The Art Of Listening


Listening is an art form.

Do you hear what I hear?

Really listening to another person for an extended period is rare, like finding a treasure.We all want to be heard. We all want to be listened to. We all have something to say. We all have something we want to share. We all want to talk, talk, talk.

How many times do we find ourselves truly listening to someone, then they say something that triggers a response thought from us. We bide our time until we can say our part, but at that point, we have stopped listening. We find ourselves “treading water” until the conversation stops so we can jump in with our two cents.

We are listening with an answer running. That is not listening.

Some of us are better listeners than others. Maybe we are attention deficit, or hyperactive, or both, no matter what our age is. Sometimes others gently or not so gently, let us know of this bad habit.

But like any habit, good or bad, habits can be changed. We simply need to become aware of what we are doing. Once someone lets us know we are not listening, that can become the moment we remind ourselves to become the observer of ourselves. Watch what we do the next time in conversation, so that we can do a better job of listening.

Two things happen when we earnestly listen. First, the person we are listening to feels heard, acknowledged and appreciated. Second, we get a better understanding of what the other person is trying to share with us.

This all seems like common sense. However, if the conversation gets heated, or we have a completely different opinion other than the one that is being expressed, then all bets are off with our listening skills.

How are we with political, religious, or relationship discussions? We know what our weak spots are.

It is always better to work things out in person when possible. On the telephone, others cannot see our expressions. The written word can come across very harsh without hearing the inflection of voice and the look in someone’s eyes.

Life is too short to not communicate with others. Keep trying. Never give up. As we grow and change, so do others. If relationships have fallen by the wayside, we can renew them simply by the art of listening.

What Is Inscribed On The Statue of Liberty?


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” This is an excerpt fromJimmy Carter American poet Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus.” It was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. It was and is intended to welcome immigrants to the United States of America.

Who are the immigrants of today? Do they arrive tired, poor, and huddling in a mass of humanity, with hopes and dreams of a safer, better future? Did our own grandparents and their grandparents generations before us arrive in this way? Might our own ancestors have traveled across dangerous oceans, deplorable and inhuman conditions, hungry and spent from the land they left?

My ancestors traveled down from Canada. Yes, this is one border of the United States. Just last month, amid moose, fox and deer, I drove to the Canadian border. I was not met with soldiers, nor vigilantes with guns, threatening my life. I was not in fear of losing my life coming or going. My family tree continues across the Atlantic Ocean, to the south of France. It most likely goes further, but it is where I presently stopped searching.

My husband’s family roots also come from across the Atlantic Ocean, to Ireland, once struck with a potato famine and war. Immigrants want better living conditions, and more humane treatment.

My family is not alone. Unless you are a native born American Indian, and might I add Spanish or Mexican back in the days of and prior to the Louisiana Purchase, everyone one of us are immigrants, or descendants of immigrants.

Why do modern day “Americans” feel the need to close the borders? The greater paradox is that it seems to be the Christian right-wing, proposing to be Christian, a group that at least according to the Bible ought to taking care of the poor and hungry and destitute among us, that appear to be fueling the fire of small-mindedness.

Closed minds that also want to close borders, do not solve the problem.

There is a way to deal with crime, gun/drug/sex trafficking, and terrorism, without punishing innocent people who are seeking a better life. Criminals need to be dealt with law abiding justice. But not all criminals are immigrants, and not all immigrants are criminals. It is not a criminal act to immigrate to this country.

Contrary to the arguments given by some, immigrants will not take all our money, nor all our jobs. They are also not receiving the benefits they are often accused of receiving. But if they are working in this country (at jobs few of us would take), they ARE paying taxes that they do not reap the benefit of.

Every single one of our family ancestors who immigrated to this country did not have to go through the complicated channels that immigrants have to today. The small-minded thinking creeps in when we say things like, “My ancestors immigrated to this country, but they did it legally.” The term “legally” is really hysterical when you accurately remember just what it was that our parents, grandparents and generations before us did when they merely walked through Ellis Island. In some cases they only had to sign their name, and if they could not write, they simply had to make an “X.”

The immigration process today is being investigated by all involved. It’s about time. With all our education and technology we have in this world today, this problem is not beyond solving.

Emma Lazarus agreed.

Lazarus was born July 22, 1849. She was raised a Sephardic Jew, and displayed an early talent for poetry. She attracted the notice of Ralph Waldo Emerson with her first book, Poems and Translations (1867). After this, her poem “The New Colossus”, written in 1883, was chosen to be displayed at the Statue of Liberty.

