Mark [0:00] Hello Belinda, welcome to the How to connection podcast. I’m your host, Mark Randall and it’s a real honour and a privilege to be able to sit here with you today and have a conversation about the how the Heart of Connection. By way of introduction would you mind sharing a short story about who you are and what life means to you, I’m just joking – but yes just a brief introduction to get the ball rolling.
Belinda [0:24] Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Mark. I am Belinda and I probably would say the best thing to describe my stories that I’m still on a huge journey of getting to know myself and where I fit in the world. The things that I suppose are important to me the fact that I grew up at the beach. The beach is really important to me, and connection with family and friends. I’ve got a huge supportive group of friends and family and that sense of community growing up in a little beach town. I still living a beach town now. I guess what I do defines me a little bit as well. My backgrounds in nursing, I’ve been doing that for nearly 20 years and I’ve most recently become a play therapist as well. I’ve got a background working with helping people really through mental health, community health, Child and Adolescent Health and Family Support. So that’s really my area of passion and what makes me light up.
Mark [1:32] Great. The transition from nursing through to play therapy how does that connection come about for you?
My Journey From Nursing to Play Therapy
Belinda [1:44] I’ve noticed, it’s a different sort of connection, if we’re thinking about being in the heart and being in the mind nursing, despite being a brilliant helpful career and, being able to really help people. I feel like it’s very task orientated, especially in the acute setting in the hospitals. That’s probably one of the reasons I got out of working in hospitals. I felt like I constantly have to say to patients, I’ll be back in a minute, we were just so under the pump, constantly doing things and we didn’t really get to connect. It is similar in clinical settings, not in an acute setting. In the community, despite having more opportunity to be one-on-one with patients or clients or consumers or whatever you’d like to call them, you did get to connect, but it was time limited. What I’ve found through diving into the world of play therapy, and I haven’t as a student, I’ve only just graduated. I haven’t had a huge amount of experience yet but you do get to get into a deeper level of connection with people. It is more of a heart connection, especially with kids, because they don’t get through their play. It is pre-verbal or nonverbal sometimes.
Mark [3:07] What’s it like to start to experience the world of Heart, the play of the non-verbal side of for children?
Play Therapy Has Opened My Heart
Belinda [3:17] It’s has been huge. It has changed my world and I’ve discovered so much about myself. To become a play therapist, you have to do 50 hours of personal therapy yourself. This works to minimise material that we could project onto the kids. I learn so much in every single session that I’ve done, either with the kids or with the families. We are seeing the connection between a child and the parent is the most amazing feeling.We are seeing the connection between a child and the parent is the most amazing feeling. Click To Tweet
I just am so full of love, whenever I see that, and it helps with my connection with kids as well. I can feel that more in myself with my kids, I can recognize that feeling in my heart now. This is a fairly new thing for me because I’ve lived in my head for a long time. Now I feel like I’m starting to really understand. When I say a kid has an “aha moment”, either cognitively or if it’s subconscious about the fact that they’ve just worked through something through their play that just lights me up inside. I just feel so excited for them, that they’ve been able to work through that.
Mark [4:28] So they’ve connected it to the “aha moment” in themselves is like the head and the heart. The aligning of the physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, all line up for them as well, at that age.
Children Get “Aha Moments” in Play Therapy & They Light Up
Belinda [4:38] Yes. So they are doing it in the way that I best know how at their age and stage of development. What I love the most about it is, I get the science behind it, I understand what’s actually happening for them in terms of their development. They don’t know any of this, obviously, they’re just playing. If they’re able to understand themselves and their bodies and their heart at a deeper level, then they are going to be able to understand the world a bit better and where they fit in the world.If they're able to understand themselves and their bodies and their heart at a deeper level, then they are going to be able to understand the world a bit better and where they fit in the world. Click To Tweet
How greats that for them, then as an adult, that they can get it and hopefully it means that they might not end up with as many issues – because they really understand their sense of self and their sense of heart. What it means to feel a connection. It’s that real connection, I think, for them.
Mark [5:36] The connection that you’ve spoken about it, and you used the word love. As I watch it-it seems the best word to describe that energy. It is like energy, we sense the energy, we sometimes see it, feel it, sense it. You described it as love. What happens to you, when you see it? What do you experience? Do you melt, where does it touch you in your body?
