seeing goodness -- deep listening

Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat and a disinclination to talk. By the end of the day I had a killer headache. So while there were plenty of people to talk to over the course of the day it felt uncomfortable to open my mouth and my energy was low.

Once I realized this I knew my practice for the day would be seeing goodness. Sometimes in the beginning of the conversation, sometimes like a light being turned on in the middle of one, I paused and pictured the other person as a whole complete being walking their path. All the answers within them that they would ever need.

When I remembered to see others like this I felt relaxed. I dropped an artificial sense of responsibility. I did not need to tell them something, I could just remember their goodness. The side effect was that I liked people much more, even in the casual encounters in the office.

seeing innocence -- deep listening

I spent most of the day Monday working alone and at first I was at a loss as to how to practice listening on my own.

By lunchtime I noticed my large volume of internal chatter so I started listening to myself. I was judgmental and self-critical about how the past weekend had gone. It was loud. Most of the chatter was a critique of my failures over the weekend.

Once I heard what was happening I was able to turn my attention to remembering. I remembered I am doing the best that I can at any given moment and that all humans act unskillfully at times. It changed nothing to verbally beat myself up for being human. I didn't have to add harm to myself on top of my unskillful behavior. I could extend caring towards myself as I listened.

With this in my awareness there was a sense of relief and release. The rest of the day was much quieter and peaceful. Thankfully.

wonder-deep listening

As I practiced my deep listening on Sunday the quality of wonder moved forward.

I was in several gatherings with very talkative people. Sometimes when that happens I find myself responding by talking a lot as well.

This time I listened and when possible responses came up I brought my attention back to the speaker until the end of the sentence or story. If my response or question was still something I wanted to say at that time I did so. I felt free to not chatter in return.

Something about waiting to speak about things I was really wondering about made the conversation more spacious. I felt more relaxed afterwards as well. It seemed to bypass the conversation headache that I sometimes get after that type of gathering.

It's a tiny practice but interesting stuff is popping up.

awareness-deep listening

Meetings and family doings today gave me plenty of opportunities to listen to others and the quality that came forward was Awareness.

As I listened to many people relate stories and information I gently returned my awareness to what they were saying when it wandered off.

Where did wander? Sometimes I found myself lost in thought about what I should say when my turn came. Sometimes I was arranging my remarks in my head, trying to remember details I wanted to communicate. Each time I noticed, I let my inner dialogue fade and focused on what the other person was saying.

After the meeting I felt I had really absorbed what people were saying. Also I noticed when my time came for speaking I spoke with ease and clarity. There was comfort.

Later when I spent time with my family it was difficult to keep my focus. It was dinner time and I was hungry. I found it challenging to keep my attention on the speaker when my mind was trying to plan out dinner. Apparently my empty tummy is pretty loud.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and dinner was delicious.

Starting a week of deep listening

I have been pondering and playing with the practice of deep listening most of January. At times I find just the thought of deep listening scary, and my meanies voice their fears loudly. They are sure I will either do it wrong or lose myself [never to be found]

My inner meanies are certainly drama queens at times.

But it has also been, well kind of cool. I enjoy it a lot. Much like starting a metta practice, I'll keep my focus on loving or neutral conversations. I won't be playing with the most challenging discussions first.

So here goes, I am announcing my intention to have a deep listening play dates all week. Each day I hope to play with the practice and then focus on one of the seven aspects here in the blog.

For those who may want to play along here are the seven aspects:

Seeing Innocence
Seeing Goodness

I love trees

I love being near trees, leaning on them, listening to them drip. Being surrounded. Even when caterpillars drop down, still I feel deep tree love.

They are great models for deep listening.

I love paintings and photos of trees as well. There is a treehouse inside each one.


Baby #5 is born

Today I got the best news. A new baby in the family was born in the most joyful, ease-filled way at noon.

Babies! So sweet and tiny and amazingly loud. The only downside is that this one lives too far away for me to be able to rush over and hug it right now. That part leaves me feeling a bit sad. It won't be brand new by the time I see it. sigh

I also finished some knitting for a different baby and spent all day petting it, the sweater, as baby has not yet appeared. Babies!

These past 3 years have been wonderfully baby-filled. Here's hoping something wonderful drops into your life.

Resolution 2012

I do have a resolution for this year.

Although challenging, I feel that it will decrease my overall stress levels. I believe it will help keep me sane, contribute to a general feeling of well being and promote a peaceful night's sleep. It may be challenging but it is doable and I feel it is worthwhile.

It may even make my hair more luxurious and glossy.

I resolve I will not watch any political commercials in 2012.

Anyone want to join me?

Five years ago today

Five years ago today I woke up and I was engaged to be married. Shortly afterwards I started this blog. I appreciated the double meaning of 'engaged' in my life at that time.

I look back over the past five years with a smile on my face, they have been good, changeful years and I am so happy that I do not have to plan another wedding any time soon. [unless it's that magic third one]

Today I read of the death of Jamesetta Hawkins, who most people know as Etta James. Bless her heart. Our first wedding song was At Last, chosen in part because of how wonderful Etta James sounds when she sings it. Our singer that night did a fabulous job with it, she too has an earthy powerful voice.

It always made me giggle a bit when we did something typical almost iconic for our wedding and this was no exception. It's a very happy memory. I am grateful for that.

Adventure report

I spent the long weekend with family in Virginia Beach. I visited the ocean daily and listened for hours. I cared not how cold it was on the shore

I took my god-daughter out and said "Let's go have an adventure" and we did. It involved huge bridges, underwater tunnels, many, many birds, lights, coloring and the ocean.

I woke up every morning to a three year beaming at me and asking "Did you sleep well?"

The disappearance of all my knitting tools meant that I could buy this and not feel guilty. Mine is hot pink and I have wonderful plans to enhance it to a color more to my liking.

No one will be surpassed to hear that shortly after I bought the above - This came back to me! Much knitting followed. My orange bag is being reticent about its adventures but I respect that. So happy it is back.

There were robins everywhere, flocks of robins. Trees full of robins. It was amazing. I am guessing VA Beach is on their migration path and that is why there were hundreds all together. It was surreal, like a robin dream. Their twittering en masse was delightful.

I am amazed at how much adventure was packed into 4 days and as soon as I recover a bit I will be ready for more active adventure seeking.

Wishing you all many happy adventures along with cozy time.

The question-What to do with old yarn?

An answer.

I have a few old balls of acrylic that would love to become art on some grey building. Something to ponder as I continue to enjoy spring-like weather. [and finish a baby sweater]

Next question -What was this week?
Answer-No idea, it felt quite odd.

Random thoughts:

I am still full of snow from last year's abundance. My new snowshoes are languishing as I smile at the green-tan yards outside. The ponds are watery stripes of grey.

Great meditation group last night at the common ground.

After months of desire my office is cleaned up. It only took 2 afternoons. I am trying to notice why it was so stuck for so long and why it suddenly shifted. I see nothing. I am forced to assume magic.

Tonight I am going out to see a new show at the Walker. "Brazen theatrical inventiveness" sounds exhilarating. Ok time to stop trying to write. When exhilarating looks weird I know my brain is shot. I actually had to look it up, I couldn't trust spell check.

Happy weekend all!

Can't Decide

There are things I want to blog about but another headache is making writing less than fun tonight.

So I went and pressed this. It gives me a smile and pause if nothing else.

But I wonder if some people would find it really irritating? Probably.
Does it depend were you are at in your life?

Other opinions? Trite? Bossy? Profound? True? Boring?

Happy 2012 to all!