Truly Listen to Another

listen

For the major part of my adult life I have rarely heard when someone has told me who they are.  If you really listen to a stranger, a new person in your life, the beginning of a romantic relationship, you will find that they DO tell you who they are…for the most part (some folks are mentally ill and cannot decipher personality traits from their disorder).  Sometimes it isn’t verbal but through events and actions that leave you flabbergasted with questioning, “WTF?”  The fixer in me was always trying to take them by the hand and shake all those negative ideas of themselves.  I wanted to show them what I was seeing.  I wanted them to live to their highest potential of what I THOUGHT was correct.  This is complete and utter b.s. and arrogance.

A few years ago I dated a wonderful man, very briefly, for a few weeks.  On our first hike he kept stopping as we were trekking up this steep mountain terrain and laying down everything that was him.  He basically gave me a rundown of the things that were acceptable, who he was, what he would put up with, and so many other small fragments of his personality.  When we reached the summit I was truly exhausted but so relieved.  He showed me that hour the person he was and I truly listened.  I am so glad I did, because a few days later, in my need to bring out the best in another to my convenience, he stopped me again and reminded me how he laid it all on the line.  He was right.  He was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had in a relationship.  And, although our time together was brief, it was a powerful lesson in listening to another when they tell you who they are.  They know themselves better than anyone.

This relationship taught me about the art of setting boundaries and not getting lost in another person.   It allowed me to step back and watch the past pattern of behavior in wanting to bring another human being into my life to fit perfectly.  In my oblivious state of mind, which is a trait I cannot change, I saw the beauty and perfection of him.  But, relationships take time to evolve, and he fought me from the beginning.  He wasn’t going to change in his early fifties.  He was and is the best version of himself.  Together we would have been the ultimate disaster.  And…knowing this from early on saved us both a lot of grief.

I am aware that people have a diverse multitude of personalities.  They will show different sides to their convenience.  Some people cannot reach the emotional state early on, or ever. I understand that it takes time to learn the truth in another.  Hopefully they know their truth because some folks are just clueless!  This beautiful person showed me to look at myself and be honest with another from the very beginning.  I have taken it upon myself to do just that.  What you see is what you get.  There’s no hidden agenda.  I learned to be upfront in future relationships.  I learned to share my abilities, faults, flaws, and the things I will not tolerate.

Listening with my head rather than my heart, for a little while, allowed me to detach the desire to have a man in my life and see who he really was from the beginning.  I loved that about him.  And, throughout the years in our friendship we have always been to the point with one another.  It’s beautiful to be among a person who knows his truth.

Do yourself a favor and never ignore the words and actions from another when beginning any kind of relationship or friendship.  When someone tells you who they are listen with your mind and an open heart.  Divine guidance is there in those moments that speak truth.  And…always be honest with your feelings.  If it doesn’t feel right…drop it quickly.  You come first and foremost.  Have a blessed day.

An Evening with Oneness

oneness

A friend invited me to attend a gathering at her place to meet the incredibly gifted writer, Rasha who wrote Oneness. I came across the book over two years ago while walking the aisles of Barnes & Noble. Searching for spiritual answers that summer, I browsed through the metaphysical area when Oneness fell off the shelves onto my feet. The Divine always works in specific ways with me and books, sending me messages from beyond.  This book has become a metaphysical bible of sorts which I return time and time again for answers.  Each time I re-read a passage something new shifts.  It is an experience to immerse in such language full of truth and wisdom.
I was delighted to be able to be in this beautiful woman’s presence. When she arrived, wearing all white, vowing her head into her palms together while whispering, “Namaste…” I felt a pull from Source. I cannot describe this in a terms that won’t sound hippie or woo-woo. I saw her energy enter with authentic truth…and love. It’s rare! It’s extremely rare to see this so clearly in strangers, especially those who label themselves as enlightened, awakened, or whatever they are selling through the process of society and materialism. This wasn’t the case. Rasha sat with a humble smile and we began to discuss her books and the journey her life took after writing Oneness. Her humanness allowed me to put my guard down.  A very shy woman who speaks in a low tone I began to feel uncomfortable. Not many people know that as of the beginning of this year I began to lose my hearing in my right ear. As of this summer I cannot hear at all. Now, this presence sat across from me, speaking ever so slowly and in a whispering tone that I felt the rush of anxiety for not being able to hear her properly.  What would I miss?  What message won’t I catch while reading her soft lips?

