3.12.2010

My Heart Echoed His Heart

If You Really Pay Attention
by Paula Underwood

When I was a little bitty kiddy, about five, my Dad began a process … anytime somebody came and said something to us, my dad would say, "You remember what he said, honey girl?” I would tell my father what the person said until I got so good at it that I could repeat verbatim even long presentations of what the person had said.

And he did this all the time.

Finally, one day there was this old gentleman, Richard Thompson. I still remember his name, he lived across the street. And every time my Dad started to mow the lawn, there came Mr. Thompson. And so I would stand out there.

Dad says, “You might come and listen to this man, honey girl. He’s pretty interesting.” And so I listened to him, and then my dad would say, “What did you hear him say?” And I would tell him.

Well, eventually I was repeating all the stories he liked to share with my dad verbatim. I knew them all by heart.

And my Dad says, “You’re getting pretty good at that. But did you hear his heart?" And I thought, what? So I went around for days with my ear to people's chest trying to hear their hearts.

Finally my Dad created another learning situation for me by asking my mother to read an article from the newspaper. He says “Well, I guess if you want to understand that article, you have to read between the lines."

I thought, "Oh, read between the lines. Hear between the words."

So the next time I listened to Mr. Thompson’s stories, I tried to listen between the words. My Dad said, “I know you know his story, but did you hear his heart?” And I said, "Yes. He is very lonely and comes and shares his memories with you again and again because he’s asking you to keep him company in his memories."

It just came out of me. In other words, my heart echoed his heart.

And when you can listen at that level, then you can hear not only the people. If you really pay attention, you can hear what the Universe is saying.

--Paula Underwood, clan mother of the Turtle clan, Iroquois nation

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by ashley

5.31.2009

Do You Know of Any Interactive Online Social Spaces For a School Parent Body

Do you know of any school communities that have an active online space where parents communicate with each other online... perhaps a blog, online forum, social media network? I am trying to help a school community that is interested in having a simple social space where parents can share resources, invitations, ask questions of one another, tell stories, and see what else might emerge. Thanks for sharing any links you know of for other such community sites.

inline... online...
photo by foreversouls

Labels: , ,

posted by ashley

5.23.2009

What Aisle Did You Find Your Serenity In

I went for a walk with a beautiful 4 year old yesterday. She had amazing skills for approaching strangers and inviting engagement. She quickly got to where her heart wanted to be... holding a woman's hand crossing the street, petting a dog, offering a flower.

The poem below invites me to step up my efforts and attention, becoming more skilled at getting to the heart of what my being wants to communicate to another... to go right there with stranger, friend, family or self? The poem inspires me to get creative and be real. Just like this little boy who asked Obama if he could touch his hair to see if it felt like his own. What a genuine way to relate with the world. Do you want to join me in this challenge?


I Confess
by Alison Luterman

I stalked her

in the grocery store: her crown

of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,

her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
watching

the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,

beaming peace like the North Star.

I wanted to ask, “What aisle did you find

your serenity in, do you know

how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,

excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess

some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis—“

But we don’t request such things from strangers

nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

Thank you 37days for the poem and The Official WhiteHouse Photostream for the photo.

Labels: , , , ,

posted by ashley

3.31.2009

Don't Miss the Love-Messages Flashing From Every Eye


The world is an open green
in the middle of a garden

Beings in various forms
see their reflections and laugh,
love-messages flashing from every eye

~Rumi


photo by divyanshs

Labels: , , ,

posted by ashley

2.18.2008

Feeling Belonging and Warmth

"Just outside of Nairobi there is an elephant orphanage where elephant calves found in the wild without a mother are brought to and raised till they are old and big enough to survive in the wild and then they are released back into the wild. NOTE the blankets tied around them. This is done with the smaller calves to give them a " Feeling of Belonging and warmth". When they are older this is removed. They have about a dozen calves in different age brackets. these are some of the smallest as you can see by the man feeding them." ~ Picture Taker 2

Those of you that know me in person know that I love hugs. I love to feel my body embraced with another human being, to feel the warmth and aliveness of life connecting with life, and to be an expression of appreciation and often love wrapped into form. As a preschool teacher my life was a daily waterfall of hugs. When I left that job I went through some real withdrawals as I realized/remembered that in my 'normal' life I don't get the easily 40 hugs a day to which I had become accustomed. I transitioned from that job in 2002. I've acclimated to that change and yet I still have days where I can physically feel the effects of not having had enough human contact, physical touch. My cells long for it. Closeness. Belonging. Warmth. Touch.

Am I looking for proof that I'm alive? Am I looking for assurance that I'm lovable? Am I looking for belonging and warmth to hold me? Am I looking for a safe place to rest? Do I need to open more fully, receive more wholly?

Who is it inside of me that needs the hugs and contact? How old is that part of me? Six perhaps? A bundle of joy, running around, sharing love and wanting to be loved? Wanting to know that I'm good enough in this form of being that I'm inhabiting and wanting to see and, more importantly, feel confirmation and reflection in embodied forms.

Mark Jones invites us all into a HSL (hizzle) experiment where in every interaction, one Hears, Sees and Loves everyone – including yourself.

Some questions I'm holding (and I'd love to hear from anyone interested in sharing): How do you hizzle with your body? How do you reach out and touch someone? How do you reach out and embrace yourself? How free do you feel to allow touch and contact to move fluidly as a form of expression? Are you inhibited by cultural norms, gender roles or personal insecurities?

