Living the Connected Hearts Way IRL: Part 2

Our everyday experiences can be some of our most impactful teachers in life. In this 2-part article, I share about small, typical, yet powerful, moments that capture what my Connected Hearts philosophy looks in real life.

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Our everyday experiences can be some of our most impactful teachers in life. In this 2-part article, I share about small, typical, yet powerful, moments that capture what my Connected Hearts philosophy looks in real life. Read Part 1 here first. 

 

To review, Connected Hearts has three layers; I like to think of Connected Hearts as a ripple effect, starting from the Self and rippling outward. First, each individual connects to oneSelf. With this inner locus of control and strong sense of self-love, we can connect with others– the second ripple. We find healthy, authentic, and support ways to relate to others. The third ripple is community; here each individual shows up and participates in the world, taking agency and understanding their power to contribute.

 

connected hearts

 

Today, I share the second everyday experience that illustrates the way that a Connect Hearts lens can support us in living a more peaceful and easeful life.

 

 

 

Agreements Surrounding Time

 

Yesterday, during the daily ritual of greeting one another, my partner and I chatted about what we each had in mind for the evening. We had already decided to watch an episode of our current show, but we chatted details for a bit.

 

He explained that he wanted to use the last few minutes of sunlight to continue a spray painting project, and I explained that I was deep into website research. We decided that we’d make our easy, go-to GF pizza on rice tortillas for dinner. Then, he said, “What time should we reconvene?”

 

After we agreed on 7:15, I wrote my partner’s question down in my bullet journal. It felt like a perfect acknowledgment of our different needs and agendas, while also honoring and our quality time together. It allows space for us to collaborate, too. THIS is Connected Hearts in real life!

 

I invite you, as parents, supporters, partners, spouses, and friends, to make agreements with your loved ones about the ways time will be spent individually AND together.

 

hearts two again

 

You might talk with your tween using questions such as, “What kind of activities do you like having alone time for? How long do you need after school to decompress?” Pair these questions about individual needs with questions about family time: ““How long would you like to commit to catching up each evening? How would you like to spend family time together?”

 

Again, it can be helpful to share your perspective and values about developing routines for connecting, as well as space for individual or alone time. As the parent, you are guiding the conversation, but you are inviting your child to cocreate routines that they can be invested and engaged in.

 

Know that as the parent, sometimes you may have to be firm in expectations, voicing that family time is necessary and will be priority. This is okay and may be a part of the process in your family. You are not alone!

 

hearts in tree

 

Digging Deeper into the Connected Hearts Philosophy

 

If you’re looking for accountability to integrate these everyday practices and other growth-based tools into your life and your family, let’s chat! As a Child-Centered Coach for parents and teens, I work with clients to build daily routines and rituals that inspire empowered, intentional living, and I’d love to support you on your journey.

Living the Connected Hearts Way IRL: Part 1

Our everyday experiences can be some of our most impactful teachers in life. I noticed two small, typical, yet powerful moments from this last week that made me reflect upon the ways my  Connected Hearts philosophy looks in real life.

Our everyday experiences can be some of our most impactful teachers in life. I noticed two small, typical, yet powerful moments from this last week that made me reflect upon the ways my  Connected Hearts philosophy looks in real life.

Connected Hearts has three layers; I like to think of Connected Hearts as a ripple effect, starting from the Self and rippling outward. First, each individual connects to oneSelf. With this inner locus of control and strong sense of self-love, we can connect with others– the second ripple. We find healthy, authentic, and support ways to relate to others. The third ripple is community; here each individual shows up and participates in the world, taking agency and understanding their power to contribute.

 

connected hearts

Today, I share two everyday experiences that illustrate the way we can use Connect Hearts to live in more peaceful and easeful ways.

 

Everyday Connections

I’m at the kitchen table– my favorite workspace because of the big window– when my partner walks in after a long day. His hands are full, his face looks a little tired after 2 hours of coaching high school soccer, but he’s smiling at me.

 

I hurry up and type “one last thing.” (Are these your famous last words too?!) Then I stand up to greet him with eye contact, a hug, and availability.

