Monthly Archives: September 2011

Are You Listening?

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um-092711-emailI was speaking at an annual retreat event, and over the course of 3 days in a beautiful lakeside setting we had conversations that turned inward to reflect on the nature of beliefs.

On the last day one of the participants, a lean lady of many years with a lived in and delicate face said, “I hope I didn’t offend you with questions I asked on the first night.”

I responded easily. “I don’t get offended,” I said, “I can listen to anything.”

In fact I’m interested. In my early days, I thought it was more important to be heard. But at some point, I realized that being heard is really being listened to. In order to create the space for “listening” you may have to cultivate a state of standing still so you can listen first:

With a spacious mind, an open heart, a flexible body, and a generous spirit.

Creating Space

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um-092011-emailMake this week a noticing practice to create spacious thinking and living.



This is how it works:

  1. Focus on your breath. Take each breath consciously. Just a simple inhalation that creates room in your mind, and isn’t already filled up with what you need to do.
  2. Create space with every exhalation. Consciously focus on the exhalation of your breath and let go of any concern about what needs to be done.
  3. When thoughts go through your mind, just notice and say thank you, or identify the thought as pleasant, or painful, or memory. Identifying the thought that’s going through your mind allows you to notice that you are thinking the thought. You have the thought; it doesn’t have you.
  4. When good ideas go through your mind, don’t worry about writing them down. The really good ideas, you’ll breathe life into. These are the ideas that you’re excited about and will do so you don’t need to “remember” them.

What Makes You Tick

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um-091311-emailEveryone runs on his or her own clock.

Some people thrive in the morning and others are night owls. Some wouldn’t miss breakfast, and others just say, ugh! Some head out the door to run, hike, walk, hit the gym or do yoga. And some hit their smart phone or computer. And then there are those who just hit the snooze button.

Whatever your favorite way of being, do you have anyone in your life—friends, spouse, lover who say to you, “Come on, just do X, it will be good for you, you’ll love it.”

Fill in the X with anything from trying different foods, ways of exercising, volunteering for projects, to attending spiritual gatherings.

And then the unavoidable moment comes. Instead of even being a tiny bit interested, you’re moaning and groaning, going along, resisting, or wondering why they just don’t get what makes you tick!

So Many Decisions

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um-090611-emailBe careful what you decide, you get everything that goes along with it.

How many decisions do you make each day? You’d be surprised at the number.

Research tells us that we make 100’s of decisions each day just about food!

In the first few minutes of the day I made decisions about:

  • Getting out of bed (I did sleep in as planned)
  • Brushing my teeth
  • Having a cup of coffee
  • Making a list of people I had to call
  • Writing
  • Changing out of my pajamas
  • Exercising (or not)
  • Reviewing reports
  • Eating Breakfast (or not)
  • Reading my email (or wait knowing that once I start I’m deciding to go through them, and make all the decisions necessary to respond)

That was the first few minutes of a non-working day with no meetings or conference calls. A day to relax, write, and catch-up. All those decisions (relax, write, catch-up) were made in advance of the day!