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Motivation Mondays: LISTEN


“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN - Are you a Good Listener?

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN – Are you a Good Listener?

kids story – The Boy Who Finally Listened

Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. Margaret J. Wheatley
The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I think, and out of all that I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can. Marquis de Lafayette

Are You a Good Listener? How Well do You Listen to Others or even to Yourself?  Tomorrow is the National Day of Listening so this is a great day to reflect on the topic. From time to time, we’ve all been told to pay attention. While some of us are more adept at listening, some folks simply don’t listen. Why?  For starters, we think four times faster than we talk and the same principle applies  when others are talking. Unless we make a concerted effort to hit the pause button of our inner chatter, focus our attention on the person before us, and respond effectively, it is incredibly hard to hear everything that is said to us. When we are distracted or our thoughts are straddling two worlds, It is even harder to respond without resorting to an automatic, canned response. How often do you find yourself chatting with a friend, family member or colleague and the immediate response to whatever you are sharing is “Yeah, Sure, Got it!?” Did they really hear everything you said? Are they simply responding to that inner reply button that kicks in when we are eager to have our  own thoughts heard; even if it means that we don’t hear with others are saying?  Another fallout of our inattentiveness manifests as people second guessing each other, jumping to conclusions or proffering a response without hearing all the facts. If we wish to be heard, we must become better listeners. It does take practice and a willingness to be present in our conversations.

How Does not Being Heard Make You Feel? Everyone wants to feel validated and heard. Even when people have a disagreement, fences can be mended if both sides feel heard. We can agree to disagree over an issue as long as we have communicated our position clearly and we respect the other person’s right to express their position. Once both sides have presented their position, we may agree that while we respect each others right to an opinion, we are choosing to stand by our own. Our credibility as clear headed, thinking people won’t be challenged, if we take a stand after hearing both sides. Simple, right? Well, not quite… What often happens is that people stop listening the moment they hear an objectionable buzzword or trigger. Once that surfaces, they tune the other party out and the chance at healing or compromise is lost. As parents/teachers/bosses, we ought to make an effort to hear what our kids/students/staff are saying to us and honor their POV sometimes; even if we feel our position is stronger. Why? Because we build trust by supporting the effort others are making and, by encouraging them to explore their position, we open the door to building greater transparency, dialogue and trust. Until we hear others fully with all our heart, we can’t expect the same. It takes reciprocity to listen and be heard.


A Story: How Well Do You Listen? Source Unknown
The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.” Source Unknown.


A Story: Listening = Obeying – Zen Stories via
The master Bankei’s talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei. “Hey, Zen teacher!” he called out. “Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?” “Come up beside me and I will show you,” said Bankei. Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher. Bankei smiled. “Come over to my left side.” The priest obeyed. “No,” said Bankei, “we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here.” The priest proudly stepped over to the right. “You see,” observed Bankei, “you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen.”

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN - Are you a Good Listener?

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN – Are you a Good Listener?

There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. Christopher Morley
Know or listen to those who know. Baltasar Gracian
To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. John Marshall
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Franz Kafka

Do People Accuse You of Being a Poor Listener?  At different points in our lives, we might fall into a pattern of tuning out everything around us because we are focused on a personal challenge or the demands of a pressing assignment. In times like that, we might be easily distracted from what others say to us or simply find that we are unable to deal with much chatter because we are trying to solve the issues before us. It is very important to be aware of the tendency and set aside time to hear others and, perhaps, share with those we trust that we are having a hard time.

When are You least Effective As a Listener? I know that when my spirit is troubled or when I have a deadline to meet, I’m not at my best as a listener. In times like that, pretending to listen to others is the worst thing to do because people can easily pick up on our inattentiveness. When we switch out of a conversation/interview or counseling moment people feel a vacuum in the exchange. So it is best to be honest and clear the air by intentionally setting aside whatever is weighing us down and be present for the other person. If we find that hard to do, we should articulate it in a clear manner and let the person know it’s not them but whatever issue we are currently struggling with… Even such an admission could open the door to an honest dialogue that benefits everyone… So, when the  going gets tough, listen to Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s advice below and be compassionate with yourself and others in your life.


Listen! by Ella Wheeler Wilcox via FamousPoetsandPoems
Whoever you are as you read this,
Whatever your trouble or grief,
I want you to know and to heed this:
The day draweth near with relief.

No sorrow, no woe is unending,
Though heaven seems voiceless and dumb;
So sure as your cry is ascending,
So surely an answer will come.

