Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘empathic listening’

Emotions Run High During The Holidays!

The Thanksgiving holiday is nearly upon us. This is a time to be thankful for not only what we have but how far we have come. This life journey is tough – not for the faint of heart. Yet, we have made it thus far and have lived to tell the tale! We may see our life unfolding and marvel at the events and people that just seem to be at the perfect place and the perfect time to assist us on our path. When we feel empowered we can face any obstacle or challenge and keep it in perspective. If something isn’t happening now as we wanted it to we seem to have a deep knowing that there is a reason and that bigger doors of opportunity will be opening for us shortly. This feeling of confidence helps us face today with enthusiasm and we even manage a smile when thinking about tomorrow – knowing that it will be a terrific ride! We know that everything is as it should be and we confidently enjoy the banquet of life that is spread out before us. We celebrate today and look forward to the opportunities of tomorrow.

Not everyone may be in this mindset, however. It’s important to remember that as the holidays roll around they can elicit both happiness and at times even a bit of sadness – if not for yourself at least for others. The holidays intensify our feelings and often have a way of causing us to remember times in our life that seemed to have been perfect – at least in our memories. It is normal to have a mixed bag of emotions running through our minds like the constant rerun of a movie. The amount of time we allow ourselves to be in a place of sadness is the thing to be aware of and prepared to do something about.

We have come along way on our journeys and still have a long way to go. For those that feel their present burdens are just too great to carry, think again. You can overcome anything with time and the understanding that ‘this too shall pass’ because it will. Reaching out to someone often helps with this feeling of holiday sadness. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or even a professional may be just what is needed. Be strong enough to seek the counsel of others if you are feeling stuck in an abyss of sadness or regret. Often, they can help us see more clearly when the dark clouds of sadness or fear engulf us.

Let’s also make a commitment to be that special person for someone who may need a shoulder to lean on temporarily. After all, we have not walked a mile in their shoes and don’t realize the journey they are on. We have chosen to live through this life together for an important reason – to be there when others need to feel our strength. Taking the time to show we care can help them get through this emotionally charged time.

During this week as we reflect on our own life maybe we can decide to listen more intently, give more generously and love more fully as we bring our authentic selves to the table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great week!

Do You Hear What I Hear?

When we ASK others for information or their view on a circumstance then sincerely listen to their response we give and receive power from the exchange of energy. I believe the most valuable thing for a person is to be heard. We all want someone to care enough to inquire about us, show concern and ask clarifying questions about what we are doing in our lives. Yet, many times we find that they are so busy talking about their life that they forget about us! If all of us gain value by being heard it behooves us to model good listening skills ourselves and, at times, take the risk to point out to others if they are not honoring us or themselves by listening. You may be thinking to yourself, I might hurt their feelings if I comment. You may that is true but ultimately you will be helping them much more in the long run.

I am just finishing a book entitled, The End of Your Life Book Club, written by Will Schwalbe. In this memoir he and his mother are consummate readers so during her battle with cancer they formed a book club consisting of just the two of them. During each of her chemo treatments they would discuss the latest book they were reading and offer different perspectives on it. Like everything in life both age and experience can cause two people, regardless of how close they are, to have different perspectives. That is the beauty of the give and take of authentic conversations with others. Listening to what they have to say makes us more not less and gets the wheels going in our minds. We see things in a slightly more enlighten and broader view.

Schwalbe mentions in the epilogue that after his mom’s death he ‘would suddenly be seized with paralyzingly guilt over something (he) neglected to tell her…eventually (he) came to realize that the greatest gift of their book club was that it gave (him) time to ASK her things (and fully listen to her thoughts) not TELL her things.’

Whether we are living or dying the most important thing is to have someone who genuinely cares enough to listen to us. We feel more valued as a person and have the opportunity to hear our own thinking. Often, this can be one of the greatest therapies in the world. We realize that, in the far reaches of our minds, we know the answers to the more troubling things in our life when we experience the simple act of voicing the concern to others and listening to their response. It helps us clarify our next steps and we feel more empowered.

What we give out to the Universe comes back to us double fold. It sort of makes listening right up there on the 10 most important things we can do for ourselves and others. In our fast paced world, developing the skill to be an empathic listener is good for our minds and our souls.

Wouldn’t be wonderful if everyone could become aware of the significance of developing heartfelt listening skills. Maybe you can be the gentle nudge to help others consider ASKING rather than TELLING as we all live out our life lessons.

Have a great few days!

Synchronicity and a Fellow Traveler

Synchronicity is amazing and at work again! Yesterday I met a highly successful, accomplished and beautiful person who had a difficult – actually life threatening experience – to share and apparently I needed to hear it.

As she described the physical assault she had barely lived through it sounded not only frightening but outright horrendous. I was amazed that she was able to put one foot in front of the other. At first glance although she looked so very confident and put together I just kept getting the feeling that inside she was a delicate, wounded bird and I was puzzled at my own reaction. As she began to talk I understood my initial reaction better. You would never have guessed that she nearly lost her life in the attack. To add more stress and trauma in her life, the timing of the on going court system continues to keep the attack in her conscious thought – long past the harrowing experience. Listening to her story you could visibly see and feel both the physical and emotional pain she was still in. Yet, she was involved with a group and determined to help others who have lived through similar traumatic experiences.