 

Each day, morning and evening, when we wake up and when we have both arrived at home, we make a conscious effort to CONNECT. To acknowledge one another, even for just a few minutes. Usually, it’s a kiss, a “How are you?,” a “What are you up to?,” or just a long hug— which releases oxytocin and makes us feel good!

 

While this seems like common sense, and I’d like to say we have always done this, I must admit that the intentionality of the routine is new. We are often doing our own things, on our own time, with different ideas of schedules, priorities, and preferences. Throughout this last year, it has often been hard for me to let go of what I’m doing when my partner gets home or when plans change.(Does this sound familiar to anyone? Perhaps you feel this with a child or a partner of your own?)

 

adrian and me

 

This simple strategy of pausing and making a thoughtful connection was a recent suggestion from my therapist. It allows both of us to Stop. Breathe. Feel. First, we check in with ourselves and then with one another, as we grow Connected Hearts. Instead of being on autopilot, we slow down and take small, loving actions that fuel ourselves and one another.

 

I invite you, as parents, supporters, partners, spouses, and friends, to decide who you want to make intentional connections with AND how and when you will do it. Furthermore, I suggest talking to your child or your partner about routines for connection during transitions.

 

You might share with your teenager, for example, “It’s always so busy and chaotic before dinner, isn’t it? When I get home, I’d like to stop what I’m doing for a few minutes and check in with you about your day. How does this sound?”

 

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It can be beneficial to explain the ways that this connection helps both parent and child understand one another. Be transparent about the fact that you want to give each family member the chance to gauge their own energy, too, while becoming aware of one another’s energy. You might describe the fact that energy can be charged or scattered– especially during transitions– and this practice of slowing down can help everyone reset and ground.
Try making brief connections a part of your everyday transition routines. Tell me how it goes!

 

Stay tuned for Living the Connected Hearts Way IRL: Part 2 next Tuesday!

Loving Your Teenage Self: An Everyday Practice for Parents

Today’s blog is experiential, an opportunity to be mindful and observant. The tools I share today come from a meditation I use in my personal life, as well as with my clients. “Loving Your Teenage Self” is a practice I teach parents; it’s a pathway into self-care, as well as connection with your children and teens.

Today’s blog is experiential, an opportunity to be mindful and observant. The tools I share today come from a meditation I use in my personal life, as well as with my clients. “Loving Your Teenage Self” is a practice I teach parents; it’s a pathway into self-care, as well as connection with your children and teens.

 

Find a quiet, undisturbed place to settle in for the next 20 minutes or so.

 

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We’ll begin with my favorite, universal practice: Stop. Breathe. Feel.

 

Take a few comforting breaths– whatever those look like or feel like to you.

 

Settle in to your seat.

 

I invite you to observe your body, your mind, and your spirit: how are you feeling in this moment?

 

You might give the various sensations names or maybe you use a number from 1-10 to label your current experience. Naming feelings can help you acknowledge yourself in this very moment, and there’s no need to judge or try to change the sensations.

 

From here, I invite you to visualize yourself as a tween or teen. Perhaps you think of yourself at the same age your child is at present. (For example, you may wish you remember your 15-year-old self if your child is 15.) You might think of yourself at a point in adolescence that felt challenging, frustrating, or impossible. I usually go to my 16-year-old self (pictured above); the girl that was searching for validation and belonging. You may imagine yourself feeling joyful, excited, or free as a teen. Any image is the “right” image for this experience. Trust the image that comes up.

 

Holding this image of your adolescent self in your mind’s eye, shower them with love, kind words, acceptance, affirmations, reassurances, encouragement, forgiveness, or simply hold space for them to feel safe and secure.

 

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You might visualize certain colors or lights surrounding yourself. You may give your younger self a hug. Perhaps you use words such as, “You are enough as you are. I love you no matter what!” Trust yourself as you get into this meditation; send love to your younger self in whatever way feels authentic and intuitive.

 

If you feel comfortable, I invite you to close your eyes as you meditate upon your younger self and send compassion and healing their way. As you feel ready, in several minutes, open your eyes and return to this guide.

 

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Once again: Stop. Breathe. Feel.