Whatever temptation is near you,
Whose eyes on this simple verse fall;
Remember good angels will hear you
And help you to stand, if you call.

Though stunned with despair I beseech you,
Whatever your losses, your need,
Believe, when these printed words reach you,
Believe you were born to succeed.

You are stronger, I tell you, this minute,
Than any unfortunate fate!
And the coveted prize – you can win it;
While life lasts ’tis never too late!


The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for October and November 2016 are:

10/03 –  2-4 Rosh Hashana,  6 German-American Day,
10/10 –  10  Columbus Day, World Mental Health Day, 11 International Day of the Girl,  12 Yom Kippur
10/17 –   16 World Food Day / FAO World Food Day
10/24 –  24 United Nations Day,  28 National Chocolate Day, 29 National Cat Day, 30 Diwali
10/31 —  31 Halloween

11/01/6 –   01 All Saints Day/Day of the Dead,  02 All Soul’s Day, o3, Culture Day, 05 Guy Fawkes Day
11/07   –  07 Chocolate + Almonds Day, 11 Martinmas/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day, 13 World Kindness Day
11/14 – 14 Full Moon, 15 Republic Day, 16 Day of Repentance 20, National Black Consciousness Day/Revolution Day
11/21 –   21 World Hello Day, 23 National Cashew Day, 24 Thanksgiving Day
11/28  –   29 New Moon/E-Greetings Day/National Day of Listening

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2016?

– Join the Daily Post Post-a-day or Post-a-week Challenge.


— Join the BlogHer Writing Lab



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Weekly Photo Challenge: Holiday Treats


“The holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can.” Giada De Laurentiis

Weekly Photo Challenge: Holiday Treats - Cookies & Mince pies & More...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Holiday Treats – Cookies & Mince pies & More…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Holiday Treats - Cookies & Mince pies & More

Weekly Photo Challenge: Holiday Treats – Cookies & Mince pies & More…

Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch. Evelyn Glennie

When I read the theme for this week’s photo challenge … It’s Not This Time of Year Without ….  I immediately thought of the special foods that remind us of the holiday season; egg nog, mince pies, Christmas pudding, fruit cake, custard, hot cross buns, and all manner of comfort foods that bring us together to celebrate the changing seasons.  Sure, there are many other things that are classic examples of the season, like the lights, trees, songs and all the things that get us into that holiday spirit and mood… But, food is closest to our hearts and homes, and that is where all the good conversations and expressions of gratitude begin and end.

In the picture above, I have decided to share two foods that we enjoy during this season. The pies are mince pies and while they are not as popular in the USA, I grew up eating them as a special, traditional, holiday dessert treat. I still love eating them with Bird’s Eye custard and/or Devon cream.  Come back for the recipe to my Everything Cookie. It is a treat you won’t want to miss. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Reflections: MIND THE GAP


“Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.” Earl Nightingale

Reflections: MIND THE GAP

Reflections: MIND THE GAP

Get Out the Box: Ira Glass on the Creative Process

How are you minding your creative gap? When I started this blog 8 years ago, it was meant to be a motivational guide to support the sales agents and staff at the company I worked for. As time went by, the economy shifted, jobs went south and, responding to a gap in purpose, it shifted directions too. I refashioned what could have been a sales driven, quotas meeting blog into its current incarnation. It was neither intentional nor planned to be what it has become. The only clear agenda was to use this blog to motivate, inspire and add laughter to the lives of souls that passed by this portal. As anyone who understands the creative process and her finicky muse knows, the process is not linear.  It meanders as it finds a pathway from one location into new realms of expression and the journey is not always pretty.  There are mines along the path; failures, false starts, and screeching halts that add to our growing pains and force us to attempt a start over, again and again.

Have you experienced gaps in where you are/where you expect to be? If you’ve just started blogging, perhaps not. But for those of us who’ve been on this road a tad longer, we have, if we are willing to be honest about it, reached moments of reconsideration or gaps in our journey. Part of the journey for me includes those gaping hole moments  when I changed the name, loved/hated it,  wrote more/less, gained/lost traffic, and made/lost friends.  There have been times when I considered doing massive changes to it all because the outcomes weren’t quite on par with my goals. There have been deliberate periods of silence or gaps in creativity, as I turned my energies elsewhere and tried to re-calibrate what this all means. I believe the gaps force us to stop, take stock, rethink our strategies and look for new ways to mind the gap while staying true to our creative vision. This is true of events, not just in the creative realm but, also in every day life.

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