The most basic connection response is "Keeping Company:" the art of being a tenderhearted witness who listens attentively and compassionately to your own or someone else's feelings without saying how to feel or what to do. Keeping company with someone means being fully heart-present to them in ways that encourage them to explore, resolve and learn from their inner reactions. (Eugene Gendlin, the originator of an extremely important discernment development tool called Focusing, coined the term "keeping company.")
~David Gruder, Ph.D, The New I.Q.
Love and Attachment From Cradle to Beyond the Grave
It is amazing to me how a sense of secure attachment can extend beyond the grave. I was lucky enough to have a mother who loved me when she was alive so much so that I feel it even in her absence. My goal for clients, and hope as a therapist, is to promote this type of feeling and attachment.
My reflection, "Listening to our handyman speak Portuguese to one of his workers or maybe Spanish with a Portuguese accent, sounds like music to my ears. It must be reminding me of the sounds and rhythmes of my mother's voice and of her lullabies when I was a baby. Portuguese was her first language and she had only been here a few years before I was born. It is strange the sense of peace I feel listening from a distance. I think, 'Don't stop talking.' I feel so soothed and calmed."
I think I must have had some kind of a pre-verbal memory as I was not close enough to hear the distinction of the words but only the muffled sing song melody of the voice. I guess like an infant might hear. I was then flooded with a very calm and peaceful feeling and a deep sense of knowing that I was loved not only by her but by God. It was very profound and spiritual, an experience I wish all could have.
My mother's birthday is the 23rd. She always seems to send me a message from beyond that she still cares for me and loves me, usually around or on her birthday. I feel blessed and so wanted to share.
"Happiness is the only thing that multiples when you share it." ~Albert Schweitzer, a German physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Several years ago I started having severe pain in my neck and shoulder. I have some disk issues in my neck, which a steroid shot seemed to help. But my shoulder problem had been pretty unresponsive to convention medicine. My pain was chronic and often a 10 on the subjective units of distress scale.The culprit: bone spurs.
I really was not up to even thinking about surgery. So, the physical therapist recommended strengthening my upper body. To a girl who never has even tried to do a push up, this did not sound very fun. No, not at all. But, I had to do something. My solution was to start Vinyasa yoga at Xplore Yoga. This type of yoga has many upper body strengthening postures. It was perfect for my goals. And now, I am happy to say that after just over a year of practicing I am completely pain free in my shoulder.
Being out of pain is great but the really cool and fun part about all of this is that I can do all kinds of things I never ever dreamed of doing at my age. Several months ago I accomplished dolphin forearm stand for the first time. I was so excited and happy and shocked that I could do this pose, I got a fellow yogi to take a picture of me in the posture and stared sharing it with just about anybody who was willing to look at it. I was so happy.
Then a funny thing started to happen. Even though everyone I shared with was genuinely happy for me in my accomplishments after my excitement died down, I started to feel this slight awkward feeling of, "Oh God. Have I shared too much of my happiness? Maybe I should have kept my joy to myself? People probably don't really want to know about this."
Whoops. Too late.
Today I learned from a listserv I am on that a study showed that sharing our joy or happiness is good for everybody as long as there is positive feedback. It may even cause the joy to multiple. A colleague shared a recent study by Nathaniel Lambert and colleagues at Brigham Young University as to why this may be. Their research shows that discussing positive experiences leads to heightened well-being, increased overall life satisfaction and even more energy.
Can love last forever through the ups and downs of life? Couples therapist Dr. Sue Johnson explains what it really takes to make a relationship work. This is really good.
The Atlantic publishes good article summarizing John Gottman's research suggesting that kindness is a as key factor in successful relationships. Check it out!
"Landmark study shows that Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help couples understand their relationship better, reduce conflicts and create secure, loving bonds that can soothe brains."
More research on Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Principle investigators Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Jim Coan happy to share that the first brain scan study of EFT is now available in an Open Access Journal. EFT theorists explicitly claim that EFT affects a couple's ability to soothe difficult emotions by strengthening their attachment bond. I see this often as I work with couples taking them through the steps of Emotionally Focused Therapy. We now have some good evidence. Awesome.
Someone sent to me this by email on Stress Management . . .
I would add ask a friend to help you carry the glass of water don't go it alone as Ecclesiastes says, "Two are better than one because they have good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And although one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Evelyn Schmechtig Cochran