She is not alone in recognizing the human hopes and dreams of immigrants.

Do You Own Things Or Do Things Own You? Repost


change is goodPossessions are a 2 way street. We can own possessions, and they can own us. At first this is obvious. We have carefully and often painstakingly selected the things we have. We have chosen the things in our home, including our home, and things all around us, on purpose. These things serve a purpose, even if that purpose is to make us feel good by looking at the art of it, or feel good by being in and around these things. But when do things stop serving us, and we start serving things?

This is a good question to ask ourselves from time to time; because it is by the very nature of time that things begin to own us. It is almost as if our things begin to take a life of their own on, require cleaning or maintenance, and demand replenishing. Our things can even begin vying for our affection, and can consume our every thought, if we are not conscious of it. Things need protection. The more they shine, or grow in value, not only do we want them, so do others. Then we transform from taking care of our things, to safe guarding our things, which is an entirely different matter.

When we recognize that we are serving our things, more than they are serving us, we lose focus of what is really important in our lives. Why do we have the things we have? Do we want to keep up with the Jones’, peer pressure, or for appearances’ sake? Are we hoarders?

The remedy is simple. Like most problems of life, decision is the answer. Indecision is the complication. Decide to solve this problem, unless you like being a slave to your things.

Begin. Begin anywhere. Begin throwing away everything broken, or torn. Get a dumpster. If we didn’t wear it last year we won’t wear it this year. Give away everything that does not serve us. Donate to humanitarian causes to help the poor among us. Go through your things, again and again.

When we streamline our life, then things will not own us. Our homes will not own us. Debt will not own us.

Being debt free is freedom.

Being item free is freedom.

Being free is freedom.

When we are free, we can truly reassess what is important to us, without the clouded vision of false values.

Your Mind ~ Body ~ Spirit Health Tripod


This is my ten year anniversary of serving the world as a holistic health counselor/practitioner, which

Does your mental, physical or spiritual health look like this?

Does your mental, physical or spiritual health look like this?

includes mental, physical and spiritual health. This is a lifelong, international certification. Although retired, I continue my work through this blog to touch everyone’s life, wherever you are, in every situation you find yourself. I view mind, body, spirit healing like a tripod. Without health in all three areas, “the tripod” (your life), falls apart, or is tilted one way or another.

My work is person centered rather than technically oriented, and focuses on phychological health, Bibles-based consciousness, human possibilities, and challenges of body, mind and spiritual development. We are created with a mind, a body and a spirit. We need to take care of all three to be fully human. It is irresponsible to only take care of any one of these dimensions of ourselves, while ignoring the other two. It is also irresponsible and short sighted to only take care of two of these dimensions, while simultaneously denying the other aspect of ourselves, as if we can live with out it, mentally, physically or spiritually.

We can’t, successfully anyway. Questions still remain about that which we are denying, and they keep cropping up.

Sometimes we like to live in denial. We do not like pain. We try to avoid it. We look for short cuts. That’s understandable. What tends to happen, though, with the area we are suppressing, is that the part of life we are denying, keeps popping back up, like trying to hold a submerged beach ball under the water, popping up when we least expect it. And don’t you know it, our mental health, or our physical health, or our spiritual health issue keeps calling four our attention until we address it, one way or another. Denying it, or lying to ourselves does not make it go away. Denying truth makes the truth scream all the louder.

Other times, we think we have a great understanding of ourselves. Then we get a new piece of information which changes things, or our viewpoint. This discovery matters. Pay attention, even if we previously thought we had all the answers.

While denying issues with our mental and physical health does happen, today it happens on a grander scale in our spiritual journey. There are so many false religious notions out there. The placebos just are not the same as the solid spiritual food found in the Bible. It is only after we have tried all the more enticing New Age or other spiritual thoughts, that we find they do not even hold a candle to the truth found in the Bible, the most popular book bought, every year.

Following the advice found in the Bible will not only bring spiritual health back in line, it will often bring the mental and physical health back in line as well. This is an amazing puzzle piece that restores character development, self esteem, and positive thinking when we realize just how very loved we truly are. When we trust in God instead of ourselves, stress gets diminished, resulting in less migraine headaches, less ulcers, less panic attacks, and whatever else ails us mentally or physically. Don’t trade the truth for a lie.