I asked her a question and became aware of forcing my body to be on alert to hear from my other ear while making sure I am reading facial expressions. But, something happened as she answered this important question. She stared into my eyes and my right ear popped. A sharp sound took over for a second. Then I heard everything as clearly as I have not in over nine months. It was so crisp that my eyes watered as her message truly became the foundation of truth for all that I needed to hear. I heard!  I sat there with a message of empowerment.

I did not share my hearing loss. I did not share every imaginable thought I had after that moment in the shock of sound entering this space in me. I was elated and surprised and grateful. I heard! I listened to her story and how these messages from divine wisdom are not hers but utilize Rasha (the woman) as a vessel to pass it on to others. Mesmerized by what I needed to hear, I was moved to a place of oneness and the power of healing.

“I know this”…I kept thinking. “How have I allowed for this loss of sound to go on for so long?” I know when it began. I understand the blanking out of noises that become toxic in our lives. I get the avoidance. I completely get the holistic lesson in this dizzy imbalance body that can’t find grounding because of not hearing from one ear. But, there in a place of safety and wholeness, I was able to hear The Great Mysteries of Divinity speak through this soul.  There I was whole and alive and able to comprehend even the softest and quietest of words.

The powerful thing about her books, especially Oneness, is that you have to be ready to embark in the journey. It will open you up to some major shifts. I read it six months before my near-death experience. This summer I read her other book, The Calling. Each one of her books is mystically encoded with a high vibration and frequency to push you into opening to your higher consciousness. Being in her presence I felt that message of an expanded awareness and acceptance. She is elevated and even in her human state there is definitely something of great mindfulness. She is the embodiment of all she writes. She expresses the Oneness of all we are and what we are to Source.

I have been in the presence of many who call themselves gurus, spiritual teachers, healers, facilitators, empaths and intuitives. This woman needs no label. She is living the life of humility and humbleness on a mountain in the south of India.  Her story is me, you and them.  There is no separating the body from the spirit…she has allowed herself to be of service through words.  If only!  If only we were brave enough to follow such a difficult path in a world that judges, scrutinizes and discriminates.  I applaud this soul.

I was flying high as I left downtown Asheville. I could hear all. I heard the folks talking outside the restaurant. I heard the sirens in the distance. I heard my breathing. I heard sounds that I have blocked while utilizing only one ear. I got in the car and turned on Sarah Brightman on my ipod while following the moon over the mountains until another pop took a hold of my ear and bang! All hearing was lost again. I shook my head, stuck my finger in the ear, tried to unblock it but it was too late. I covered my left ear and I couldn’t hear the music. But…but it is better than okay because something in me remembered the reason I have not been hearing until there is something of importance to remember again.

Staying in the oneness of life and truth is not easy. My few hours with Rasha did allow me to vibrate at a higher frequency. I felt a charge. I felt a surge go through me and my heart expand to all there is with love as she spoke ever so softly while pausing and inviting every sense of our presence into her world. I am grateful to my friend for the opportunity to witness this mirror image of pure love and light. I will be picking up Oneness again and re-reading it. It’s time for another journey into the great mysteries of this earth.

Listening with Heart

listening

Words often get lost when spoken. I don’t mean in translation. What I mean is that they lose their power, bravery, essence when the other person is not listening. We hear. We hear everything around us through all the other senses. Lately the universe is teaching me to listen sacredly. I’m being forced to stop hearing and really listen attentively to things that the other senses do not capture. It is like walking blindly into a thick forest with only my hearing to guide me.
What does it require to listen? When do we become completely and mentally aware of our attention to the voices of the universe? When and how do we realize the silence of the Divine? Listening requires accountability of presence. It pushes and forces us to stop the chit-chat in ourselves and be with another.
I am guilty of jumping into another person’s explanation when they aren’t speaking the things I do not want to hear. It is horrible. It is rude! This happens when I feel criticism, or rejection about to take place. I stop listening and I just hear. As John Wayne said, “You’re short on ears and long on mouth.” I become just that. But, to listen wholeheartedly requires a sense of complete abandonment from ego. In order to listen there must be no fear of projection, rejection, and subjection. Whenever a friend comes to me with a personal matter I somehow know to remove my “hearing” ears and put on my “listening” ones without any reservation. So, I know that listening is an act that is available all the time if I was to practice it even when it is about me. We all want to understand and be understood by another. In really listening, this need is met. It is a gift.
When I go to Starbucks alone, I sit with my coffee and listen to the conversations around me. I listen with all of me, like some storyteller eavesdropping for ideas. In this voyeurism I hear more than what is said. I see the gestures, body language, lack of words, excessive run-on sentences, etc. I can hear the truth, the lies, made up stories in order to impress, the sadness, excitement, and joy of life. I listen to one soul moving into the space of another in however they know how to relate. In those moments listening is all I do and it is easy because it has nothing to do with me. It is beautiful, magical, and delightful!
I am learning. I am being a diligent student. I still make mistakes. I often forget to be completely in a conversation, in the moment, and move through every syllable, word, sentence and thought. I am consciously becoming aware of my listening skills. In quietude I listen to the space in between outside noise and my inward voice. I am paying attention to the Divine through mystical signs. I am more engaging with my loved ones, whether it is a conversation that I understand or one that leaves me breathless with excitement. Listening requires the deepest of all presence. It embraces the what-is and what- is-not of you. I am listening through my heart more than ever. With each beat I take in a letter and it makes me come alive. “The word listen has the same letters as silent.” That should tell us something about its importance!
“Inner guidance is heard like soft music in the night by those who have learned to listen.” ~ Vernon Howard

