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Three Loving Connections

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ellen, May 8, 2015.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Shannon Harvey, director of the movie The Connection on mindbody medicine writes in her current blog post:

    "In the last few weeks I’ve been doing a social experiment unbeknownst to the people around me. My family, friends, colleagues and even total strangers have all been unwittingly drawn into the exercise. Inspired by the work of Professor Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher looking at the health benefits of positive emotions, I’ve been practising the ‘Three Loving Connections’ exercise. It involves consciously trying to boost my brain and body’s experience of love by seeking out three meaningful interactions each day and reflecting on them each night. According to Fredrickson’s findings, it appears these micro moments may not only make me healthier, but they may also make me live longer."

    Read about it in detail here:


    I'm going to give this a try. I'm working with kids ages 0-5 right now so it is fairly easy to make these kinds of connections with them. It will be harder on the days I'm not at work, but it seems like a very valuable exercise. Anyone else want to give it a try?
    lexylucy, Colly, Ollin and 1 other person like this.
  2. mdh157

    mdh157 Well known member

    That might be a good idea for me, prob 75% of the emotions I experience during the course of a day are negative.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, thanks for posting about the Three Loving Connections. It's a very interesting concept and
    I try it. So much today has been artificial connection with others... email. phone, Facebook, etc.
    Like listening to music live or on a recording or the radio. It's best heard and experienced live.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's a really great blog post, Ellen, thanks for sharing it. I liked how Shannon linked to so many relevant research articles. I wouldn't have time to read most of them myself, but there is so much good research out there and it's good to see that she isn't missing out. For anyone else who wants to a quick primer, Buddha's Brain is an easy introduction with many simple and practical applications. (My old friend, @plum, from this forum, introduced me to that book.)

    I'm also tempted to get Love 2.0, the book that Shannon was inspired by in writing the article:
    Perhaps I'll download the audible book and give it a listen while I take my walk.

    How has the experiment going so far?

    If anyone else is curious, I encourage you to give it a read. I posted a very brief reply at the bottom of the article:
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Everyone:

    Thanks Ellen for this article and idea. I do not think I will take it up as a formal practice, but I really appreciate the discussion.

    I will become more curious about my interactions and the effect they have on me. Also, it gives me more compassion for myself that when I want to connect with people and they seem too busy, I get narcissisticly activated. I like knowing that this is a deep human need, even if at this level of getting my "needs met" it is on a lighter level: fleeting and subtle. That the need/desire is there, even in looking into someone's eyes for a moment.

    I also like that even in contemplating this, there is a recognition that this is an invitation I am putting out to the world. I like stepping into that desire, being aware of it, and owning it. I want to be seen, and I want contact. Even if it is not met perfectly, that I have a desire to have human contact in a way that feels safe. Allowing this desire, I feel closer to my heart.

    I think too that this kind of "love" interaction happens a lot for me, and that putting a little spot-light on it, recognizing it, I will deepen in its presence. I may get to soak more of it up!!

    I also see the connection to my Somatic Experiencing training. That there is an impulse in me that I can allow.

    I will observe these things and the impact of these meetings, and hopefully get back to you all.

    Andy B.
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
    Ellen and Forest like this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great post, Andy. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, I did download Love 2.0, the book that the original post was based on and am enjoying it a lot. I like that the author is a very successful researcher in psychology. It makes me really trust what she has to say:
    Ellen likes this.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm still really enjoying the book that the post came from (Love 2.0). I think that it's terrific that there is finally a book on the science of love, including practical applications.

    Basically, I listen to the Audible Audiobook when I'm in the car. I find it a great way to keep up with things.

    @Ellen, how did your experiment go?

    And have you found any other connections with Somatic Experiencing, Andy?
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Forest I'm reading the book, too, and enjoying it. I haven't been very good with remembering to do the experiment, though. Things are a little hectic and stressful right now. I hope to focus on it more in the future.
  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's terrific! I want to try the experiment, too, but will probably finish the book before I make an effort to do the experiment. I'm going through the book quite slowly (less than half way through so far) as I'm pretty busy and stressed right now, too.