Learning to Connect To My Heart More
Belinda [6:03] I think that’s really started to get that deep heart feeling now. I did have moments of having that before. I think I’m understanding it a lot more through probably lots of personal growth. I think really, it’s for me it is a warm, burning sort of energy feeling. I think that energy, that word energy, you can feel it within yourself, but within whoever else is there. So if I’m working with a child and parent, you can, you can say it between them as well. You can see that flow. I’m going to get all you know, academic and talk about theorists and stuff here. I think most people would know Dr Dan Siegel. He talks about the “MWe”, not you and not me but not we but the connection at that cellular level of what’s vibrating between all of us when we’re in a room together. That has really resonated with me around you know, what the vibe or the energy in the room is. I’ve noticed that as well when I’m teaching nursing, and the whole group have an “aha moment.” You might have 32 students in the room, and you’ve got that connection and that becomes almost a heart connection. It might sound a little bit strange being in the classroom, but everyone is connected together at that moment.
Mark [7:45] How do you in having this awareness – How do you then keep that awareness on your own connection to yourself?
Out of Nursing Enabled A Sense Of Presence in My Work
Belinda [7:56] I think if I’m going to go back to thinking about working with kids, it’s probably one of the things that as a student, we got told to really focus on – to be there. So you’re, you’re with the child, there’s nothing else that you thinking about for that time. That’s been throughout all of the different therapies that I’ve worked in over time, I’ve really tried to be with the person. If I go back to thinking about when I was working in a ward that was impossible. They were, without sounding really horrible, like sometimes that was that they were ‘someone in a gown in the bed’ with this condition that you have to treat. It had to be that way because you’re so flat out and they’re really sick, and he needed to get jobs done for them.
Whereas working in mental health fields, like, same as you I suppose, you’re able to be with the people. Even when I was running groups, for young people with mental health problems, we were together and doing things. We out doing outdoor adventure activities together. That was what we were doing. We were all together as a group and the connection was there. They weren’t allowed to have their phones or anything else and so you are really together and there. I think that’s the sense of being.
Mark [9:28] It sounds like, the word mindfulness. You were just being present is just being purely mindful. That needs to take place, I assume at the head/rational mind level, but also at a heart level. When you’re doing it at a heart level, what do you notice happens at a mind level, when you are really present from the heart?
In Mindfulness My Heart and Mind Settle
Belinda [9:54] Everything settles. I think that it’s a just being able to be. I am trying to will not even trying to, I think I’m becoming more practiced to now at just ‘being’ in my personal life as well. Just being in the moment. Being at a heart mindfulness level of being in the moment rather than at a mind – mindfulness because I think I’ve taught a lot of mindfulness over the years to different groups, and it’s brilliant and it’s so helpful. I think living it, is different, so actually feeling it. Probably feeling it is if the life feeling it in your heart, that you’re in that moment and your mind is settled because you’re living in the heart moment.
Mark [10:44] I’m wondering to always be in the heart is not easy. In the heart in what we’re sharing is positive experiences. There’s also the painful experiences or the painful emotions that maybe at a heart level too. When we’re learning to be present, we have to be present to that, unfortunately (laughter).
A Year of Self-Discovery Gifting My Need to Sit With Feelings
Belinda [11:12] Yes. That’s something I think through a lot of self-discovery that I’ve probably gone through this year. It’s been a real year of growth and learning and self-discovery for me, and it’s nice that I’m chatting to him at the end of the year. That is something that I’ve really worked on. I have probably never before this year experience, you know, what the DSM V would call symptoms of anxiety. That happened to me this year. I sat with it and try to understand it, and also got help.
I made sure that I had some time off because I have a really busy life. I knew that I just needed to stop. If I didn’t stop, I’d push those feelings away, instead of working through them. Not even working through them but sitting with them. I could accept them and be okay, and saying thank you, to my body and my mind for helping me to understand that I need to be feeling this right now. I need to be able to sit with it and recognize that it’s my body’s way of telling me just to slow down.
Is Our Emotional Health An Antecedent Of Mental Health?
Mark [12:33] You know, I wonder whether a lot of our mental health is from the antecedent of our emotional health?
Belinda [12:40] Yes.
Mark [12:41] Learning to appropriately process those painful emotions and let them out. Just let the body, the natural neurobiology of the body do its work. It does heal itself. What happens when you experience disconnection? Is that a painful process or just space where you need to just stop, reflect, and come back to reconnect? What is your process?
Recognising My Disconnection
Belinda [13:16] I’ve got a smile and have a little bit of (laughter) some self-disclosure and say, I think the thing that happens to me, is I get a little bit short-fused and grumpy and I probably get grumpy with my kids. At this point when I go okay, that’s not fair. I’m projecting my own disconnection here on to them. I need to stop and ground myself. It is my stuff that’s happened in my day, which has nothing to do with them, isn’t getting projected onto them.
Mark [13:46] When you do that, how much does that how much does your heart then turn around and focus and give it’s loving kindness to the part of you that is disconnected?