And the next layer of my personal inquiry, In what ways do you feel belonging and warmth that transcends touch? How do you recognize existential belonging and spritual warmth?


Labels: , , , , ,

posted by ashley

7.01.2007

Words, Inner Worlds and Longings

It is said that every gift or strength that we have is accompanied with a shadow side. Light casts shadows; attributes that serve us can also inhibit us in other ways.

I like playing with words. I enjoy shaping them together in efforts to express meaning. My goal is for another to easily receive and experience the meaning for him or herself. Words are amazing in this way. They allow us the ability to offer a concrete expression of our internal experience. And then another person’s mind can potentially receive the meaning contained in the expression, understand it, and even verify its accuracy. Of course there are other forms of expression besides words… but for now I’m talking about words!

I just finished a phenomenal fantasy book called The Ordinary by Jim Grimsley (thank you Sheri for the superb recommendation). In the quote below he’s writing about words and their relationship with magic (I’ve changed it to the present tense):
“Words bring events into being. They focus consciousness."

“Any word by its nature allows two disconnected minds to share thoughts with one another… A word is energy and object at the same time, already capable of moving information from one person to another, and… therefore it should not be surprising that a word is capable of much more.”
With a certain degree of certainty (and a lot of room for mystery) words let your mind know what my mind is experiencing… and thus let us have a shared experience. That’s amazing!

More self-disclosure. I have a deep longing for shared experiences. (I know, this is shocking to some of you!) Thomas Hurley writes about our “essential yearning for communion.” I relate to that. I come alive, radiate aliveness, when I am experiencing my inner world, you are experiencing some aspect of my inner world, you are experiencing your inner world, I am experiencing some aspect of your inner world, and we’re here experiencing the outer world and our shared inner world together. Ooohhh, I just love that stuff! I yearn for more and more of it. Mutual relationships like that can be hard to come by in our society. Often, instead of sharing our worlds with each other, we wander around lost in our own world... or even ignoring our own world and getting lost in other worlds.

Perhaps more on that topic later. For now, I’ll return to words.

One thing I’ve been noticing is that I can lean too much on words, especially when I am stressed or in a fear state. I rely too heavily on the fact that words have the capacity (and I trust their capacity) to translate to another my inner experience of being alive or to help me understand another’s experience of being alive. In that state, I can become addicted to the certainty that I think words express. I want so desperately for another to understand my inner world and I want so desperately to understand their inner world. Living from my shadow at this point, I lose trust in my other senses, my other modalities of expressing and listening. I shut down to hearing them… I shut down to expressing with them… I shut down to receiving… and I grasp at and overly-rely upon words.

Shadow and light dancing together… funny how that works.

There’s more I want to write on these topics… holy longings, longing for subtle communication, ways of expressing and communicating non-verbally, a developmental stuck point we might be in socially/relationally, more shadow elements with words, talking about things too much, using words more than I need to, more about The Ordinary… Some topics you might see in the coming time… or not!

I'll leave you with a practice that they use in the land where the story The Ordinary takes place. It's one I'd like to adopt.. I wonder what sign we'll use... I wonder who we is?!
“This is a sign that means we leave you to yourself, to your own peace. We make this to one another to signal that we are willing to talk but feel it would be an intrusion to speak first.”
Photo by Jim Rider/AP found at She Muses

Labels: , , , ,

posted by ashley

3.14.2007

Isn't That Interesting

A very helpful reminder for me this morning:
I remembered the other day that part of Zen practice is "taking the step back." Being very human I have negative, unskilful reactions to things that other people do and say. The unskillful way to have such a reaction is to go with it and be caught up in it like a net that drags me along to further negative consequences - anger, jealousy, irritation - you know.

The skillful way is to take a step back and see the reaction for just what it is - my emotions living their life with no regard for my wholeness. Part of the stepping back is to make no judgement of the reaction, not judging it as negative or positive; and not judging me for having it in the first place.

On Monday I was able to do this by seeing my reaction and saying to myself, "Isn't that interesting"; and then seeing what was next.
From By Virtue of Release via Jack/Zen

Labels: , ,

posted by ashley

3.05.2007

The Peril of Praise

This New York Magazine article, How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise has been making its way through the email circuit. I found it to be a great article, well worth the read if you are involved in the lives of children (and adults!). Also, here is a handout that you can download that complements this article.

For a few decades, it's been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

[In a research study, fifth-grade students were] randomly divided into groups, some were praised for their intelligence. They were told, "You must be smart at this." Other students were praised for their effort: "You must have worked really hard."

Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the effect. "Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control," she explains. "They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child's control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure."

[In another study, students were taught] that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores.

Baumeister has come to believe the continued appeal of self-esteem is largely tied to parents' pride in their children's achievements: It's so strong that "when they praise their kids, it's not that far from praising themselves."

What would it mean, to give up praising our children so often? Well, if I am one example, there are stages of withdrawal, each of them subtle. In the first stage, I fell off the wagon around other parents when they were busy praising their kids. I didn't want Luke to feel left out. I felt like a former alcoholic who continues to drink socially. I became a Social Praiser.

These are only some scattered clips... there's much more in the article!!

Labels: ,

posted by ashley

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?