I was able to offer a few personal references – guides on the side so to speak – that I believed could help her further with the next steps in the healing process. We know that experiencing loss in any form takes what may seem like an inordinate time to fully heal but regardless of our determination or station in life deep loss is like a deep physical wound in our body. There are no short cuts in the healing process – it may take years to fully heal.

You may think our meeting was not particularly unusual or synchronistic but just read the following events that needed to be aligned to get the full picture.

She had changed her appointment due to a conflict in schedule
Still struggling a bit with jet lag I had not made an appointment until a few hours before when in desperation I realized I needed to get in. I kept thinking it would be impossible and not to even try to get an appointment but then in my next breath I would feel an urge to pick up the phone. When I did call I was absolutely astounded to get an appointment immediately (this process usually takes at best a week to get in)
Our times were 15 minutes apart and lasted for 2 hours so we had time to talk
She was physically moved from her original seat and seated next to me
The owner of the shop introduced us – not the usual procedure
Her life story involved tremendous loss of people, safety and well being
I have written a book and blog twice weekly on those topics

We had the gift of time to talk deeply about patterns of human behavior, prayers of protection, life lessons and moving on after tragic events occur in our lives. Our connection was immediately apparent and to verify it the Universe gave her a sign, goose bumps on her arms continually as we talked. In fact it was so noticeable that she commented on it. The energy exchanged left us both feeling happier, more energized and ready to tackle tomorrow. When it was time to leave, after exchanging hugs, I could feel my jet lag seemed better and I noticed that she left the shop with an actual smile on her face. It feels good to be used for a purpose higher than yourself.

Driving home I kept thinking about the amazing way the Universe just seemed to remove all of the normal roadblocks to make this connection happen. I could visualize in my mind the movement of times and events – rather like moving puzzle pieces around – just to make this meeting of the hearts happen and I smiled – I was humbled, indeed! I had met a fellow traveler along the way and was able to lend a listening ear and loving heart momentarily to her life. What greater gift can there be?

Have a great few days!

Verbalizing your Feelings

Every once in a while I read something that just touches my heart and seems to beg to be shared. Finding a trusted family member or friend to talk to can lightened your load and make tomorrow a little easier. The following has been written by Devorah Zolotarev a gifted poet. I have taken the liberty to shorten it by not repeating all of the stanzas. The message in her writing remains intact – the importance of trusting yourself and others enough to verbalize your true feelings.

If I would let myself tell you
Where I’ve come and gone
How far I have run
Where I now stand
You could tell me you understand

If I would let myself tell you
About my hidden, darkened fears
My struggles through the years
My joy of breaking through
Then maybe you could help me
Continue what I do

If I would let myself tell you
Of the battles in my heart
What shatters me apart
How fragile I can be
Then maybe you could help me
Escape and just be free

If I would let myself tell you
Why I struggle with each word
How I’m scared of being heard
That I wish I could let go
Then maybe you could help me
Because then you would know

If I would let myself tell you
Than all this could disappear
Then you’d see me crystal clear
Then at least my tears would flow
Just maybe, maybe now
I’ll allow you to know

Have a great few days!

Experiencing Your Own Peace

The door to our homes can be opened or closed. Inviting contact and communication in from the outside world, or closed, shutting ourselves off to life, people, and possibilities. We can also think of this symbolism in reference to our minds. Are the doors of our minds open in a present tense or closed in the past tense? When I talk with people who have experienced loss or other challenges in their lives, I purposely listen to hear if they are stuck in what used to be – the past tense so to speak of their lives, or are reliving the past but with hopes and dreams for tomorrow. As I explained in my book, Just Behind the Door, our loved ones want us to remember the good times, the wonderful memories but NOT live in the past, stuck in our grief and perseverating on what used to be.
Being able to receive messages from the other side is possible for anyone who truly wants to make the connection. However, the critical first step is to move past the pain, the grief even the anger of what has happened in your life and realize nothing happens by accident. Every event – good or bad – happens for a reason. If we take the time to think about the issue, the lesson will surface. As my son has told me so many times, “Mom, everything is as it should be.” I don’t have to like it but I do need to realize that life goes on and my job is to make it the best life possible.
My path in life includes empathically listening to people to help them find their own peace. When we realize that life is planned, purposeful and designed for us to learn the true meaning of unconditional love it lessens the stress in our lives. We begin to feel a more calm, serene knowing and a greater trust in the future. Learning that love is the Alpha and Omega of the Universe – the beginning and end as we know it, an important part of achieving peace in our lives. If we genuinely trust ourselves enough to open the door of our minds to the belief of after death communication, the results can be incredibly healing and affirming. If other people do not accept or believe as you do, that is perfectly OK. You do not need to try to verbally convince them. You may find that as you begin to feel more trust, and demonstrate more peace about your own journey in life through your example, others may begin to open up the doors of their mind and seek a deeper understanding. They are on their own path, PLEASE allow them the opportunity to learn their own lessons. The more you try to fix, tell, lecture, organize and otherwise control other people’s lives or thinking the weaker and more dependent you make them. Please give others the trust and benefit of allowing them to proceed in life in their own time and own way. They will discover their own truth.