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Posts Tagged ‘love’

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“Being heard
is so close to being loved
that for the average person,
they are almost indistinguishable.”
― David Augsburger

“I never miss a good chance to shut up”
― James PattersonAlong Came a Spider

I am lucky, I live with a man who is an exceptional listener.  Really.  I knew this the first day I met him over ten years ago.  When he listens, I feel heard; I feel like I matter, I feel like I am with someone who cares.

I learned about the power of listening years ago when I took a communications course.  We learned how to “actively listen.”  That is, ask someone open-ended questions, shut your mouth and listen to and acknowledge their response without jumping in and giving your opinion.

I practiced  “active listening” on my boyfriend at that time. Later, I fell asleep on his couch. I woke up and he was standing over me, staring.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“What are you doing? You’re different, I like it.” He responded.

A few days later, he said,   “Maybe we should get married.”

While we never married, it was a very powerful lesson.  Listen, listen, and listen.

Don’t be like someone I know who, almost every time I see her, doesn’t even say hello but starts telling me all about her problems. I do not think she has ever even said “How are you Sally?”  This is not a judgment, believe me, I have been guilty of dumping my woes on others many times.

Listening is a labor of love. Listen to others and get out of your own head. It’s like taking a vacation from yourself.

MINDFUL LOVE EXERCISE TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY

Sit quietly for five minutes each day.  Review the past twenty-four hours.  Did you listen or were your compelled to talk about yourself?  Over the next two days, pick out one person and practice active listening.

 

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Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others – Jacob M. Braud

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Photo Courtesy Ed Ogle

Accepting people as they are or loving what is

I don’t know a person that doesn’t have some “annoying” habit, do you?  Some of my pet peeves people who talk about themselves constantly and never show interest in others, sarcasm, and chronic tardiness. I am sure you have your own list.

So then, what is unconditional love? It’s about not trying to change people and its not about letting people walk all over you.  When someone has an annoying habit, you have a few choices a) throw a tantrum and try to change them. Well good luck with that, when was the last time you changed a habit just because it annoyed someone else? b) Ignore them and remain annoyed. c) Change your response to the situation.  You guessed it the best answer is c.

 

My friend Mary used to be at least 45 minutes late every time we met.  She is a great person with this annoying habit.  Finally one day, I decided I had enough.  I waited 20 minutes for her and then I left.  This was before cell phones. She called me that evening and asked what happened.  I simply said, “Mary, I waited 20 minutes, I had other things to do so I left.” She was never late again and we are still good friends.  I didn’t try to change her and I didn’t put up with her tardiness, I simply took care of myself.

 

Wednesday and Thursday’s exercise:

Sit quietly for five minutes. Remember to breathe deeply. Identify two habits in someone else that you find annoying.  Look at how you respond to these habits.  What are you thinking?  What is your reaction?  Come up with a totally different response and try it out. Have courage.  Changing our behavior means taking a risk.  Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to gain comfort.

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Photo courtesy Ed Ogle

THE INVITATION

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s

longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream,

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if

you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know

if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of

your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you

can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I

want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and

shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief

and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn’t interest me who you know

or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else

falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

 

Monday and Tuesday’s Exercise:  Sit quietly for five minutes each and meditate on the meaning of this beautiful poem

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In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged. H.H. Dali Lama

 “As well as our close relationships, we all have wider connections with people across the different circles of our lives – at work, in our communities or through our social activities. Although these relationships are less deep, these are also important for happiness and wellbeing.

Having diverse social connections predicts how long we live and even impacts how resistant we are to catching colds! Our broader social networks provide a sense of belonging and influence how safe and secure we feel. Building connections in our local community contributes to our own happiness and that of those around us, enabling our communities to flourish.

Remarkable new research shows that happiness is contagious across social networks. Our happiness depends not only on the happiness of those in our direct social network, but on the happiness of the people they know too. In other words, happiness ripples out through groups of people, like a pebble thrown into a pond.

