Mary McGuire (Director of Training, The Focusing Institute) paraphrased the words of Teilhard de Chardin, “a person grows as a person in connection with another person, and in no other way.” Those words went deep inside of me and never left me. Somehow I sensed the profundity of that wisdom, years before I knew what it meant to me. That really was the beginning of the development of heartfelt connection and its importance in my life. I knew I was a man who could not find a sense of me on my own. I needed people to help me find myself. I have made many wrong turns in my life, meeting all the wrong people, but also some right ones; and at some point I began to discern the difference. I began to see that some people give me a sense of more me, a more spacious me. I felt so selfish at first! To feel good about me rather than you first! But I soon realized that when I felt my own self-loving, and that is how it is, I had a lot of space to make room for you; and I became somehow free to accept you just the way you are.
Heartfelt connection enabled me to find a step-by-step process to begin to feel my own solid ground and to make room for the life in another, next to me, in a way that affirms me and makes room for them at the same time. This felt so new. Now I can say that when we are both in grounded presence, it is the higher self in me that touches the higher self in you for more. Others might call it “the life in me touches the life in you” and visa versa. That’s how it feels. I feel more me, not less me. I begin to expand and feel more spacious inside of me. That naturally makes me curious, wanting to connect with you, because I feel the spaciousness in me to do so. I seem to be able to hold the sense of another, without judgment, just the way you are, without feeling threatened. I’m not pulled into anything, I remain the observer and if anything, I feel even more me and wanting to make more room for you.
So the starting point in heartfelt connection, that leads to heartfelt conversation, is the readiness to be grounded in a sense of me, a sense of me beyond what I think I am, or what I think I want to be, just the person that I am, that is the starting point and it is often referred to as the true self. What often comes is a sense of Me that suddenly becomes a sense of We even before I am aware of it. It just happens, and I can notice it happening because I suddenly become aware of a deepening sense of me, who I am beyond what I thought myself to be. It is then that I know that there is a We present, a kind of support that feels mutual and life-affirming for both of us.
When there is a sense of me that has now transformed itself into a sense of we, what seems to flow is a natural conversation, a kind of back and forth exchange that seems deeply felt, a conversation that flows with a mind of its own. It could be something of mutual interest, it could be something between us, or it could be something in one of us that is saying, “I need to be heard.”