Welcome to Our Blog

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.

Understanding the Meaning of Our Bodies

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.

Psychological Beings

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.

Rational Beings

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.

Spiritual Beings

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.

  • Dealing with the challenge of the times - Many friends, clients and colleagues have had difficult moments this November. Major change is in the wind, and those changes can feel disconcerting, stressful, even traumatic. In our home we felt shock and sorrow. Here are Read More
  • Softening Our Inner Critic for Well-Being and Better Relationships - The old model of how to stay healthy—eat well, exercise, reduce stress—leaves us living in a state of being half-asleep and at best vaguely dissatisfied. We have been writing about moving towards the frontiers of well-being Read More
  • Why We All Should Be In Recovery - Why We All Should Be In Recovery “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection,” say Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War Read More
  • 5 Ways to Increase Resilience on the Road to Recovery - How long does it take me to recover when my expectations are thwarted or when i fail to meet my goals?  How do I keep from spiraling down into negativity when a conversation goes “south”? How do Read More
  • I Didn’t Know I Had a Body - Of course that is a ridiculous sounding statement. Yet, what I am referring to is so important and at the same time so hard to convey in words. All that western medicine is concerned with is Read More
  • Don’s Book - This book is also about how our bodies, our connections, our relationships, our health and how we age are all related. It is about how the impacts, insults and traumas of childhood affect us as whole Read More
  • Developing an “AND” Consciousness - Diane and I were talking this morning about the importance of developing an “AND” consciousness. Two of our most inspiring teachers with whom we studied in the 1980’s were Dr. Hal Stone and Dr. Sidra Stone. Read More
  • Reflections on the Heart - “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched…They must be felt with the heart”  - Helen Keller What do you think of when you think of your heart? For Read More
  • What is Somatic Relational Intelligence? - Somatic-Relational Intelligence (SRI). It is a construct that has been evolving for us as we continue to explore the interconnected nature of the body—in terms of  love, health and relationships. SRI is based upon (2) premises and (10) qualities. Read More