Here is an eclectic mix of wise sayings that have come from here, there, and everywhere!
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’”. (Audrey Hepburn)
“We all move toward the ego, and we even solidify it as we get older if something doesn’t expose it for the lie that it is: not because it is bad, but because it thinks it is the whole enchilada! (Richard Rohr)
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” (Maria Robinson)
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children …….. to leave the world a better place ………. to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each and everyone of us.” (Dorothy Day)
“God will find us, bless us, even when we feel most alone, unsure ……….God will find a way to let us know that He is with us in this place, wherever we are.” (Kathleen Norris)
“A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.” (Herb Caen)
“If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.” (Anthony de Mello)
“Do you know why the mighty God of the universe chooses to answer prayer? It is because His children ask. God delights in our asking. He is pleased at our asking. His heart is warmed by our asking.” (Richard J. Foster)
“In the end, I think that I will like that we were sitting on the couch, talking and wondering where the time went.” (Anonymous)
“She said she used to cry everyday, not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful, and life was so short.” (Brian Andreas)
Enough, enough or I shall drown in the beauty of words! Don’t you just love the way they run off the end of the pen in someone’s hand, or appear on the computer screen at the insistence of someone’s fingers flying across a keyboard? It never ceases to amaze me that the wit or humor or intelligence contained in a person’s brain just flows out onto paper in some fashion or another. And then, I get to read it, soak it in, and share it on to others.
Once again it is my pleasure to share words of wisdom from others that I seem to find at every corner and in every moment of my journey, many of them at just the exact moment that I need them.
- “Truth is such a rare thing; it is delightful to tell it".” (Emily Dickinson)
- “One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” (Albert Schweitzer)
- “I pray thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.” (Socrates)
- “Do whatever comes your way to do as well as you can. Put a good deal of thought into happiness that you are able to give.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
- “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” (James M. Barrie)
- “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other,
their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.” (Unknown – used by Michael Podesta, Calligrapher)
- “No man is an island entire of itself; Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” (John Donne)
- “You can lay the foundation of a friendship in a matter of moments, but it is a work of time to build a monument.” (Madelyn Watt)
- “Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others, even as we respect ourselves.”
- “Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts and no one to thank.” (Christina Rossetti)
- “Don’t be afraid to take big steps. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” (David Lloyd George)
- “Some goals are so worthy, it’s glorious even to fail.” (Unknown)
- “Why was man created on the last day? So that he can be told, when pride possesses him: God created the gnat before thee.” (The Talmud)
- “No one is so rich that he does not need another’s help: no one is so poor as not to be useful in some way to his fellow man.” (Pope Leo XIII)
I hope you enjoy these quotations and that they prove to be as helpful to you as they have to me.
I have mentioned in several posts recently that I am enrolled into a program called Audire. This is a three year program which will give me certification as a spiritual director. In the context of the Audire program, spiritual direction is intended as a “being a companion” to someone as they explore where they are at in their relationship to whatever God they believe in. Or, if the person does not yet believe in God, walking with them as they explore what this may mean for them and allow them a safe place to explore the possibility of a spiritual life.
One of the skills that is considered to be of prime importance in this training is the art of listening. As I worked and trained with the CREDO retreat process in the US Navy between the years of 1984 to 2003, the skill of listening was also considered to be the most important skill that we needed to cultivate. Most of the yearly training weekends that I spent with CREDO were focused on activities that helped us to hone this particular skill.
On my refrigerator door at home I have a quotation held in place with a magnet that says something like: “The greatest gift we can offer another is the gift of rapt attention.” I’m away from home right now so cannot verify the exact wording nor do I remember the author of the quotation. Just a few days ago, in one of my morning reflections, I read the following quotation by Dr. Joyce Brothers: “Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”
Going back to the first quotation, I checked out the dictionary meaning of the word “rapt”. This is what I found:
– completely engrossed: involved in, fascinated by, or concentrating on something to the exclusion of everything else.
– deeply engrossed or absorbed
– blissfully happy: showing or suggesting deep emotions
– transported with emotion
I think the first two definitions are probably the most significant with regards the skill of listening to another, although showing that I am “blissfully happy” or “transported with emotion” as I listen to another in a totally focused way is not so bad either! It would certainly get across the message to them that I am paying complete attention to them and what they are saying.
Listening is just one component of the whole skill of good communication. It is said that when we are communicating with another person several messages are being given and received:
– the message of the words that we are actually saying
– the message that we think we are conveying with the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person hears from the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person then “decodes” from the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person sends back to us in response to the words we are saying
– the message that the other person thinks he has conveyed with the words he has said
– the message that we hear in the words from the other person
– the message that we think we understood (decoded) from the words the other person said.
There may be a few more variables going on at the time which could depend on the parties’ humor, body language, level of distraction, and others!! Is it any wonder that “bad communication” is probably the single most contributing factor to broken relations on the intimate level and wars on the international level?
So, in order to be a “good” listener I need to come to the table in a very specific way in order to offer that “rapt attention” to the other person. Here are some of the tools that I have learned, and continue to hear impressed, in order to be a good listener.
– Look directly at the speaker
– make sure body posture is open and inviting
– clear the mind of other thoughts
– avoid external distractions
– suspend internal judgment
– don’t be mentally preparing a response
– acknowledge that you are hearing by nodding the head or saying “uh huh” from time to time
When the other person stops speaking:
– wait for a few moments and then check with them that they have said all they wanted/needed to say for the moment
– if you are confused about something they said, ask for clarification
– reflect back, summarize what they have said to show them that you have truly been listening
– only then offer honest feedback, being respectful of the other and stating clearly that these are your thoughts and/or feelings in response to what you have
As can be seen, it is not easy to be a “rapt listener” but with a little thought and some willingness to get out of self, we can become the skillful listener that is needed in true communication with another.