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Mindful : December 2013
Raising the Mindful Couple Like most parents, we’ve experienced times when the quantity and quality of our connection has waned. In those periods we felt irri- table, restless, and hungry to connect. But rather than find refuge in each other’s com- panionship, we would numb the longing with distractions like television, work, or pour- ing an extra glass of wine— none of which quench the longing for loving connection. Whether you’re in a partner- ship, recently out of one, or looking to be in one, setting the intention to nurture lov- ing connections in your life is paramount for your own health and happiness. A partnership is its own entity, almost like a person. It needs attention and nourish- ment in the same way your own body and mind do. But what’s the best way to give it the kind of attention it needs? Researcher a nd author Barba ra Fredrickson recently defined love in a more subtle way than most of us tend to view it. “ Love, as your body experiences it,” she says, “is a micro-moment of connection sha red with another.” That accords with our experience. Each day gives us many opportunities to create and sha re micro-moments of PRACTICE Cultivating Mindful Micro-Moments Decide to create at least one micro-moment of connection this week, both verbally and physically. If judgments or fears arise, just notice them and recommit to your intention. Notice how you feel when you hold hands or give a gentle caress on the arm or cheek. Let a hug last until you both feel your bodies relax, indicating that the nervous systems have been connected and calmed. See if you can linger a bit longer than normal, taking in the feeling of each moment. connection with each other, yet we often fall into the trap of brushing past our loved one, seeing them as a static object. We miss the oppor- tunity to see the person, with all their strengths, beauty, joys, and triumphs, and also their perceived failures and accumulated sufferings. Ultimately, when we see the person, we feel our shared humanity, in all its complex- ity. Creating micro-moments of connection can counteract the disconnection that so often creeps into a relation- ship and can help sustain our love. In fact, these moments are love. According to ma ny resea rchers, when we attend to these moments, we’re not as activated by life’s inevi- table stressors. Because of that, old unhealthy patterns are not triggered so often by chaos and disruption—and we become a happier and more resilient person, partner, and parent. It may be hard to believe that moments of positive connection can actually sustain us during the disconnected times, but they can and they do. Love is a renewable energy source and can be found in the tiniest of moments. in practice insight 74 mindful December 2013