Community//

Don’t Let Social Distancing Lead to Emotional Distancing: Let The Heart Speak

We may have to abide by the new rules of social distancing for some time. Be sure though that emotional distancing is not a casualty. Based on custom and where we live people have greeted each other in classically cultural and quaint ways. One kiss, two kisses, or even three kisses on the cheek, handshakes, hugs, high-fives, fist-bumps, cheek to cheek, all involved body contact. They might involve something personal and emotional or just mere convention. They still involve body to body contact and a way of greeting and a degree of warmth and a way to make a statement of acceptance and connection. Bowing and Namaste greetings are less personal and more respectful or soulful. The point is how will we connect and convey friendship and acceptance into the future and at least during times of viral threats. Believe it or not, people who are too shy to actually speak in more intimate terms may have been more comfortable with these physical contact traditions. Now more may be required. We have all been uttering, "Stay safe and be well" but that is growing quickly tiresome and too impersonal. Now its time to dive into discovering new ways to connect and express delight at seeing an old business associate or even a grandchild. This will require new genuine practices in speaking form the heart. I have always liked this advice "When the heart speaks, however simple the words--they are always acceptable to those who have hearts. One time when I was accompanying First Lady Nancy Reagan to a drug rehab center graduation ceremony she was confronted with the fact that the prepared remarks were just not suited for this emotional scene with a couple of thousand participants. As she had a mic thrust in her hands she turned first to the parents assembled in the huge auditorium and next to then next to the teenagers. For the first time, with all the White House press corps watching, she opened up her heart and vulnerability to the crowd and won them over with simple remarks from the heart which focused on and elaborated the mere words "I love you." Because she really meant it, it worked and she reluctantly left that place after about fours a better person and a better public speaker for what she did. We may not use the words "I love you" for every greeting, but we may need to find our own unique ways of verbally speaking from the heart messages that convey just how blessed and happy we are to see a colleague, parent, spouse---or the local bartender!

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