Connection is the Way, the Truth, and the Light

Our society is sick with disconnection. Autistic and neurotypical people both experience this. Perhaps autistic and developmentally delayed people may be more acutely aware of the disconnection in our society. Any group that is marginalized experiences this disconnection ever more profoundly. 

Heart-Centered ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) brings the light of loving connection to help transform the world. Connecting lights up the darkness; it ends the trauma of being alone. We are all in this dance of life together. No one gets out of life alive. We all are born and we all will die. We all have this short time to dance about the earth. Let’s rejoice in this dance together. Connection is what makes the dance closer to each other. Connection is such good medicine for everything we do.


Connection Is Love

True connection is always loving. Love moves to embrace the other and makes space for the other to be themselves. Love is unconditional. Love is eternal. Love is open hearted. Love fosters connection. Without connection there is no love. Without love there is no connection.

When we work with our clients at Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services, first, we find what they enjoy and connect with them. One new client I was working with didn’t want to talk with me at all. I knew he loved Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). I also played D&D as a teenager, so this was a natural point in which we could connect. Through talking about D&D, I found a way to talk with him about his life and the challenges he was facing. Finding the common ground of connection helps to build trust and a solid foundation to work from.


Connection Is Empathic

Connection always moves with empathy. When we value connection, empathy becomes our guiding star. Everything we do and all we are is infused with loving connection. We can use empathy with others when we agree with them and when we disagree with them. Empathy can be used at all times with everyone we relate with. There is no disadvantage to always having empathy in every communication.

Whenever someone is giving me difficult feedback, I make extra sure I’m using empathy as I listen to their communication. When one staff member was giving me feedback about what he didn’t like about what was happening in the company, I knew I needed to understand his experience from his position in order to best communicate with him. He was defensive and missing some of what was happening. However,  he was having strong feelings that were valid. By listening I could more successfully bridge to him so we could return to a strong, solid connection.


Connection Listens

Connection knows the importance of listening. Connection knows that listening must, by necessity, proceed speaking. When we listen, we set up an environment for connected and attuned speaking. Without listening, there’s nothing connected to say. Without listening, communication breaks down. Listening holds the space for connection.

Whenever we work with our clients, we begin by listening and observing them. I met one client who doesn’t verbally speak very much. So I listened and watched and found his movement and sound language. After I listened for about ten minutes, I could begin to dialogue with him in his own movement and sound language. I knew I needed to listen first before I started speaking. This is especially true the more different the other’s language is from your own language.


Connection Speaks the Other’s Language

Connection desires to speak everyone else’s language. The spirit behind connection is the opposite of self-absorbed. We want to be self-centered in our communication while being focused on the other and the field of our communication. When we understand that everyone has their own distinctive language and world view, then we can mold our communication to adapt to the other person. We want our words to most effectively communicate with the other. Connection sets everything up for communication. Communication is critical to everything we do as social beings. When our families, our companies, and our communities use connection to facilitate all our communication, then we will have a truly connected world that works for everyone.


Connection Finds the Other’s Metaphor

If the other person is a singer or musician, you can use metaphors that come from music to help them understand. For example, Samantha Cullity, our CEO, is a gifted singer. Singing is one of her most natural activities. By using the metaphor of how she feels when she sings, I could help her bring this naturalness to how she leads meetings and how she speaks in general. 

Everyone has a language and everyone has a central metaphor or two you can use. The person might be interested in trains, physics, chess, video games, art, or any facet of life. Each facet of life is a potential point of connection; it is a doorway into deeper communication with them. Trains, physics, chess, video games, art, or any facet of life has central metaphors. For example, when we are on a train, we stay on the tracks in order for the train to run well. We could use this metaphor to redirect a conversation as follows: “We want to keep our communication on the rails, so let’s come back to the essential thread here.” Another example is when we play many video games, we increase in levels. Each increasing level brings new challenges. This is true in life as well. As we gain more experience, life keeps bringing us newer and greater challenges. When we face bigger challenges, it’s as if we’ve gone up a level in the video game. It will simply take more practice at this level to get good at it and master it. This process continues on indefinitely as far as I can tell. 


Connection is the Bridge

Through bringing the ethic of connection into everything we do, we become very powerful communicators. At Bridging Worlds, I like to say connection is the bridge and communication is the car that travels along the bridge. Without a strong connection, there can be no meaningful communication. We attempt to communicate without connection too often as both parents and teachers. When we value connection, we will naturally monitor it so that all our interactions focus on enhancing our connection. 


Connection is the Way to Go

The title of this article is of course playing on the biblical quote in which Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the (light)…” This quote is not meant to be religious in the way I’m using it. I’m not especially espousing Christianity. Instead, it’s meant to highlight the importance of connection. When connection is valued as the way to go, because of the quality of truth and light that can enter our interaction, then we have a truly profound setup for a solid trust and a strong relationship. 

We hope you liked this article and it helped you get a deeper understanding of Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services and how we work. You can find more articles about us on our blog.

Bridging Worlds operates using Heart-Centered ABA and the Heart-Centered Operating System (HCOS), developed in partnership with Heart-Centered Revolutions (HCR), a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. 

For more information about HCOS, please read HCR articles and find out how you can schedule HCOS consultation and training for your business or organization on our website. Heart-Centered Revolutions has helped us grow and flourish and they can do the same for you.
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For example: 

If the client is nonverbal we might work on expanding their communication skills to include gestures or pictures.

If the client is overstimulated in the grocery store, goals might include short trips to the store with ways to self-regulate.