 

Scan your body, check in with your mind and spirit. How are you feeling? Once again, name sensations.

 

Do you notice anything different? Does your body feel different than before? Has something shifted in your mind? What about your energy and your spirit?

 

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This practice, which is inspired by Louise Hay, is one that I practice regularly on my ongoing journey to radical self-love and self-acceptance. I have been able to let go of regrets and self-hatred that I’ve held on to for years. Furthermore, this practice helps me get centered with clients and to do healing work through a lens of compassion, empathy, and understanding. For it is in relating and connecting (dramatically opposed to isolating and disconnecting) that the biggest “ahas” and transformations happen.

 

I share this simple, yet powerful, meditation with parents of tweens and teens for many of the same reasons. Over time, I have received feedback from parents who use this practice. One parent shared that they were able to let go of fear and worry that come from their own teenage years; they found healing surrounding traumas from childhood. Another parent shared the following: “I am better able to get in tune with what my teen is feeling. Now, I can react with compassion more often.”

 

A parent who uses this practice daily shared that they have been able to “let go of assumptions about what [their] teenager is doing.” While building deeper self-knowledge and self-acceptance, parents that practice “Loving My Teenage Self” are able to relate to their children and teen from an authentic place. They acknowledge the ways they faced challenges (and still do); we are all much more similar than we are different.

 

Like all things, this practice takes time to become comfortable with. Furthermore, it may take repetition for you to notice the effects and healing. Stay patient with yourself, and be sure to set aside quiet, alone time to do this meditation consistently. Observe shifts within yourself, as well as in your beliefs. Stay open to the ways these internal changes impact your external world, including your relationship with your child.

 

If you’re looking for accountability to integrate this practice and other growth-based tools into your life and your family, let’s chat! As a Child-Centered Coach for parents and teens, I work with clients to build daily routines and rituals that inspire empowered, intentional living, and I’d love to support you on your journey.

Talking to Teenagers… About Self-Care

We are never too young to learn and implement self-care. In fact, the rapidly changing teenage brain can gain stability and become more resilient through self-care practices. The lives of teens can be drastically transformed, supported, and affirmed through self-care tools.

I hear the phrase “self-care” everywhere these days; yet, it’s a practice I am still building. For 25+ years of my life, this concept was not a part of my vocabulary or comprehension. Sure, I knew that my dad often gave my mom massage gift certificates for her birthday and that my grandparents loved spending time in a mountain cabin each weekend. I also knew that therapy was a place I could vent and that playing soccer made me feel healthy and strong.

 

But, I didn’t have a name for intentional, self-soothing, mindful routines, or self-care. Furthermore, I thought of wellness practices as “adult stuff.”

 

“Naming” is the act of acknowledging and recognizing an experience; this process gives us the power of self-awareness and choice. Once I learned the name “self-care,” I was able to identify my own ongoing needs for small acts of love and rest. In my late-20s, I started naming my preferred self-care rituals and prioritizing them in my schedule.

 

sage

 

Self-care has become a safe place, a reprieve, a retreat, a healing and grounding force, even with brief 10-20 minute activities. Again, self-care is still an area of my life that I am consciously growing, and sometimes even struggle with; however, I know that my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical selves are worth the work. (It’s funny how softening or letting go can sometimes be the hardest work, right?!)

 

Self-awareness and self-regulation are the foundational skills of social and emotional intelligence. Both of these layers connect directly with self-care, or the ways we know how to care for, soothe, and love ourselves. Self-care helps us manage and reduce stress so that we can think more clearly and function at our highest levels. For it is in knowing ourselves, being aware of our needs and preferences, that we can take caring and calming actions for ourselves. Self-regulation is the ability to respond, not just react, and this skill increases as we practice self-care.

 

levels of connection

 

Thus, we are never too young to learn and implement self-care. In fact, the rapidly changing teenage brain can gain stability and become more resilient through self-care practices. The lives of teens can be drastically transformed, supported, and affirmed through self-care tools.

