By: Brit Vechell Burleson
Are you looking for more meaningful connections in your life? A way to get past small talk and surface level conversations with family, friends, and co-workers? Creating connection through conversation can begin with this simple exchange we have multiple times per day.
“How are you?”
– Busy, you?
No…really, “How are you?”
– Tired, it’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday.
– Ok, I had to stay late at work again last night, but that big project is almost done.
– Great, I can’t wait to go on vacation next week.
Better, but I encourage you to try again, “How are you?”
Now stop. Take a breath and a moment to notice. Notice the response that is already on your lips – the phrase that automatically comes out of your mouth with no thought or reflection required. Pay attention to your urge to fill the silence hanging off the end of that question – to replace that empty space with the first words that come to you. And examine whether those words actually describe your day, your week … the state of your LIFE.
What state is your life in? How is your day really going? Take this stillness to see if you can shift into a deeper connection with yourself. What are you actually feeling? Which parts are you willing to share and what do you want to hold back?
Does it feel like too much work to try to turn a common greeting into a REAL conversation? Consider how much of your response is caught up in how I might judge you or what you have to say. I could think you’re a showoff, a martyr, or a glass half-empty (or half-full) kind of person.
Notice if you aren’t, in fact, “good”, but you use the word anyway because it’s easier and more comfortable than admitting that you’re actually feeling hurt or mad or sad. Realize how much easier it is to gloss over uncomfortable emotions with a response that someone expects to hear.
Would you be willing to dive deeper? What if I broke down the question to ask how you are mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially?
How is your mind?
What kind of thoughts are dominating your headspace? See if you’re able to observe your inner dialogue and your mind’s judgments regarding your job, your body, your partner, the fairness of life, etc.
How is your body?
Perhaps you need to start with whether you’re currently present in your body (and not lost in your thoughts). Once you’re settled there, what’s it like?
How are your feelings?
Believe it or not, you can have multiple feelings all at once – and they don’t have to be limited to good, tired, and busy. What is the range of emotions you’re experiencing right now?
How is your spirit?
You could also think of this in terms of your spiritual practices or your connection to a higher power. Learning to connect to your spirit can be a winding path and a powerful practice.
How is your heart?
To me, this is by far the most intimate and vulnerable of these questions. It’s also one of the most crucial to living a life wide open. If no one has ever asked you about your heart before, it can seem oddly specific and vague at the same time. Try it on and see what comes up for you.
How are your finances?
Where are you feeling abundant and where are you feeling stuck or inadequate? Does it make you uncomfortable to share more than the most recent purchase you made? This is often a taboo question, but learning to speak openly about money can be an incredibly empowering step toward taking back control over your personal finances.
So now, if you’re still feeling brave – let’s purposefully create one of those shit-just-got-real moments.
“How are you?”
I invite you to explore all the facets of a seemingly simple three-word question. I give you permission to drop down into that deep well of YOU and to feel all of the feelings – the ones you want to feel and the ones you don’t. The ones that excite you, the ones that scare you, and the ones you’re embarrassed by (not that you needed my blessing to feel your own feelings).
You might find yourself wanting to go back to “How are you?” / “Good, you?” / “Good, thanks!” conversations. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit that I can still mindlessly answer (and ask!) this question too. Together – let’s try to ask more meaningful questions and go deeper in our response.
For you ninja level beauties out there – I dare you to comment below and let me know how you are today! In all aspects of your life or in the one that feels the most important at this moment – Physically, Spiritually, Mentally, Emotionally, or Financially.
Thank you for taking this step toward a deeper connection with me ♥
Brit Vechell Burleson
A special thanks and great big hug to Sage Lewis of Dancing Porcupine (www.dancingporcupine.com) for inspiring this post – thank you for never being afraid to dive deeply and being an amazing example of how to lead with your heart.