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Posts from — September 2008

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What is the thread that leads you safely through the labyrinth of life? Once you know where you are in the great scheme of things (see previous post “You Are Here”), what is the path you follow?

Is it a set of philosophical or spiritual beliefs and practices? A path you’ve carved out for yourself or one given to you by a teacher?

As the saying goes, [Read more →]

September 19, 2008   1 Comment

You Are Here

What are your most basic questions? My first question has always been “What’s going on here?” Then “What’s really going on here?” Sometimes not easy questions to answer, but important to whatever comes next.

Don’t you love the maps found in large shopping malls or office complexes? The first thing you see is the circle with the X inside it saying “You are here.”

“Oh,” you say, “This is where I am, so now I know which direction to turn to get to where I want to be.”

Without the knowledge of where you are, you can’t know how close or far away you are from your destination. Just so, it’s important to know where you are in the great scheme of things in life. This question presupposes that you know something about the big picture and something about your destination (destiny).

And within these questions: “Who am I?”

My mother always told me, “Just be yourself, and you’ll be fine.” But who is that self? And how do you find out? [Read more →]

September 10, 2008   4 Comments

Listen

“Only connect,” wrote E. M. Forster. How to be connected in a world that seems to be pushing all of us toward disconnection with stress, information overload, long work hours, and the breakdown of community social structures that no longer function? In the past, most new acquaintances would be introduced by a friend or close connection so that you knew something about that person and his or her background.

Connection makes life rich. To have happy and nurturing connections is to live a life of joy and fulfillment. Easily said, but sometimes difficult to do. One of the best ways to connect with someone is to listen. Listen with all the resources at your disposal.

That means not interrupting. Paying good attention (not reading the newspaper or playing video games), giving eye contact and “squaring off,” facing another person directly, not looking over your shoulder. You might want to draw the other person out by asking “Is there more?” or “Can you tell me more about that?”

When Frank and I met 16 years ago, one of the first and most important things I noticed about him was how intently and acceptingly he listened to me with his whole being. He mirrored my feelings on his face and provided a comfortable “container” for me to open up and be myself. It was a wonderful, comfortable feeling.

When someone is angry with you, good listening alone can often restore the peace. Just hear the person out. Let them express their feelings freely. Wait. Let the anger dissipate. Only then do you say what you want to say. Give them several chances to get the anger out until it’s exhausted.

And the same with someone who is upset or anxious. Listening is a healing balm. Often that’s the main thing someone wants from you. A good listening.

I grew up with an extended family who all listened to me, and I am privileged to be able to listen to my sister, Charla, as she inspires me by walking courageously and confidently through her cancer testing [Read more →]

September 9, 2008   3 Comments

And In A Moment, Everything Changes

The phone rings. It’s my sister, Charla, with news from her mammogram and other tests. Cancer.

Suddenly nothing is the same.

A new life story for us both as we walk this new path. I want to be with her (at least in spirit) and support her as much as possible. How can I be most helpful? What can I do? I can’t do what I most want to do: [Read more →]

September 1, 2008   No Comments