 

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I teach all of my clients, teens and parents, about self-care and support them establishing routines that build a compassionate relationship with self. Today, I’m excited to share 8 Strategies for Talking to Teenagers About Self-Care (plus some easy-to-implement practices):

 

1. Practice Self-Care yourself consistently, regularly, with dedication, and with purpose. Ensure that you are making time for yourself EACH day. You are constantly modeling behavior to your children, and teaching them self-care is invaluable. Equally importantly, you need self-care practices in order to feel sustained and nourished and to give to your children fully.

 

2. Emphasize that self-care is not a way to be “fixed” or “changed;” instead, it’s about being exactly where we are. Describe self-care as a necessary part of life for all people. These are normal, important parts of emotional hygiene!

 

3. Encourage an honest assessment of where/when your teen feels most happy, most comfortable, and most at ease. Ask your child or teen questions like, “Where do you feel most joyful and relaxed?” Give them the space to name and describe places and activities that feel calming.

 

4. Invite an honest assessment of times of day, places, space, or activities that cause stress or energy drain. Get in the habit of asking questions like, “When do you notice feeling the most stress during the day?” Again, you are creating an opening for self-reflection through which your teen will better know themselves.

 

knitting

 

5. Teach that self-care doesn’t have to cost money or look like it does in the magazines. It’s important that we demystify self-care. It doesn’t have to mean going to a fancy spa for an entire weekend. Self-care can be DIY, require NO materials, can be done in the comfort of your own home or a public park, and for brief chunks of time. Get creative by browsing Pinterest or IG with your child or teen. I suggest keeping a list of go-to routines on the fridge. (Get a free downloadable list here!)

 

6. Model checking in with yourself, as you encourage your teen to do the same. Scanning our bodies and noticing fluctuations in our minds helps us determine if and when we need a break. As children and teens grow in self-awareness, many undesired behaviors can be interrupted or avoided. Model emotional awareness by describing where you feel sensations such as anxiety, overwhelm, peace, joy, etc. in your body. Ask your teen to notice where they hold different emotions too. Return to this conversation regularly.  

 

7. Support your teen in developing and committing to routines for self-care. Talk about the times of day you add self-care into your routines. Ask questions such as, “What times of day do you tend to feel more stressed? Tired?” or “How do you plan to add these rituals into your schedule?” If you have a weekly routine of reviewing family schedules, include self-care appointments or practices in the conversation and on the calendar!

 

8. Talk about and let them share their knowledge about the mind-body connection. Ask your child what they notice about their body when they are calm, overwhelmed, well-rested, etc. Discuss the importance of health in all parts of our being.

 

tea

 

A Few Self-Care Practices My Teenage Clients Have Loved: 

  • Mindful coloring
  • Walk while listening to music
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Use facial masks or painting nails
  • Play with or walk your pet
  • Drink a cup of tea
  • Use lavender oil (or another preferred oil)

Get your free downloadable list of these ideas and more here!
If you’d like support in building your own self-care routines or in holding space for your teen to develop daily practices, please reach out to me! As a coach, I am excited to act as a mentor and accountability partner for people who want to grow and transform their lives. Is this you?

Questions for Teens and Parents: Honoring Your Needs in 2018

2018 is here! And I’m excited to share some of my big breakthroughs and realizations from the past year. I hope that my perspective and reflection process offers you, your teen, your friend, or your family member a sense of connection, a knowing that you (or they) are not alone.

Because it’s true; you are not alone! AND you are enough just as you are.

peace mug

Have you ever heard your tween or teen say, “I can’t handle the crowds of the hallways.” Or something like, “School is too crazy for me. I just can’t find my place.”

As a parent, have you ever found yourself saying,  “I feel so much for her. My heart is breaking for the ways she’s struggling to connect.” Or perhaps something like, “He just seems so stressed and obsessed with being successful. I feel tired for him!”



These statements from my clients- teens and parents– are all about individual needs. Some teens struggle to fit into our often loud, chaotic, and made-for-extroverts culture. They have a need for quiet, spacious, soothing environments. Likewise, sometime you may take on or carry the emotions your children experience.

 

I often talk to clients, teens and parents alike, about how they want to respond to and honor their individual needs, and often, there’s no simple answer.

 

However, there IS always an opportunity to Stop. Breathe. Feel. Then, reflect. And get curious.