Belinda [13:57] I’m getting better at doing that now.
Mark [14:00] When you do that, is that a reconnect?
Giving Loving Kindness to My Disconnection
Belinda [14:05] Yeah.
Mark [14:06] What happens when you meet the pinnacle, that point? What do you experience in your body in your being when you hit that point?
Belinda [14:18] I think that’s when I can sort of go, “yep, I’ve got this.”
Mark Randall [14:25] The light bulb moment? Did you just have one just before?
Belinda [14:28] Yeah, I think it’s that “Aha moment” – yep, okay I need to get back to feeling this feeling that I’ve really just discovered, this heart feeling of, “this is good.” This is a better feeling than the chaos, that’s running around in my head with lists of things to do.
“Aha Moment” Clears My Mind & Disconnection becomes Connected
Mark [14:49] When you hit that “aha moment,” does the disconnection become connected?
Belinda [14:59] I think mostly. I think there are some things that I just put aside a little bit still.
Mark [15:04] Which may need us to become back to at some point which is okay. I’d be just curious, what happens – what do you experience with your mental health, when we have the connection with the disconnection within ourselves?
What Mental Health ~ It is Joy, Self-acceptance & Contentment
Belinda [15:18] Well, I think it’s that joy that comes with self-acceptance and the contentment. So, you know, there’s all this talk often about, you just need to be happy. I think really, it’s about being able to be content to be able to sit with yourself in your lonely moments and be okay with how you are.I think it's that joy that comes with self-acceptance and the contentment. So, you know, there's all this talk often about, you just need to be happy. I think really, it's about being able to be content to be able… Click To Tweet
Mark [15:41] That sounds like love?
Belinda [15:42] Laughter, yeah that’s it yep!
Mark [15:44] It really does. As I am sitting here with you, sharing the space with you – it sounds like love.
Self-Love is My Important Lesson & Gift to Myself
Belinda [15:48] And that is self-love. I think that’s the most important thing that’s been probably my lesson in 2018. Has just been unconditional self-love. In play therapy, we talk about unconditional positive regard for the people and the kids that we work with. Then there is the unconditional positive self-regard. Which is having that positive regard for yourself, no matter what.And that is self-love. I think that's the most important thing that's been probably my lesson in 2018. Has just been unconditional self-love. Click To Tweet
Mark [16:17] When you’re in that space, what’s it like then to share that with others?
Belinda [16:24] It’s beautiful.
Mark [16:25] Do you radiate?
Radiating My Self-Love
Belinda [16:26] Yep, for sure. Yep.
Mark [16:30] At a cellular level, what’s happening in your body when you’re radiating that?
Belinda [16:35] It’s like the chocolate that’s got the all the different bits that makes your tongue guy funny in it. The snap, crackle, pop chocolate, (lots of laughter) it’s everything’s bursting, and vibrant and bubbling. Yeah, just joyful little cells kicking around dancing.
Mark [17:00] You feel it at a cellular level?
Belinda [17:01] Yes, sure.
Mark [17:03] How deep is that?
Self-Love Flows To Me At a Cellular Level of Being
Belinda [17:05] I think that’s really deep. I think knowing the science behind cells, and what’s happening and even genetics, really. Thinking about everything that’s happening within the body and how that can change it and epigenetics sort of level, I know that’s getting a little bit deep. I think if we’re able, as people to try and connect back into that heart connection, and that happy cellular level connection, then that’s doing us a huge amount of good, over time. This will then that’s going to be intergenerational for our kids and our kids, kids. They hopefully then we’ll be able to have more of those happy genes kicking off.
Mark [17:56] It’s a beautiful space and as you’re radiating it to others, what do you notice comes back to you in there? Is there is reciprocal energy?
Self-Love Radiating Gifts a Reciprocal & Synchronicity to Others
Belinda [18:06] Yeah, I think there is.
Mark [18:10] It’s a lovely dance isn’t it, the energy of the room. The energy in the rooms is dancing with.
Belinda [18:14] Yes, the synchronicity.
Mark [18:16] Yeah, we don’t need words. It’s just there. This is the hard part about having this conversation? Is that we sort of have a cognitive language to describe what the experience is?
When you reach that point, does it go beyond the self and to the concept, to “All That Is.” I call it ‘all it is’ because it can represent a god or the higher power from a 12 step movement. It doesn’t matter. I was just sort of watching as you’re sharing a story it was like the “aha moments” there? Where do you go? Do you go beyond the self with that – “aha moment” space?