    I have done one thing, though. I get up before my g1rlfriend (perhaps soon my f1ancee!) in the morning and often bring her coffee. I make an effort to make a little eye contact and maybe smile when I hand her the mug. It isn't much and I try not to overdo it, but the activity reminds me to think about the experiment.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
    lexylucy and Ellen like this.
  10. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Really interesting post guys! Ellen, I found that through my TMS healing journey I started writing down three things I was grateful for every night. I then expanded this during the day by having meaningful interactions with everyone I spoke with. I found that by giving people my full attention it took my mind off my pain. I found it hard at first but now it's automatic and makes for a much more pleasant day in the office.

    BTW Forest, I hope your girlfriend doesn't read this forum - that's no way to find out you're getting married to the Godfather of TMS healing wiki! Do it properly - on one knee!!
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  11. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's terrific, Colly. I've been wanting to start that habit for a while. In general, through reading Love 2.0, I'm becoming more sensitive to the importance of positive emotions like grattitude. The author, Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, had already written a book about positive emotions in general (as well as literally doing decades of research on the subject), so she works that theme into her new book quite skillfully. I trace it back to, as I seem to trace everything back to these days, the "two wolves/brain plasticity" story. Our brains are very good at adapting to new activities, so if we want to feel a positive emotion more, we should just practice! And while I know that how I wrote it is a bit of an oversimplification, the idea that "the wolf that you feed is the one that grows" really resonates with me. I think it helps explain, for example, the incredible benefits of meditation. At least I hope it does. :) I've always been a complete pessimist, and I'm hoping that by cultivating more positive emotions, I'll experience some real growth.

    I just started the section in the book on lovingkindness meditation. As a mathematician/programmer type, I've been wanting to cultivate my emotional intelligence for a while, and I suspect that the foundation for that is empathy and simply having a moment to moment concern for the emotions of others. Lovingkindness meditation seems to be a research-supported way of cultivating this, so I've been wanting to try it for a while. It'll probably be a while before I get to it with everything I've got going on, but one step at a time, right?

    In terms of my GF, yep, we've got really good communication about that, so I think she has a pretty clear picture of where I'm at. When and if I do it, I definitely plan do do it right. (So much pressure!) She doesn't actually ever read the site, though, as I give her a constant feed of information about the nonprofit and the overall TMS movement that probably exceeds limits set in the Geneva convention. But again, the way things have worked out, she has a pretty clear idea.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  12. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Forest,
    Thanks for the reminder on this. I have not taken this on as a practice, and I would like to keep this aim for myself. In a way, the practice is just formalizing what I already know I find satisfying: human contact!
    Andy B.
    Forest likes this.
  13. PamD

    PamD Peer Supporter

    Thank you all for chiming in on this, It always helps to have support and reminders. Years ago I worked with a Loving kindness meditation series from Jack Kornfield. It was lovely. It has been awhile since I have practiced this intentionally...may be the universe telling me it is time to get back to it :) I love gratitude journals! We had a group of folks who dedicated 21 days to writing down 5 things a day that we were grateful for with no repetitions. This is a powerful exercise. I may even look at the Loving kindness reflections and something to work with gratitude around. I am going to check into this so thanks Ellen. Would love to hear others' experiences with Three Loving Connections.
    Forest likes this.
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thinking a bit more about this, I suspect that part of what I find so interesting about the book is that love and relationship are so important for being able to live a happy and healthy life. As such, they are relevant to TMS. Steve Ozanich states this well at the very beginning of his book. At the very beginning, before even the table of contents he devotes an entire page to the following quote:
    I remember when I first read the book, I thought a lot about why he put that message in such a prominent location. I guess that it is because we mammals are wired for relationship. When Dr. Sommer Anderson, who worked with Dr. Sarno for 33 years, was a special guest at a teleconference I ran for therapists, she asked the participants to watch the following video. I think it does a terrific job of showing how much we are wired for what Steve calls relationship, what Love 2.0 calls love, and what therapists for the last century have called attachment:
    When the mother interrupts what the book would refer to as the moment of love between the mother and the child, the child simply can't tolerate it.

