Body Talk

hands

Let my body speak to you

through its texture,

shape,

color,

dimples,

scar,

age,

and hear what it says

in the silence of

the imperfections.

 

Let my body dance

swaying,

trembling,

yelling in movements

the mystery of me

never witnessed before,

challenging you

to let everything go.

 

Let my body be a sponge

taking you in,

draining you out,

and drying your own spirit

by way of mysticism

so divinity can sit

with us together…

forever as one.

Listen

Listen to me

as I understand

isolation,

anxiety,

helplessness,

but let it be known

that it is your mind

not your heart that cripples you

from finding happiness.

 

Listen to me,

if you would let your strength

echo onto the world

it will control all that is not

because we are connected

by a thread of compassion,

love, grace

and truth.

 

Listen to me

and don’t let doubt

dictate who you think you are

but set those echoes

to travel on their own

and be who you really are

which is complete amazement,

divine consciousness of wonder,

and the sum of every life you’ve touched.

 

Listen to me

for all that is said

and unspoken

as time washes over you

because we are footsteps

going forward

never able to go back,

only straight to the heart of love

and all that it will open for you.

 

Listen to me

and I will sit

with all your doubts

and fears

even in silence

I know your trembling heart

and I want you to be free

of the judgment you place of on yourself.

 

Listen to me,

love what you see

and see what you love

and let it take you,

mold you,

make you joyous for this life

while not letting unfairness

make who you are not.

Allow each step you take

move you away from fear

into the arms of Spirit

and the calling of your higher self.

 

I will carry you if you ask.

I will take your burdens from you.

Let your faith pull you towards me —

not push away.

 

I am listening to you…

The voice of sages and wisdom are in you…

You are Oneness.

Voices from Your Heart

My youngest daughter and I were on our way to her school early this morning for her senior trip.  She was excited and waiting on a call from her best friend.  Once she called and they discussed where they would meet she hung up and said, “She sounds so different on the phone.  Why do you think people sound differently when in person versus the telephone?”  I answered that it could be technology.

Once I dropped her off I took the scenic route home through the mountains.  The sun was settling in such a lovely way that a few times I had to stop and take note of it on the side of the road.  I began to think of our conversation.  It is true, people do sound differently on the phone.  I believe it is because we are hearing them rather than being distracted by their physical appearance when in person.  I am not a phone person.  I hate to talk on the phone.  Perhaps it is due to a thousand years of customer service and purchasing jobs.  I get a lot more out of a person when they are in front of me.  I can sense, see and feel the things that aren’t being said.  The phone, to me, is a shell that echoes what you are truly trying to convey.  And, yes, we hear differently.  We are forced to be present (or not, depending on whom you talk to).  When you sit with someone you are engaging in all of them.  You are not just listening to the sound but experiencing the gestures, eye movement and energy.  However, to others the phone is a perfect way of hearing exactly what they need to hear without having to look at the body language or enter the depth of communication.

Speech is the most powerful source of communication.  There are over 7,000 different languages and dialects in the world.  Conversing on the phone has its own form of interpretation.  As we dive deeper into technology we, as a whole society, have lost the art of personal communication.  It is easier to text, email or Facebook another.  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?  The reality is that if we could stop all these noises and return to simplicity we would actually heal from so many of the stressors in our lives.  I was reminded of how things were in the 1980’s.  You had to wait to get home in order to speak with someone. When you were “on the phone” you were actually sitting near the phone jack. We had no cell phones, no computers, and no other distractions.  If there was bad news we waited to get home to discuss it.  Likewise if there was great news that anticipation made it more special when we got together.  Life was simpler.  We were human beings interacting with each other.  We prayed more, or at least it seemed like that, because there was nothing distracting our thoughts immediately.  This is why I love being in nature…it is the simplest form of communication for me.

Communication has such a diversified psychology to it.  We enter therapy and pay a ton of money to be heard.  We read all the books on how to better ourselves.  We all want to be heard.  Whether it is through a phone call or technology, we want to have our stories acknowledged.  But, “Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.  At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~ Vera Nazarian.   And, dear friends, there is nothing more compelling than talking to a live version of you.  Let your voice be heard.  Speech is a murmur from your heart.  Let it take you to the inner places and outer banks of another while touching the truth of what needs to be heard.