Trust in Full Faith the Universe Has Me Covered
Belinda [19:05] Yeah. I’m probably very much in that movement of putting it out there to the universe. I have full faith that the universe got my back, so to speak. Everything that’s happening is happening for a reason. If I can just have trust and faith in that, I’m on the right path. I know if I’m making good decisions, but the decisions that feel right for me and that feel morally and ethically okay, within my sense of self, then I know that I’m on the right path.
Mark [19:48] So when you’re in that space, and you’re connecting to the universe, are you giving back to Mother Earth?
Belinda [19:58] I would like to think so.
Mark [20:02] Do you need to think about it? Or is it just known? Or you going to analytically, (laughter) yeah, I am just curious to have the conversation and check in on it?
My Analytic Self Is My Safe Space
Belinda [20:14] I think as I was saying to you earlier, I think that’s my safe space still. I have always been analytical and cognitive. I do go back to analyzing everything. That is how it is and it is probably something new that I’m learning – to get into more of a heart connection, rather than a critical analysis of everything in life. I suppose that something that I am still thinking about the connection to Mother Earth. I am exploring how that fits for me. It feels like I’m connected. It feels like there’s a real connection between me and everything else. I’m probably still working on that.
Mark [20:55] And in that connection to you and everything else. If we’re to multiply that and all do that. I’m wondering what that impact would have for Mother Earth?
Healing My Self Connection Heals Our Vibration to Mother Earth
Belinda [21:05] Yeah.
Mark [21:06] Can you sense that?
Belinda [21:07] Yeah, for sure. I’ve listened to you saying that with other people that have been guests on the podcasts. I mean, how brilliant would that be. I think that what you’re doing here is really helping that for people to actually become aware of this heart connection and the connection to all that is. Also then being able to then find it within themselves. So then hopefully, that will just have a snowball effect and get bigger and bigger. There are other people obviously, out there doing very similar things. I think it is happening around the world. Like other people have said, I think there’s a real shift both at a heart level ended a cognitive level with trying to look after the earth.
Mark [21:56] How do we need to be mindful – is it a paradigm (laughter) from an intellectual perspective? Is that a paradigm shift from head to heart?
Belinda [22:09] I’d like to think you can have both. You need to. You can’t just wander around the Earth in your heart the whole time and not getting anything done. Maybe I’m segmenting it too much. I’d like to think that I can do everything that I need to do – work-wise, and my personal life. During which I hold that heart connection with me in mind (laughter), well, while I’m doing it. So doing and being at the same time.
Mark [22:40] When we’re doing and being we’re embodying. Why can’t we do the heart thing was we’re embodying what we’re doing. There is an old Zen quote: “chop wood, carry water, pre-enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, post-enlightenment.” We’ve still got to do. Is it about how we’re choosing to do it? How are we responding? Self-analysis is, ‘analysis paralysis’ they say (laughter). It’s like learning to drop, stop, breathe and unfortunately coming into some of that space is wow don’t like what’s in there at the moment. That is a part of our psyche that we’re not liking. What does that part of our psyche need?
Enlightenment and Levels of Self-Reflection
Belinda [23:37] Yeah and it’s interesting to think about how enlightened is and that people need to be to be able to get to that level of self-reflection. If we if we’re thinking about people from a Maslow hierarchy of needs, are only able to survive, their main thing in life is surviving. You and I have worked with lots and lots of people, whose worlds about trying to find food and water and everything else, they possibly need to survive. How, do they then get to that level? How do they find their heart connection? That’s, that’s the interesting bit.
Mark [24:16] Operating out of the reptilian brain. He’s talking about self-actualization? Yes, there is a part in the brain that does have that. In this day and age, does it really need to be about that survival? I am wondering whether the more we work at self-development, and having a lot more self-reflection and checking in. How do we share that with others?
Belinda [24:48] Hmm, that’s it. I think that it even needs to be therapy. The more people can tap into that subconscious, or to the creative side, that doesn’t have to go into the cognitive talking type therapy to try and work through stuff. If they’re able to tap into that sense of what feels good, like without it having to be a synthetic version of what feels good.
Deep Down It Is All There
Mark [25:22] Because it’s all there.
Belinda [25:23] Yeah.
Mark [25:23] If I was to ask you now to just to remember an ‘aha moment’ about a beautiful sunset or down the beach, where does your heart and mind go then?
Belinda [25:36] It just went lots of places (laughter).
Mark [25:40] Were you there, back there? Have a memory of that?
Belinda [25:42] Yeah.
Mark [25:42] What happened to your mind when you went there?
Belinda [25:44] It just sort of maybe even goes subconscious because you’re not up in that, analytical prefrontal cortex anymore. Your back drawing up memories and there probably memories that are very significant. If they’re just going to be “aha moment” type things. Maybe it’s a new memory that you didn’t even realize was significant until you have that reflection,
Mark [26:13] How do you center there?
