Listening to Your Life

Image

Thanks to Ravi Roshan @ravi_roshan_inc for making this photo available freely on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/_AdUs32i0jc

When I think of all the times I let the responses of others to my story guide the way I lived inside my story, I feel a kind of melancholy for the girl that lived within this kind of pressure box. Trust me when I say that I hold no one but me accountable for my response. However, I live now very mindful of how my own responses to the stories of others might affect them.

I have a colleague friend who has been such a great example to me of what this looks like in real time. Whenever someone shares something that has been difficult or a problem, his first response is one of empathy. Solutions are given only upon request, and I have never once felt judged by him even when I know he would have done things differently himself.

Letting go of what others think and embracing how I feel is important for my personal well being, but it also serves as a keen reminder to me of the needs of others around me. Most of us just would like to be heard—most of us just want a listening ear.

And listening is an art form.

I suppose it goes hand in hand with being present and mindful. Sitting with someone in their story is very different from hearing someone’s story. To me, listening and sitting are partners in the work of living mindfully in the present.

Listening is paying attention.

So today I choose to pay attention. To notice those around me carrying sadness, or sitting in grief, or rejoicing in personal victory. “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” is the exact definition of listening with your life. Jealously and envy dissipate when we truly rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Likewise, haughtiness and superiority go out the window when we sit in grief with those who are weeping.

Listening is being grateful in the moment.

When I am grateful for each moment in my own story, whether good or bad, I learn to sit with others in a kind of peaceful contentment that neither judges nor offers solutions. This is the very hardest for me. I always want to help and offer solutions, but most often less is more. Breathing in the positive of each moment isn’t just a simple-minded solution. It’s an internal game changer. Our whole outlook changes when breathe in the positive and breathe out the negative.

Listening to ourselves and others brings contentment.

The more we learn to listen, the more we encourage others to walk inside their own stories, the more content we will be inside our own. Listening to others encourages them to look the world in the eye and know that they are worthy, they are enough, and they are loved.

Are you listening?

You are worthy.

You are enough.

You are loved.

LifeSong

Lilting, her voice sang across the meadow:
breezing by, the butterflies danced to the tune;
grazing, the cows stopped chewing to listen;
buzzing, bees set about their pollen work;
resting, she settled into the tall grass
breathing out, she exhaled all of her worries.
sighing, she prayed another day to sing.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

How are you doing today? I’d love to hear your story.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Ten

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Ten

The prompt today was easier since yesterday’s was so hard and required so much vulnerability and bravery. Today’s challenge was to write a “book spine” poem. This involved me taking a look at my kindle “bookshelf” and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem. I used the book titles in their original form. Can you count all the books? How many of them have you read?

If you’ve never tried writing poetry, today would be a great day to give it a go with this prompt. It was just plain old fun. I absolutely loved it! Post yours in the comments below please.

bookshelf

tattoos on the heart
bring a kind of just mercy to life–
a fine balance of purple hibiscus, yellow crocus and a wilder rose.
one thousand gifts
rising strong–
a pavilion of women the same kind of different as me.
pastrix,
resilient pilgrim–
release your sacred cows and
ride your blue horses.
at the corner of east and now,
i’ll sing you home.