We all have needs, preferences, limitations, and boundaries to become aware of, and we all have areas of ourselves that we can expand.

 

 


Today, I’m offering my personal meditation on 2017, an account of navigating (and thriving in) the world as a highly sensitive, empathic, and introverted person. My personal practice is very similar to (and, in fact, informs) the ways I teach and coach, especially when I have the opportunity to serve teens or parents with needs similar to mine.

While I DON’T only serve highly sensitive people (HSP), empaths, and introverts, I DO serve people who have a desire to grow and transform. I partner with families who are willing to feel and sense— whether it be connection, disconnection, joy, grief, or any other emotion. This openness to exploring and growing requires and/or brings (a sort of chicken and egg conundrum here) a certain amount of sensitivity and awareness.

 

Keep reading for some juicy reflection questions to ground you and your family in 2018!

2017 visions

 


 


As a highly-sensitive, empathic introvert, social gatherings and big events can be very challenging for me. BUT… after two nights in a row of being out at inspiring, uplifting, women-led events, I’m facing a new layer of reflection. Here’s what’s come up:

1. These labels and descriptors don’t define me in every moment. They are parts of me, they influence my personhood, but they don’t limit me. They may introduce opportunities for me to listen to myself and draw boundaries, but they are also invitations to challenge and stretch myself.

  • Are there labels that you want to move through?
  • Are there ways that you are being called to expand and grow?
  • Are there ways that you can listen more fully to your needs?

 

2. When I actually and finally arrive somewhere- body, mind, and spirit- I can drop into the connections, I can sense the energy and love in the space, and I can thrive. Ways that I tap into my own arrival include belly breathing, walking around to check out the scene, and bringing something that comforts me (tea, water, a snack, or even a notebook).

  • How do you arrive somewhere?
  • What rituals or routines help you feel grounded or situated?


3. In 2017 I have shown up in so many new, interesting, and fulfilling ways. This has meant speaking at conferences, going to tons of networking events, and meeting a ton of new friends. My appreciation for these new connections and my personal journey is immense! So, thank you for standing witness and being a part of it!

  • What are you grateful for when you look back at 2017?
  • Who or what can you show appreciation for?
  • How can you appreciate yourself as this year comes to a close?

 


 

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I recommend sharing these questions with your teens and opening space for collective sharing.

Email me for support on digging into these questions and setting intentions for living with great awareness in 2018 and beyond.

Remember, you are not alone.

A Holiday Note for YOU!

Happy Holidays, my friends!

May this time of year, the end of 2017, and the beginning of 2018 be an invitation to cherish our blessings and gifts from the Universe/God/Spirit/Divine.

 

Some people love the holidays; others struggle to find joy in these times. Some holiday seasons are easy, restful, and fun. Others are full of grief, exhaustion, and stress. (Because life is complex, challenging, and beautiful.) There is room for ALL of this, and this means, there is space for YOU to be exactly how you are.

Let us remember this as we go out into the world and interact with one another– treating ourselves and others with sensitivity and compassion. Let us honor ourselves and others by being present with whatever comes up.

 

No matter how you’re feeling today or in this holiday season… Wait, how are you feeling today?

Take a moment…

• Stop • Breathe • Feel •

 

Now, no matter where you are in this moment, know all of this:

– You are loved!

– It’s your choice how you spend your day. Make choices that serve you.

– It’s always okay to take a walk to create peace or to move energy. Try it!

– It’s totally acceptable to take a 10-minute “bathroom break” just to breathe or write a quick journal note on your phone.

– You are allowed to leave early if you’re tired or over it. Really.

– You can spend today reading or watching a movie if you want to.

– Your day shouldn’t look like anyone else’s, so forget about what you’re seeing on social media. Do you and your family. That’s enough!

– It’s normal to feel out of sync if you’ve traveled or changed routine or have company or have kiddos on winter break. Be patient with yourself and your children.

– And most importantly, know that you ARE love, you ARE divine, and you ARE a blessing.

 

Hugs to you, my friend. Thank you for being a gift in my life! I appreciate you so deeply!