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

Listening to Silence

Snow falls,
Fluffy soft powder from the sky
Filling spaces on the ground.
The wind moves,
Running through silence
Everywhere there is earth.
I hear the shift of breath,
The touch of soil,
The splash of serenity.
Water freezes while the flow
Continues without permission.
I listen
Attentively
Waiting for the light
To shine on the shadows
That make God the oneness
Of me,
The land,
And the quietude
Of all that makes us
The Infinite secret of
Harmonious opened
Channelers of life.

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Listening

Sitting in the doctor’s office today waiting on a referral to see a therapist I am reading Mark Nepo’s new book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.  I put it down.  I hate this feeling of vulnerability, the past colliding after a year with the present.  The holidays aren’t helping, and every moment I feel poked, dug into deeply with sadness.  For someone who is usually pretty happy this feels foreign and almost ridiculous in nature.  The melancholy doesn’t happen all the time, just when I least expect it, when I can’t control the emotions as I clean the bathroom, mop the floors, take the trash out.  As I stop and breathe and continue on the paragraph the words stop me again and I begin to listen attentively:

With each small cry, it feels less a release and more like an irrepressible, unfiltered tenderness at being fully here.  The more of these moments I experience, the less a problem it seems.  For isn’t this what I’ve been after: to be this close to life, to be pricked below the surface of things? Now I wonder: isn’t anything that keeps us this close to life a gift? Now I want to learn the art of puncturing whatever grows in the way in order to feel that moment where everything touches everything else.  I’m coming to see that keeping what is true before us reminds us that there was never a better time than now.”

And, just like that the listening becomes too much for the sanitized and sterile room.  I smell the walls of disease, hurt, brokenness.  I feel the energy from the clinic engulf me.  I stop everything inside and begin to write on my phone:

 

I listen to the silence
shortly overpowered by
thoughts. It stops.
The quietude of nothingness
gets distorted. I stop.
I swallow in the memories
that prickle and pain me.
The chaos of it stops me
from continuing
the serene path of joy.
I pause, not erasing it all
or stopping the forces
but allowing the tears
to trickle gently down…and out.
Each one takes a little suffering
and then it all stops.
I can breathe again. It hurts
no more,
no less,
not anything. I am back to me
with a wet smile on my face
and the honoring and gratitude
from my spirit
that this too shall pass

once and forever

when I stop holding

betrayal– even while forgiving;

self-criticism– even with the lessons;

and grant the gift of unconditional love

for me

for once…

for all.

*************************

Just like that I was able to get through the morning.  It is never easy to admit that things need to be discussed, realigned and released with the help of a professional.  I am great at thinking I’ve dealt with the issues and quickly moving on to the next one.  After a year I realized I’ve just camouflaged them with beautiful ornamental masks.  It is good to finally be proactive and hopefully make amends with the holidays and those who tarnished them.  May you find yourself listening attentively to your inner voice and follow it!

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.

Be Present and Listen

The other day someone asked me how I ran the few businesses I had in my other life.  I explained that I wasn’t alone in the companies.  I had a partner.  Even though we worked extremely different due to personality and characteristics, I can say that I prided myself in being available and present to our employees, whereas my partner blew off the handle at any little thing, I chose to mediate.   It wasn’t that I was always in agreement, but I was able to separate my feelings and try to get to a middle ground.

One of the most important things I have learned in the business world is that often times we don’t realize that what we think is important for a company doesn’t necessarily adhere to its employees.  I think that the ability to surrender plans, dreams, goals and expectations is what builds positive relationships in the workplace.  One of the most important ingredients in the workplace (and uniting employees with employers) is choosing a direction that everyone can feel is comfortable for the environment.  It’s important to identify, engage, and internalize cultural diversity along the way.  In every business there is cultural diversity.  I come from a Hispanic community and the majority of my employees were Hispanic.  I went out of my way to make the few who weren’t Hispanic feel comfortable.  It’s all about being consciously present in your company and being humble to learn from other cultures as well.   Here are some tips:

  • Brush up on your social skills
  • Always be present and listen
  • Don’t feel like you have to push-back or defend yourself immediately
  • Be humble and apologize whenever necessary
  • Be positive and resolve issues in a constructive manner
  • Reward efforts which will build stronger relationships
  • Have group incentives
  • Always thank the person for speaking openly to you even if it goes against what you think
  • Stand back and reflect

These points also go a long way in personal relationships.  Being present, listening, and allowing the connection of another soul to bring magic to your space is priceless.  Positive relationships go hand in hand, like a huge hug, with cultural diversity.  Regardless of the issues, a smile, understanding, and humility go a long way for anyone.