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What's Possible? Newsletter
Feeling Our Connections

My eyes are closed as I write. I’m imagining and trying to genuinely feel the presence of you reading this. I see an entourage of faces streaming through my mind, glowing eyes looking back at me. A swell of gratitude rises through my core, flushing me with a sense of connection and joy. How cool that I can feel you, that our connection can inspire the sharing that will emerge in this newsletter. What a gift you’re giving me (and hopefully yourself too) by taking the time to sit and rest with what I am offering. My own grin gets bigger, rippling beyond my body, waves of appreciation vibrating along invisible channels. Can you feel them? I hope they make their way into your heart, perhaps a slight smile will creep across your lips or twinkle in your eyes, or a little burst of something lovely will spark inside of you. Maybe you’ll chuckle at my craziness! By now, however, you’ll know that through this medium of words and through the life-force that is pulsing through me and through you… we are connected.

by Nathan Golden with A-scribe Images

We are connected in so many ways and to so many things. We can connect to ourselves, other people, communities, nature, animals, the planet, the universe, to the seen and unseen world. The simplicity and extreme profoundness of our capacities to connect perpetually send me into states of awe and inquiry. Connecting is at the heart of experiencing social and emotional well-being.

I'd love to experiment with this notion of connection with you. Would you allow your busy, thinking-mind to take a short pause and let yourself be bathed in the images, feelings, thoughts, and sensations that rush over you? Just notice what you experience as you continue reading.

Are you comfortable in your chair or stance? Would it feel good to relax your neck or shoulders? Take a moment to feel yourself breathing.

Feel the full journey of your inhale…. all the way in to that still point at the bottom of your breath… and then effortlessly release the air, allow the breath to exhale out of you.

Let your eyes be soft as you read. I will ask a few questions and offer some ideas. I invite you to allow whatever comes into your awareness to float right in. You can get curious about it or you can simply notice it and keep breathing until another sensation or image arises.

Photo by Ashley      
We are all deeply connected. What connections can you feel in this moment?

Do parts of your body catch your attention? People that you love? Groups that you are a member of? An idea that drives you? The place where you live?

What do you feel connected to?

Below is a cloud of words. Let your eyes rest over them. Notice which ones catch your attention. Try to pause after you read a word and experience the image, sensation, thoughts or feelings that are evoked.

What did you notice?

What else can you connect with? What else are you connected to?

We are all dependent on one another for every aspect of a thriving life. We are connected to the universe and inhabiting this planet in an intricate web of existence. And there is just as intricate of a web of existence inside our own bodies, minds, psyche, spirit.

Honoring all of these connections, how do you want to live? How do you want to relate to yourself? To others? To your communities? To the earth? To the world around you?

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA)- ESA / Hubble Collaboration Acknowledgment: R. Chandar (Univ. Toledo) and J. Miller (Univ. Michigan)

Deepening Connections
A friend of mine is going through a separation. She wanted to make sure to keep the lines of connection and communication open with her teenage son. Heart-to-heart conversations are not his preferred mode of expression, but music is. They have started a new ritual. Every week they each share one song with the other person. The song is one that has meaning to them. This creative parenting will hopefully help to nourish thier loving connection during a potentially challenging time in life.

Some artist friends of mine have just gone on a journey to Midway Atoll to witness the starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic for food. They are exposing how human’s disconnect from the effects of our actions leads to extreme tragedies often beyond our sight. Their journey and especially images like this one, have had a profound imact on me, connecting me deeper to the choices I make and the effects of my actions.

In what areas of your life would you like to deepen your connections? What is one small thing you can do to help yourself with that?

Connecting for Compassionate Action For those in the Seattle area, there is an exciting follow up to Seeds of Compassion that is happening on October 17, 2009 at the Seattle Center. Connecting for Compassionate Action is a gathering that is being organized by the Compassionate Action Network. This is an opportunity for people to come together, engage in important conversations and make meaningful connections that will further the presence of compassionate action in the region. The organizing question is:
How shall we inspire and support Compassionate Action in ourselves, our communities, and our world? 

Please view the full invitation and RSVP for this meaningful gathering.

Ashley's News
Location: Heading Southeast
I am leaving Seattle on September 29th and will begin my journey to Asheville, North Carolina. For months now I have had the strong feeling that I need to return to my roots. There is the literal sense as I am originally from the south and much of my family and community is in Georgia and North Carolina. However, I have also been feeling a strong call to the land of western North Carolina. It is calling to my cells, the lanscape and feel of the air is echoing in my veins. I want to feel my feet touch the earth there and to let my roots squiggle into the soil. The calling is very clear and so I am following my heart to see what is there.

This is truly a time of living in great mystery. I feel very centered, passionate and committed to the work in the world that I am called to do and the life I feel guided to live. And then there are all the details about where I will live, what specific jobs I will do, who are the new people I will meet, who will I collaborate with next?
I'm thrilled to be in this time of not-knowing. I am following my heart, listening deeply to guidance, trusting in the unkown, and paying attention to what emereges!!

Feel free to introduce me to vibrant individuals or learning communities in the southeast. And for those in the northwest, please keep inviting me back!
I will be back in Seattle in 2010 and I imagine that I will offer some workshops or special events. Visit my website to see what those might look like or send me requests for what you'd love to experience.

Mindful Parenting Community

There is a new website just launched and I have agreed to be a guest blogger. Come share your voice there. Lately I've been writing about attention.

SEL Resources on Motivation
  • Daniel Pinker gave a powerful TED talk on The Surprising Science of Motivation. He is presenting research from the business world and yet everything that he says applies to children in schools and homes as well. I was very inspired by his talk. Watch it. It's only 18 minutes long! His suggestions for developing motivation are to encourage and invite Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
  • There is a New York Times article on parenting about the effects of conditional love. Interestingly (and not surprisingly) the suggestions for how to encourage healthy development and motivation closely relate to Pinker's. The article emphasizes the value of parents "explaining reasons for requests, maximizing opportunities for the child to participate in making decisions, being encouraging without manipulating, and actively imagining how things look from the child's point of view."

Feedback Welcomed
I would love to hear your feedback and input to help me shape the future of this newsletter. Thank you so much to those of you who responded last month. I am trying to integrate your suggestions. To share your thoughts, please follow this link and fill out a very short survey. THANK YOU so much!


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