And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
This quote from a universally beloved novel reminds us to look at life through our hearts. What better time to remember that than now? Predictability, comfort, and security swiftly flew the coop, and, for many of us, gone are practical essentials: steady work and pay, kids leaving the house for school, fully stocked stores, and socializing in person with people we love, to name a few. Here to stay—at least for now—is a mangled, disorienting blob we once called life.
Our new normal invites us to connect with “invisible” essentials such as connection, presence, and love. We don’t want to deny the existence of our very real fears, challenges, and hardships, but we do want to infuse our days with food for the heart and soul to help us through these unusual times.
Here are some ideas for cultivating connection, presence, and love in your everyday life.
First, journal your responses to these questions:
Second, experiment with the following exercises:
Finally, schedule a call with a friend or sit with someone in your home and ask each other these questions:
Answer each other’s questions, one at a time. Listen to each other without interrupting. Try to avoid offering words of advice or comfort in response to your partner’s answers. Try not to fix anything that seems broken. Simply listen. Demonstrate you were listening by repeating back to them what they said, as close to verbatim as possible. Do so until each of you understands what the other is expressing. Then say to each other, “I hear you.”
Although much is lost or has changed, it is our hope that exercises like these cultivate your awareness that your heart’s essentials remain the same. Where predictability, comfort, and security have slipped away, you can still cultivate a sense of connection, presence, and love. You simply must remember that you can, and take the time to do so.