Do You REALLY LISTEN?

As the title of John Gray’s book says,

“Men are from Mars,

Women are from Venus.”

Men want to solve problems.

Women want to be heard, share emotions.

Listening might be the answer for both.

Steinfeld, another sage,

told a joke

about listening.

When asked whether

his wife

ever

said

“You don’t listen”

he replied,

“I’ve never heard her say that!”

As I laughed,

a lightbulb went off

in my head.

After decades of marriage,

my husband will often say

what I just said.

This is not from many years

of marriage and the comment

that people finish each other’s sentences.

My insight

is that

sometimes

he is listening inside his head to his own thoughts

and doesn’t actually HEAR

what I am saying.

It is his inner dialogue,

not a conversation.

I am not

pointing the finger at him

but the reality

about listening in general.

Studies have shown

that

only 7% of what we say

is understood

in the way

we intend it.

It is a wonder

that

we understand each other

at all.

Men and women,

children and parents,

people who work together,

any human interaction.

What I am learning

is

to test the meaning,

what is being understood.

We may think

we know what we mean

and are conveying that.

We may not be heard

or we may not listen

or

the way in which

it is said or written,

is not the intention and meaning.

CLARIFY!

Too Much in Your Pack?

Are you carrying a lot on your shoulders?

Assume a quiet state of mind.

Visualize.

Think of a pack on your back.

What is in the pack?

What is making it too heavy to carry?

See yourself

removing the weight from the pack.

How does it feel now?

Do you need to remove more weights from your pack

so that you can carry it?

How do you feel now?

Sometimes we don’t know

how much we are carrying

until we lighten the load.

LivingLines p. 235

More Than a Cliche?

Spiritual but not religious.

What does that mean

to you

or to others?

Pew Research Center

polls

these trends.

Their findings

show

the number of people

unaffiliated

with any religious body

is continuing

to grow

at a rapid pace.

The number is

about one-fifth

of the U.S. public

and

one-third

of adults under thirty.

However,

two-thirds

of this

unaffiliated group

say they

believe in God.

Churches and places

of worship

are being sold

and re-purposed.

One denomination

buys and forms

a  new congregation,

a community

with another way

for worship.

Empty churches

can be

discouraging.

Some people and families

are coming together in

different places,

some in homes

where

as the Bible

says,

“Wherever there are more

than two people gathered,

there am I

in their midst.”

Spiritual but not religious.

Is that how you feel?

Are you seeking

others

to create

new rituals

which express

and become

community

for you?

Servant Leader

Gearing up

for the 2016 presidential election

is already discouraging.

In 1970

Robert Greenleaf

wrote

The Servant as Leader.

A servant-leader

focuses primarily

on the growth and well-being

of people and the communities

to which they

belong.

The servant-leader

shares power,

puts the needs

of others first

and helps people

develop and perform

as highly as possible.

Caring for persons,

the more able

and the less able

serving each other,

is the rock

upon which a good society

is built.

Could those running and staking out their reasons for running for president, read Robert Greenleaf’s The Servant as Leader and The Institution as Servant.?It is an important time to shift into real purpose and away for dialing for dollars as the culture of the 2016 race.

Foundations

7.9

The earth convulses

Ancient temples

 modern buildings

not built to withstand the fury

Crumble.

Brick by stone

disintegrate

beyond imagination.

Mt. Everest

the world’s tallest mountain

rumbles

releasing avalanches.

Chaos

confusion

who is

buried?

The next day

Sitting at Evensong

in the beautiful seven decades old monastery

Near home,

I remember when the building was closed

for two years to clean and refurbish

Empty of chants and monks,

the first discovery

the foundation, the concrete floor

Built over peat, once riverbed earth

Breaking through

Roots, trunk size

Eight oak trees

Unseen, unknown.

The foundation compromised,

Leaking,

Poised to break through.

Just in time

A new foundation

Dug deep

Roots cut out

Trees cut down.

Everywhere we trust

buildings, the ground under our feet,

mountains

to be a foundation

To live.

Thoughts of my inner foundation

Become a litany.

How strong my inner foundation?

How can I

Strengthen

my own boards, bricks, stones,

My scaffolding?