Lack of Interactions

 

On December 22 of this past year a beautiful long hair Calico cat showed up at our door. She was very thin. Even though we had decided that we would have no more pets, especially cats since I am allergic, this fury creature changed the entire idea. My daughter fed her and she kept coming back. The cold winter air forced me to bring her indoors, “for just one night and then she needs to go!” I was not going to have a litter box or any smell of a cat in my house. No, no, no. Just one night and that’s it! Needless to say, you know where the story ends. The cat now has two names and neither is her official “real” name. She has become the mascot of Peaceful Quest Retreats.

The thing about cats is that they don’t listen. They look at you when you are speaking to them in annoyance. As friendly as Mystic or Fluffy (depending on who is calling her) is she still has the demeanor of most people nowadays. The look in her eyes says, “I hear the words that are yapping out of your mouth but I can’t be bothered right now while I am trying to take a nap or in the middle of my bath.”

Listening is so important. We all talk, talk, gab, blah, blah…but, how many of us actually sit and truly listen? There’s a difference between hearing and listening. The cat hears but she has no interest in listening. I am finding fewer and less people in my life who actually listen. I’m usually shocked when someone repeats words that I’ve said back to me. No wonder we pay therapists to be heard. At least for one hour we get acknowledged for our existence.

I have a friend whom I’ve known for over 25 years. He’s a man of few words and whenever we talk I enjoy listening to him. He is one of the few people I’ve ever met who can listen and be present in the conversation. Sometimes he will remind me of something I said years ago and I am always surprised at the details because they are about insignificant things. You know, like how I like my B.L.T. or what my favorite smell is after the rain, or what my favorite show was in the 90’s. Just useless information! And, if he can listen to my useless information then I know he listens to the important stuff as well. I am often cautious of things I will say because they are banked in his memory and when I least expect it they will be returned back to me.

I am present when someone is talking. I do have days that I am hearing and not retrieving the information, but it is rare. I want to be heard, comprehended, and acknowledge in the presence of another. I am not a cat and don’t expect the person who I am conversing with to be one either. My best friend, Bobbie, and I sit for hours just talking. It is a gift to share and be heard from the most insignificant thing to life changing events. There’s nothing more beautiful than being seen and acknowledge for our existence. I know this is rare and I don’t take it for granted.

With the advancement in technology people are becoming less and less connected to each other unless they are emailing, texting, twittering, FaceBooking, or whatever else is out there that requires no eye contact. Listening is becoming an ancient art. I suspect that one day we will be like my cat, giving a blank and annoying stare of interruption. I watch this behavior with the younger generations and can’t believe that they just don’t interact the way we did when we were teenagers. Are we really this disconnected from each other that we cannot hold a conversation with anyone around us? What happened to us, as a whole in society that we can’t consciously look at someone and speak with them? We are constantly being bombarded by the external parts of technology. Are we really governed by the rush of being constantly charged by cell phones, emails, computers, IPOD’s and any gadget that is supposed to make our lives easier, when in reality they handicap our social skills? Life was simpler twenty years ago. We were human beings interacting with each other. When we sat to talk there was a presence to the visit. We listened attentively, to gossip, stories, and useless information. It didn’t matter what it was, we were sitting with each other listening.

I pray that society changes its course. The path I am observing seems so detached and disconnected. The simple things in life as interconnecting, sharing and “shooting the breeze” with each other will soon be historical. Our children’s children will watch movies about this and will never understand what joy there is in looking at another human being while listening. Society will become more like cats, minding their own business, and only paying attention when they feel like it, otherwise use technology to relate the simplest message. The beauty of human interaction will probably be a study for social anthropologists.