Mindful Speaking

One of the sweetest and most powerful gifts of compassion is mindful speech. It must be preceded by mindful listening of course. I find that it also requires that I hear my own thoughts and my own inner voice. How am I speaking to myself? Do I listen to my own pain? Do I speak gently to myself, even when I need to call myself to higher ground? If not, how will I ever give this to another? When someone is talking, am I listening or am I planning what I will say when it is my turn?

We all need to be seen, heard, spoken to, and loved. What we put in, comes out. In other words, what I am seeing, hearing, saying to, and loving in myself will express itself in how I see, hear, speak to, and love others. We’ve heard this all of our lives in one form or another: karma, you reap what you sow, etc. However, have we understood that it begins with what we give to ourselves or have we believed that it is based on what we give others so that they (or someone) will give us what we need?

Tend the inner garden and you will have little work to do “out there” because you will bear ripe, luscious fruit of the soul to share freely and easily with others.

I love this! And most of this at the end I have never said or heard myself (quite like this) before!

Trust Is Not A Gift

I raised my children before computers and cell phones. As they began to venture out with friends, spend nights in other people’s homes, etc., I began setting boundaries, telling them to check in with me, and being sure they had change for pay phones. One of them asked me why I didn’t trust them, after all they were my children!

This is when I began to teach them why the virtue of trust and being trusted is so valuable….because it is earned. It is proven by a history of behaviors that have shown others that they would consistently do what they said they were going to do. Now that they would be making many decisions on their own, they needed to show me that they would consistently keep agreements with me and live up to the expectations those agreements created. I also taught them the agreements must be spoken and agreed upon by everyone involved, i.e. each of them and their father and me.

I remember saying to them “I don’t trust you because you exist. I will trust you because you show me that you can be trusted.” Then I reminded them that they grew to trust me because when I said I would do something, I did it.  Over and over again.

Trust is not a gift. It must be earned.

May each of us find ourselves trust-worthy today. Blessings.

An Old Thought…

This comment  was made by Charles Dickens. Wouldn’t he be stunned by the way we communicate today!    His comment more meaningful now than it was when he made it:

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.

The only thing I would add to his thought is that this is even more true when there is the need to resolve misunderstanding or conflict.  Text message cannot communicate the tone of your voice or the feelings on your face and in your eyes.

Enough said. Blessings of love and light, dear hearts.

What Creates Unity?

M.P. Follet says

Unifty, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated.

Could this be more timely for US citizens? Perhaps we can find leaders who are more interested in bringing our great diversities into a place of balance and peace rather than winning and being the only answer.

I’ve been accused of being a dreamer all my life and this is a dream I intend to keep in my heart in the hopes of seeing us move toward it before my time here is colmplete.

Blessings to all.

Open To Healing

Family relationships can be challenging, to say the least. I have known very few people in my life who have not experienced some level of separation from loved ones, whether it is physical or emotional. There is usually hurt on both sides and even honest attempts at reconciliation can lead to deeper misunderstandings and hurt. It is so difficult to keep an open heart and mind but it is the only way to maintain hope.

I do not have simple answers but I have learned a few things that have brought me some level of mental and emotional peace. First of all, I am only responsible for my own “stuff.” Being honest with myself about my part in any situation allows me to make amends and be available to forgive myself and others. It is not my job to convince others of their mistakes. Demanding that another person see and understand how I have been hurt seldom produces resolution and healing. Going into the past over and over again never brings progress; it usually creates regression.

“The devil is in the details” is an old adage that is proven true in relationship issues. Each person sees a shared experience through their own eyes, their own filters, their own interpretations, and their own woundedness. We bring this into any discussion about what caused the separation or distance. There are times when a good long talk (not argument, talk) will open the doors to understanding and resolution – IF both parties are clear about their own behavior and are willing to make amends – IF both parties can let go of details and listen from their hearts, being willing to forgive and let it go. There are very often times when both parties have to care enough about the relationship to stop talking about it and agree to forgive themselves and each other because they love and value each other. Once this is agreed upon, they can begin to rebuild trust, friendship, love.

There may also be the need to wait for the other person to be ready and available. This is one of the most difficult things to do. I recently heard from a loved one that I had not seen or spoken to in almost 10 years. The separation brought such a deep sadness in me that I never spoke of it to a single person. This past year I felt it most deeply. I did not want to come to the end of my life without this person knowing how much I loved him, and had loved him since the day he was born. In prayer and meditation, I sought guidance about how to reach out even though every effort had been rebuffed in the past. Then one day I received a text….and I responded with a phone call. We spoke quietly and gently and told each other “I love you.” I asked if there was anything we needed to talk about. My precious loved one said “I just want to live in the moment.” I said I wanted the same and I asked if we could begin to slowly rebuild our relationship. He said he would like that and so we began.

No accusations. No demands for detailed acknowledgements. No pouring out of the hurt caused and/or endured. Just two people, humbled over time by life, being willing to admit that love had endured. Just two people quietly staying in the present moment and letting the present moment be enough.

May your mind and heart be open.

What Were You Taught To Fear?

I find snakes and lizards of all kinds and sizes fascinating and, for the most part, beautiful. My daughter-in-law is afraid of snakes. There is a reptile house at our local zoo and I have wanted to take my granddaughter in to see everything. Her sweet mother doesn’t even want to walk by it. Yesterday was my opportunity because my son and I took Hannah to the zoo by ourselves. I was very excited and my daughter-in-law was relieved that she didn’t have to be with us at the reptile house!

Hannah ran from window to window and it took some effort to get her to slow down so I could be sure she was actually seeing the snakes and lizards. She just turned two a few months ago so she had no idea what to look for. One of the small snakes was the color of lime sherbet; it almost looked like it would glow in the dark. She was fascinated. I think her favorites were the large lizards. At one window she said, “Gama your lizard (the one on my fence) is small and this lizard is very big!” What a joy to introduce this sweet being to creatures many people avoid because they are so frightened.

That experience was the highlight of my day. It was a special day at the zoo: field trips from at least 4 different schools. The reptile house was filled with shining faces and small hands pressed against glass to see white, yellow, green, brown, and black snakes. Squeals of excitement rang out as wide eyes came upon Gilda monsters. No fear; only openness to things they had only seen pictures or drawings of before that moment. I am grateful that these children have been given the opportunity to appreciate another living being rather than fear it because someone else does. I am grateful to my daughter-in-law for consciously choosing not to pass her fear on to her daughter.

I am grateful to my parents who taught me to respect that some snakes are poisonous and for taking the time to be sure I knew the difference. When I was little, we were stationed in New Mexico so the knowledge was important. I am grateful to the parents of a classmate in 4th grade whose parents let him have a pet snake. He brought it to school and we all were allowed to hold it, pet it, learn from it and him. I always smile because he carried it in a pillowcase that he could hang from his head and still ride his bike to school!

Life has taught me to fear some things and even some people. I continue to heal those parts of myself that hold unreasonable fear. Fear can be my friend and teacher at times because it alerts to me potential danger so that I can make wise choices. It has taken some practice to learn when to welcome Teacher Fear and when to release and heal fear that hampers my life flow and my ability to embrace life fully. Perhaps another day I will delve more into that process. Today it is enough to recognize that many of our fears are based on how we have been taught to perceive what we are experiencing rather than the truth of who we are and what is happening.

Aum shanti.