My resilience?

To roll on the rollers that some buildings are

Built on

Where earthquakes Might come.

My inner core

Can I depend on

My stability,

Ability

To withstand the shakes and tumbles

Of life?

To be strong, not rigid

Flexible.

Roll with life

As it comes.

Listening- A Great Gift

Just the title

Someone To Tell It To

invites an opportunity to be heard,

to be listened to.

With the speed and brevity

of the internet,

social media,

and popular forms of communication,

there is

no substitute

for truly

listening ears

and an open,

non-judging heart.

The process of offering safety

to a person,

whatever they need

to say and share,

is the greatest gift

and can help a person

to heal,

no matter

how deep

the woundedness

he or she feels.

Ordained ministers

Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden,

came together

to use their experience and skills

and offer what

so many crave,

sometimes

without even knowing,

what is making

life challenging,

even unbearable.

We live in a society

with too much information,

24 hour news cycle,

accessibility to

communicate

in letters

that don’t even fully

spell the word.

How can someone

be truly

heard and understood?

Michael and Tom share in their book

how they meet

someone

wherever they are

in their life’s journey.

Actually meeting with someone

in a non-threatening place,

not for counseling in an office,

but wherever the person

feels comfortable,

can help

open the person to the

possibility of saying

what they need to share,

finding that being heard

in a non-judgmental way,

their burdens are lifted,

a perspective formed

and body and soul

easing into breathing

in their life force

on the way to healing,

whatever it is.

Parallel Lines

Watching

the Boston Marathon

from a warm and dry

vantage point,

the runners,

wheelchair competitors

are the focus.

Reaching the one hour mark,

then the two hour mark,

the white street lines

catch my attention.

This is the second

Boston Marathon

since the horrific day

when

two brothers

placed

pressure cooker bombs

near the finish line.

Shock, chaos, blood

drastically changed the

color of the day.

Loss

of lives,

limbs

safety

punctured the crowd.

Days later

in the dark

shots rang out a mile

from home

as the brothers

in a car,

took a hostage,

killed again

and tried to disappear.

The older brother died.

The younger drove over his brother

and headed to the next town.

For fourteen hours,

one million people

were in

lock-down.

We could not leave our homes.

Helicopters overhead,

sirens blaring,

the younger

was found in

a covered boat,

in someone’s backyard.

Tomorrow

begins the second part

of the trial.

Death penalty

or life in prison?

An eye for an eye,

a primal

human dilemma.

Individuals,

Families deeply affected by

death and loss.

Ask

for

life

in prison.

Will the wounds heal

with grace

with this

sentence?

Parallel

Lines

What will the jury

decide?

Bittersweet

Sometimes

we are

aware

that

life is

bittersweet.

Even

when we smile,

there can be

a river of

sadness

flowing

through us.

Our smile

is not

a band-aid.

It is

an authentic

feeling.

Putting on

a happy face

isn’t

being

false

or phony

or denying the

sadness

we feel.

Neuroscientists

tell us

that a smile

can change

our body chemistry.

When I

get into bed

I fluff

my pillows

just right,

straighten my spine.

Then I smile.

Sometimes I

have to dig a bit

to find

something

in the day

that I am grateful for.

Smiling

as I close

my eyes,

I think I rest

better

and sleep

renews me

for the next day.

The Golden Rule

A local church

has a sign,

“Come if you are spiritual

but not religious.”

In conversation,

in polls taken,

many people define themselves

as spiritual but not religious.

Perhaps this is a trend,

but for each person

there may be individual explanations

or definitions

what that means.

At a time when

world news bring

daily reports

of religious conflicts,

disagreements,

horrendous violence,

what does religion mean?

Christians, Jews,

Muslims.

Each religion

seems to have

conservative,

traditional, liberal and many variations and

definitions within each.

During hundreds of years of history,

religions have been the

source of conflict.

At other times,

the values of religious spirituality

have helped people live

in peace.

Conflicts, killings, destruction

make news.

Will the human race find

the qualities which

help people

live and work together?

Every human being

can

treat each other person

as

they

want

to be

treated.

The Golden Rule

is a

good place to begin.

Peace.

Love.