We can help to build happier communities by doing what we can to boost our own happiness and also being conscious of the impact our behavior on others. Even seemingly, small, incidental interactions, such as a friendly smile or act of kindness can make a difference – to ourselves, the people we interact with and the people they affect too.”1

My mother was a non-religious, PhD, liberal. Her children, long spread all over the world, she craved companionship and her friend, blind Billy, wasn’t cutting mustard anymore.  Then, she discovered The Breakfast Club, an eclectic group of lawyers, waitresses, plumbers, housekeepers, writers, religious, non-religious liberal and conservative locals who met daily at the local coffee shop, Russ’s Breakfast and Lunch. They talked about local issues, tried to save the world, and kept each other company in the Falls and Winters of their lives.  For at least fifteen years, she walked the half-mile pilgrimage to Russ’s.

As her Alzheimers’ progressed, neighbors stepped in, made sure she was eating, taking her medications and getting to the Dr. as needed.  Then, she had to move. The attorney stepped in, helped her sell the house, and took almost no commission. The Breakfast Club made her a memento book with stories and photos and sent it to her new home in Denver.

The Breakfast Club members had one thing in common.  They wanted community to navigate the seasons of their lives.

Saturday and Sunday’s exercise

Sit quietly for five minutes; ignore the cacophony of your mind. Imagine you are a flower, your petals about to bloom wide open and receive the sun. You provide pollen for the bees, compost for the garden and smiles for your audience.

What do you want to attract from and give to the community around you?  Identify one thing you can do to improve your relationships in your neighborhood.

 1 http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/connect-with-people/details

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PEACE OVER POWER
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” 
― Rumi

Work and domestic power struggles are very common. 

I live with an engineer. He wanted the dishwasher loaded just so, efficient and so the water flow would perfectly clean every dish.  I wanted every dish put away in a specific place so it would be easy to find.   I didn’t load the dishwasher the way he wanted and he didn’t put the dishes where I wanted. Doing dishes became a source of conflict and a power struggle.

One day he simply said, “Why don’t I take over loading the dishwasher and you unload it.”  Brilliant.  Our power struggle was, for a while, so strong, we couldn’t see an obvious solution. The kitchen is now a peaceful place.

Drop the rights and wrongs so you open up to see solutions to annoying problems.

Thursday and Friday’s exercise: Sit quietly for five minutes.  Identify an area where you are having a power struggle with someone. Imagine neither one of you is right or wrong.  What does it feel like to be without the concept of right or wrong?  Can you come up with a solution to the situation?

 

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  1. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr. Seuss

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I am writing this on my birthday.  It makes me stop and think about who I am and what life has chiseled into my personality and, if I let people know who I am.

Growing up, frequently, my mother would reply “Oh, it doesn’t matter” or “Oh, I don’t know” when we asked her what she wanted to do or how she felt about something.  I believe she considered herself powerless and that her thoughts and feelings were inconsequential. As a child, I never felt I knew her at all.

No one can love you if you they don’t know who you are.  And, they can’t know who you are until you know who you are. You cannot know or love another if you don’t know who they are.

This all sounds very Dr. Seussy. But of course, he is from my home town, Springfield, MA

Tuesday and Wednesday’s Exercise

Sit quietly for five minutes.  Identify situations where you feel you are untrue to yourself or others around you. Identify situations where you feel you don’t honor others truth.  Determine to change that habit and be yourself and let others be themselves.

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  1. EMPATHY

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 When we practice empathy, we lower our expectations for others and consequently, we become less frustrated. The muscles in our face relax, thoughts of anger and disappointment subtly leave the apartment they are occupying in our brain and we transition to think of nicer things.

I worked as an RN most of my life.  One time, I was transferred up to a new floor.  All the daytime nurses complained about this one RN who worked the night shift. They said she was always in a bad mood, nasty, didn’t get along with any one etc. They wouldn’t engage here in any conversations, ignored her and talked to her only if necessary. When I first met her in the medication room, I panicked.  Would she be mean to me? But then, I said hello and asked how she was. For some reason, this nurse decided to open up to me.  She told me about all these tragic events that recently happened in her life. She was suffering from depression as a result. I listened as she spoke, hopefully  without judgment.  Every time I went back to that floor, she was very nice to me.

Sometimes listening and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is the best way to develop empathy and maybe a new friend.

Here are two great videos on empathy. I guarantee they will both make you smile:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZGghmwUcbQ

 Sunday and Monday’s Exercise

Sit quietly for five minutes. Identify someone who is irritating you. Write down what it would be like to live with their challenges. Do this each of the two days.

 

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