Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nurturing Heart-to-Heart Connections

by Jon Dunnemann

When you encounter a person who appears to be momentarily confused, grieving, ill, scared or just plain uncomfortable do you ever stop to think about whether or not it is possible for you to establish a nurturing heart-to-heart connection with them?

If you have any thought of doing so then bare this in mind, it will require a conscious investment of one's whole self: body, mind, emotion, and spirit. For example, I will typically attempt to make a connection with a patient visiting the Emergency Department where I work by gradually slowing my breathing, slightly raising my eye brows, bringing a smile to my face, and leaning my body towards the other person so that I can gently touch them either on their arm or their back. I intentionally do this because I want the other person to be able to really feel my empathy, sincerity, and warmth.

Usually, when all of these things are done with great sensitivity it does not take very long for me to be able to detect whether or not the desired relational connection and supportive interaction that I am hoping for is mysteriously being generated.  

Increasingly, this is becoming a common practice of mine. It seems to me as though the most demanding and fortifying work can not be done well without this integrative, inter-relational, and inter-subjective approach that allows one to be an instrument of healing energy. 

As a person who recognizes and integrates body, mind, emotion, and spirit principles and modalities in my daily life, I want to convey to others through my actions that I am a caring, loving, and positive person who is willing to help in removing barriers to the healing process, that I am competent in facilitating another person's growth, and that I am committed to assisting them in their recovery from illness, lack of discipline, some form of emotional separation or unhappiness.  

In those instance in which I am a witness to another person's tender vulnerability, reluctance to trust others, and physical or spiritual wounding it drives me in the direction of more focused action by producing within me an overwhelming disquieting of my soul. 


Each of us has a similar triggering mechanism built into us so that we can respond, rescue, and restore others when they find themselves facing difficulties that exceed their experience, knowledge, understanding or that threatens their health, safety and well-being. That is when the universally invisible power of spirit ignites our divinity and empathy suddenly rises to new heights within us.

Through these and other similar experiences I have come to believe that most people can powerfully manifest the attributes of compassion, love, and peace if they simply let go of their predominant preoccupation with selfish desires, emotions, interests, and circumstances.

A practical person might ask, why should anyone be concerned about another person in this particular way? Aren't we to be responsible for ourselves firstly and foremost? After a tremendous amount of reflection, my answer is no. After all, where has this mindset gotten humankind?  Indeed, I say no because it is clear to me that what moves us closest to being most human is our capacity to feel the difficulties that others are contending with and whether we recognize it or not when we allow ourselves to experience life in this awkward and inconvenient way we are all made better able to confront the individual challenges that we each face while also progressively developing an upgraded arsenal of coping skills that include: gratitude, forgiveness, humility, resiliency, self-awareness, self-compassion, self-control, and self-sacrifice.

An unceasing preoccupation with acquiring, consuming, and hoarding possessions in the long-run fails to truly produce sustained happiness, meaning, or well-being within us. 

For this reason, a far better alternative is the more enjoyable, reproducing, nurturing of heart-to-heart connections which do so much to actualize the human potential of not only individuals, but families, communities, and society.

So go ahead and begin finding your own healing space for nurturing heart-to-heart connections with others!