We, Don and Diane St John, at Paths of Connection want to do our best to share with you some of what we have learned in over 80 combined years of “Growing Into Wholeness.” It has been both a personal and professional quest for us to understand human growth. We have known the pain of dysfunctional relationships, addictions, anxiety and health challenges. Today, as we both have begun our 74th year, we have been blessed with 31 years of an ever-improving relationship, our bodies have become more fluid, our hearts more at peace, and we have greater vitality.
There are four areas we have found to be important to live a full, rich and satisfying life. The knowledge necessary to do so is available, but too few people know and understand what is available and what is possible. We will be sharing these with you throughout these blog entries offering relationship advice that form the underpinnings of our counseling and tele-coaching.
This first area we look at is the body. The words “the body” connotes a thing, and that is the primary misunderstanding about who and what we are. Whether you believe that you are your body, or that you are a spirit or soul living in the body, the body is a living process. It is mostly water. At the same time it has awareness, sensations and feelings. It’s malleable and is shaped by our experiences. Its very shape can be improved, and most importantly the quality of our feelings and movement can be improved throughout our lifespan. Most of us are unaware of how much tension we carry with serious consequences. We use the word somatic to convey the living nature of our body.
The second area is in appreciating that we are psychological beings. Within this, there are three things that most people don’t realize. First, many of the core beliefs that shape our lives are formulated before we are four years old. We are mostly familiar with the effects and challenges of those beliefs, but not with the internal programs that led to those beliefs. Secondly, our sense of who we are—our very identities—are usually much more truncated than who we really are. In other words, we are and can be so much more than we think or even imagine. Squeezing who we really are into a diminished sense of self is a cause of much suffering. Thirdly, we can and should cultivate positive feelings. Appreciation, gratitude, peace, affection and many more can be prioritized and cultivated for a much richer life and more satisfying relationships.
Next, we are also relational beings. Authentic contact, felt-love moments and openhearted conversations are the foundation for healthy, close relationships. Many humans equate intimacy with sexual intimacy. A sexual engagement may or may not include emotional intimacy. Without emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy gets old fast! We have concluded that most of us have a great deal to learn when it comes to growing and deepening relationships. It isn’t just about better communication (or better sex) as so many people think. It’s about genuine, openhearted connection and about knowing how to say what needs saying with clarity and kindness. It is about being present and being able to both receive and give love.
Finally, we are spiritual beings. Spirituality may or may not involve religion. Too many people believe that going to church and “believing” is what spirituality is about. It’s not. It’s about practice. It’s the practice of removing from our hearts all that interferes with living with peace and love. It’s the practice of not being the victims of our monkey minds, and learning to focus on what we want. It’s the practice of expanding our consciousness toward greater clarity and comprehension, which includes a feeling recognition that we are all brothers and sisters. All great religions speak to these truths.
These four aspects of life are all intertwined, very much related to one another. Here at Paths of Connection our mission is to help you appreciate, understand and engage these four dimensions of life.
May our experiences guide and support you through our blog entries and our website.