment, where life unfolds. When I lose that (and that happens all the time) I feel achy, sad, lonely. Because I lost that line with myself and life, that intimate connection with what is happening in the moment. And often with that I lose that intimate connection with others.
So if you want to deepen your connections: stop. Breathe. And start with connecting to yourself. It might be clunky at first. Maybe you do not know what you’re feeling or how you are doing. That is okay. Keep going. Build those muscles. Connect to others from that place.
And see how slowly your connections – with yourself and others – will get richer.
PS: Slowing down to connect to self and others is the basis of the work we do during Art of Connection – Amsterdam Circling Weekend on 21/22 September. It is beautiful to see the shift in the room when we drop in and start connecting on that moment-to-moment level. Want to practise this skill with us? Come join us, we have some spots left.