    The standard joke about seeing a therapist is that the therapist says, "So, tell me about your mother," right? When the mother deprives the child of her loving engagement in the video, above, you can see why. You can see why we spend so much time journaling about our parents - that early attachment has large effects on our youthful plastic minds (couldn't resist!) and therefore has important consequences down the line. Break out the journal!

    Psychologists refer to the feelings that one person develops for another as "attachment," and have made it a major topic of study in psychotherapeutic research over the last 120 years. So when Dr. Sommer-Anderson gave the keynote at the 22nd Bowlby conference, she entitled it "Unlocking Pain - Disrupted Attachment and Chronic Physical Pain" I.e., "tell me about your mother, or whoever you had disrupted attachment with." (Dr. Sommer Anderson is a psychoanalyst, which is the type of therapist most known for "tell me about your mother.")

    ... and here is where things get more personal ... I hope that what I'm about to discuss isn't Too Much Information, but I figure that this is a TMS forum, and if we don't take some risks, the discussions will get stale and we will stop learning from one another. (Thank goodness for newbies, though, to keep it fresh.) In terms of taking that risk, I hope I'm leading by example.

    I know that my early attachment was disrupted when my mother died at age 9. I knew that she was going to die before that, and that probably affected the way I bonded with her as well. :( That's in the past, of course, and I can't do much about it now, but my TMS journaling has taught me that it probably had some strong effects throughout my life. I'm not thrilled about that fact, but it's something I have to live with.

    I used to be fairly alexithymic (not in touch with my feelings), and through concerted effort, I've gotten better at that (primarily through mindfulness - just deliberately paying attention to them). I don't want to get too TMI, but perhaps that had something to do with my mother as well. In a similar vein I tend to be optimistic, and if her death affected my "attachment style," perhaps some lovingkindness meditation or some of Dr. Fredrickson's other exercises could help. We've all seen study after study about how meditation changes the brain via brain plasticity. Why not give it a try?

    In general, I'm just loving this book because it's a good book and because it makes a fascinating subject very accessible. But this history does make it particularly interesting as well.

    Thanks for reading!

    Finally, one last video from Dr. Sommer Anderson that really shows how us mammals are wired for love
  15. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    I had a wonderful talk today with someone. If I really reflect on it it fills me full of joy. There is such peace to having deep connection.
  16. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Forest, and others,

    I had several conversations about connection, with some very dear friends in the last 24 hours. The deeper satisfaction in these discussions --beyond pondering this wonderful subject--- was being seen and felt by these friends in conversation as we explored feeling the desire to connect, and being appreciative of this desire. We were seeing each other as we spoke about something so fundamental and close to our hearts. I am grateful for my friends and my support to be myself, which is an effect (affect?) of being seen "as I am." This thread is part of that support for me.

    I think something so beautiful comes from connection. It is about attachment, yes, because being in loving contact, we allow ourselves to relax. So "the other" is important. Connecting with the other. But this connection allows us to be so much more ourselves. I am saying that the outer contact (when attuned to us, or even projected as attuned) allows deeper inner contact, and this is so satisfying. It is a wonderful, magical synergy that as we are seen, we can see more of ourselves, more of our depth and love, and we can allow more of the other in, seeing more of their truth and beauty. It is moving Toward the One (as some Sufi's say, or as Steve speaks of). And the One is not Impersonal in this contact. It is deeply personal, revealing, and satisfying to the heart.And this kind of soothing experience, or reactions to the lack of it, are no doubt are connected to TMS.

    Andy B.
  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Forest, for posting Steve Ozanich's wise words about Life Is Relationship.
    My best friend lives in Colorado but last night we were together in a dream and he hugged me.
    Wow, what a great way to start a new day! We've been like brothers for forty years or more.

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