Talking to Teenagers… A 6-Step Process

This 6-Step Process gives you tools for communicating with your tween or teen on the days they come home upset and venting, and even on the days when they respond with silence.

Parents, what does loneliness look like, sound like, and feel like to you? How does frustration show up for you? What about bliss; how do you experience this sensation?

 

Do you find these questions difficult to answer? Or perhaps they feel too complex to give a concise answer? Me too! And, unlike our teens, we have fully developed prefrontal cortices!

 

With these questions, I asked you to use your “upper” rational brain to think about the “lower” emotional brain. Many of us use our rational brain to tell ourselves that an emotion we’re experiencing is bad or embarrassing and must be hidden; we often use it to avoid emotion. Here, though, I’m encouraging you to integrate or unite these two powerful aspects of our brain by giving emotional space in your cognition.

 

I’m excited to share a story that illustrates how you can use this concept to support your tweens and teens, whose brains are still rapidly developing, particularly in the upper or prefrontal cortex region.

 

While working with a 12-year-old client recently, she said, “I don’t have real friends, and I don’t know how to make them.” I listened as she said these words. I held space for her, and while a part of me wanted to shout out, “You are amazing and incredible and loveable!” and work towards a plan of action to get her the support she desires, I stayed quiet and calm. When she paused, I said, “It sounds like you’re feeling sad about what happened, and a little frustrated. I’m so sorry this happened.” She responded with more details of the ways she was hurt.

 

At her next pause, I asked, “Is there anything else?” She added just a few more details, and finally, when I saw her take a big breath, observing her chest rising, I knew she had already started to calm down. I gave her an affirmation, “You are safe and loved here, and I hear you. This all sounds really tough.”

 

Then, I made an invitation. I asked, “Are you ready to explore the emotions from this situation a bit more?” She agreed.

 

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The steps below walk you through the 6-Step Process I then facilitated with my client. These steps are tools for you to communicate with your tween or teen on the days they come home upset and venting, and even on the days when they respond with silence.

 

1. Ask for permission to dig deeper. If the answer is no, honor that by saying, “I’ll check back with you in an hour to see if you might be ready.” It’s as important to let your teen know that they can have space as it is to reassure them that you are interested, concerned, and available.

 

2. Invite your child to draw out OR journal the situation using as much detail as they’d like. Give both choices even if you know your teen’s preferences. (They need to– and love to–have a say in their lives!)

 

 

3. Give them time to write or draw. Rather than hovering or getting on your phone, I suggest drawing or writing alongside them. Select a situation from your day or an experience you’ve faced that relates to theirs. Stay present and show your child that you’re willing to do the same work your asking of them.

 

4. After several minutes, invite them to share. You might say, “Tell me what’s happening in your drawing.” As they retell the event, notice the range of different emotions that surface. With my client, for example, I saw her furrowed brow, which seemed to indicate frustration or anger. At another point, and in her drawing, I saw tears and sensed sadness. And in yet another instance, she expressed aloofness or fear, saying “I’m OK. It’s no big deal.”

 

5. Next, offer a handful of emotions that may be relevant to the experience. I shared the following list: anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, and fear. You can even print a copy of an emotions word bank for reference. Encourage your child to pick 2 or 3 emotions that they’d like to explore further.

 

6. Have your child title the page with the name of the emotion. Then create a 3-column chart, such as this one, using the headings looks like, sounds like, and feels like. They may then fill out the chart using words, images, and symbols to express their experience with the selected emotion.

 

Through these activities, we can bring cognition to emotions. A benefit of this work is building a pathway between the “upper” and “lower” brain; this way, when the emotion comes up next, there may be more direct access to the thinking, rational brain as your child notices and names the experience they are having. Your child will develop self-awareness and emotional awareness, which will increase their ability to regulate and calm themselves, as well as become excellent advocates for themselves and their needs.

 

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This process takes time, but rest assured! Every opportunity your teen has to know themselves and their emotions more fully is a step towards empowerment and intentional self-sufficiency.
If it starts to feel easier to go back to the status quo for your family and let this whole processing thing go, please know that you are not alone!  And if that’s the case, I would love to be a partner to you and your child to begin new communication routines. Let’s connect!