In this life we are not promised to live forever. I have never met, nor heard of anyone who has lived forever, mentally, physically or spiritually. But while we are here, it is good to re-connect, re-align or re-affirm our relation with the good God who made us and everything else, using the Bible as our backbone. That way, we have a firm foundation from which we can build our personal mental, physical, spiritual tripod, and enjoy life to the fullest while we are here. For further spiritual help, check out jw.org.

Illegal Immigrants ~ Democracy ~ Freedom ~ Dignity Of The Human Race


Here in the United States of America, the Fourth of July, marks the day that our forefathers were no longer illegal immigrants coming from another land, a day

An American Fourth of July means taking the oath of citizenship, like Nuria Mohamed from Ethiopia. (Seattle Washington) The United States of America is the land of freedom, democracy endowed with certain unalienable rights for all human beings.

they paid a dear price for our freedom from another country, enabling us to live in democracy today, and honoring the dignity of human beings that originated from across the sea. It didn’t matter if they came from Mexico, Canada, South America, Africa or any other country in the world. Our forefathers came here from England, and they did not have immigration papers.

What is the difference between most illegal immigrants of today, compared to your grandparents, great-grandparents and other ancestors in your own family tree?

Nothing.

Human beings from every country are human beings. Our forefathers sought a better life for their families, just like those in the world today are seeking to better their lives. We need to remember to keep the dignity of all human persons intact as we deal with the now complicated issue of illegal immigration.

The complication in our current immigration laws arises from our sense of entitlement, of wanting to keep people out, of trying to do the impossible, of trying to close our borders. There has to be a humane and organized way to safely allow people to become legal United States citizens that does not make it easier for current illegal immigrants to side-step this issue.

Yes, our country needs to be safe, and the laws of our land must be followed. Obviously this goes for everyone in this country, legal citizens and illegal aliens. Also, in this country, we believe that people are innocent before they are proven guilty, no matter what the color of our skin, or our ethnic background.

Why are we more concerned about the Mexican border of the United Sates than the border we share with Canada, or any coastal border? We need to recognize and acknowledge our prejudices in order to heal our nation.

Map of trafficking of females globally.Some point to crime, occurring at our southern border. The tophuman trafficking 2 three illegal activities worldwide are drug trafficking, gun trafficking, and human trafficking. All crime needs to be legally and humanely dealt with. But prejudice is also a crime against humanity, and far more of us are guilty of that.

This is a land of democracy. United States citizens value freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably assemble, and freedom to petition the government among other rights in this great nation.

We need to also champion the fair treatment of illegal immigrants and come up with a better plan for our country, and treat all people with the right to human dignity.

If Human Life Begins At Conception, What About The Unused Fertilized Human Embryos In The Invetro-Fertilization Process?


The following article is from: www.johnhourihan.wordpress.com and was posted on August 31, 2012, but this question must be asked again. It is something to be considered in the upcoming election with the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice debates bound to surface yet again.

The Sanctity of Human Life Act was sponsored by 55 people including Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney’s running mate, and Rep. Todd Akin who has perhaps ruined his bid for the Senate in Missouri by saying when a woman is raped her body most of the time will keep itself from getting pregnant. He referred to “legitimate rape.”

As I understand it a clarification was deemed needed by the sponsors since we are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by the Constitution.
It is this “life” guarantee that is the impetus of the bill to enact an amendment to the constitution.

This bill would make it law “To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.”
Sounds pretty simple , right?
It appears that it would, if passed, make abortion of any kind against the constitution, to use unborn embryos and the Constitution to attract the Catholic vote.

It would make abortion legally murder. This could actually make it a jailing offense for women who get an abortion or doctors who perform them, or in some state the death penalty.
Seems as if someone didn’t think far enough. Sure there are a lot of people who consider abortion murder already and would love it to be a Constitutional guarantee.

I’m not even talking about abortion now.

Think of this. The number of in vitro fertilization births since its inception is 45,000 babies. The way this happens is that several eggs from a woman are fertilized by a man’s sperm in a Petri dish. One or some are implanted in the woman’s uterus. Some may be frozen for future use by the woman, or in research, AND THE REST ARE THOWN AWAY.
This means that if Ryan’s bill passes at least 90,000  people including Mitt Romney’s son whose baby was the product of IVF, and  probably as many doctors would be guilty of murder.