Reflection Is My Point to Centre
Belinda [26:15] I think that word reflection is huge. I think to be able to stop and breathe and think and even get to that point of meditating. Even if not meditating, having that opportunity to just think or feel where you’re at and connecting to your body.I think that word reflection is huge. I think to be able to stop and breathe and think and even get to that point of meditating. Even if not meditating, having that opportunity to just think or feel where you're at and… Click To Tweet
Mark [26:37] When you’re breathing, are then breathing into your body and into your being?
Belinda [26:43] Yeah, yep and what I’ve noticed within myself and probably with work with other people over the years, is there are very different types of breathing. If you can stop and breathe really deeply, it’s going to change everything again at that cellular level. You’re then able to get back to the heart connection. I’ve been trying to teach my kids that a little bit about helping them to slow down.
Mark [27:11] Has your heart missed that connection?
Slowing the Go-go-go and Meeting my Heart
Belinda [27:15] Over the years? Yeah, I reckon a little bit. Ever since I was little I’ve been go-go-go. Doing-doing-doing. That was the way that I was raised to be very involved in lots of different after-school activities. I was a fairly high achiever and trying to do my best at every little thing I could. Be a perfectionist. I guess I probably didn’t have much downtime to stop. I mean, I did in ways. I probably think from childhood, the things that were my most heart connection was when I was surfing. Being out the back and sitting there in the ocean. Or at the snow and skiing. Being on a chair lift soaking it all in. Even going on bush walks that real camping, nature connection is probably where I’m most felt that heart connection.
Mark [28:14] As a very amateur surfer (laughter) sitting at the back talking and having some conversations. Some of the surfers have said, it’s like cleansing their soul. What happens to your soul when you’re sitting out the back waiting for the next set to come through?
Ocean Is My Oneness Of Connection
Belinda [28:32] That’s it! That’s why I do it. Anything ocean and I’ve done that a huge amount this year in particular. Just going back to the beach and diving into the salt water, there is nothing in the world that is going to cleanse me more. It is almost like a spiritual ritual. I just feel completely okay again as soon as I’ve dived into the ocean.Just going back to the beach and diving into the salt water, there is nothing in the world that is going to cleanse me more. It is almost like a spiritual ritual. I just feel completely okay again as soon as I've dived… Click To Tweet
Mark [29:03] Completely connected?
Belinda [29:04] Yep, completely connected.
Mark [29:06] Where does the sense of self go when you’re completely connected to that?
Belinda [29:11] I’d say that it’s at the heart, but it’s also full body connection and even though my feet into the sand. Like I feel so grounded.
Mark [29:24] And your emotional health and mental health, where’s that gone?
Belinda [29:28] Yeah, that that just all feels like, ah, like that breathing like, I’m okay. I can breathe.
Bare Foot Grounding Myself
Mark [29:34] Wow. A powerful place.
Belinda [29:38] Yeah very lucky to be able to live close to that.
Mark [29:43] During your working day, how do you come back to that space? Do you be mindful of that space? And what would happen if you were mindful of that space during your working day?
Belinda [29:55] It’s a really tricky one, but I am, as much as I can, work in bare feet.
Mark [30:01] I was about to say is (laughter) is – I was about to say is that post-enlightenment?
Belinda [30:09] Yep, probably is. Interestingly. Yeah.
Mark [30:12] And in some of the conversations as we hit into space, it’s the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual conversations can go deep into the ‘All That Is’. I am wondering whether we do have momentary glimpses of enlightenment? Just momentary glimpses of it. Once we start to recognize we are having those momentary glimpses, can we string more of those glimpses together?
Belinda [30:41] Yep.
Mark [30:42] How would life be different if you could?
Belinda [30:44] Yeah, I reckon that’s what this year’s been like for me.
Mark [30:46] Wow.
Belinda [30:49] It was probably was a really tough time to start off with. I’ve noticed your noticing time and I’ll wrap it up. But yeah, definitely getting more connected.
Mark [31:01] Is there any message that you would like to succinctly if you could share to young girls and women or just young men in the in the world coming through?
Belinda [31:20] That’s hard, but I think, be creative. I didn’t know that’s what I was gonna say. I think that’s something I’ve recognized that it’s important to get to that creative side of yourself to discover the other side of your brain.
Mark [31:36] Thank you, Belinda, for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this conversation. It has been beautiful. Thank you.
Belinda [31:42] Thank you, Mark.
Mark [31:43] Thank you for your wisdom.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai