Monthly Archives: December 2015

Final Thoughts on LISTEN

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“Listen my children and you shall hear, some words you better hold so dear.” ~Mr. Rosser, circa 1981
Ever since my 8th grade teacher Mr. Rosser uttered these words, I have needed constant reminders to listen. I much prefer being listened to.
Listen
Do you want to hear a secret?
Do you promise not to tell
oh oh oh oh closer
Let me whisper in your ear
love listen
My 2015 word has served me well this year. I have received many reminders to LISTEN, sometimes from a still small voice within and other times from the people around me.
Listen Etsy
One new skill that I have noticed developing this year is the intentional hesitation to chime in. I have realized, perhaps for the first time ever, that just because I have something to say, does not require that I do so. This is a revelation to me—having an unexpressed thought. For me this has become a huge part of listening, since the pause allows someone else the chance to speak up–quite often someone who will add something of great value.
Careful before you say, “Listen to me.” ~Into the Woods
This holding back does NOT come naturally to me and requires a whopping dose of focus, self-control and patience.  Sometimes it even means allowing an awkward silence.
Listen to your heart/when it’s calling for you
Listen to your heart/there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why
Listen to your heart before you tell him good-bye.
I have realized something else while attempting to listen well this year.  Although I may attempt to relate to others and read their emotions in any scenario, often I am wrong in my assumptions.  We may indeed feel and express sympathy more easily than true empathy for others when the one sharing triggers a similar experience or memory within us — but no two experiences are the same.
listen kind
Empathy requires focused listening to figure out what the other person needs — which very well may differ greatly from what the listener assumes is needed, especially if a situation is not something the listener has ever experienced.
Listen to the mandolin rain/Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break/every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind/Sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears flow/down my face as she turns to go
I also realized something new in my quest to be a quality listener.  When I need someone to listen to me, especially to help me solve a problem–either personally or professionally —  I can simply ask someone who is knowledgeable for the help I need for any situation and quickly get an answer or an opinion.  However, sometimes my preference is to discuss or learn how to do something in addition to getting the immediate answers.  Greater still is the process of developing a relationship throughout the learning process–whether a friendship, a mentor, or cooperative creative endeavors.  I enjoy asking different people for assistance and hypotheticals and I take time to consider who I will approach based on what they know as well as how they relate and communicate to me and my learning process.  This is a powerful awareness!
wisdom listens
Reading may be the ultimate form of listening–so thank you, readers, for generously and graciously sharing your time with me by listening to my thoughts here on the Automatic7 blog.  May you all be heard and listen well!
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Thoughts on Motherhood

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My friend had a baby yesterday and I could not be more excited.  I have been a mother myself for 21 years and lots of thoughts are coming to mind that I want to share for her benefit and as a reminder for all of us not-so-newbies.

  1. The focus is on the baby now that she’s here, but you are important too. You are a CHAMPION WARRIOR QUEEN and I hope you remind yourself of that truth often. YOU DID IT. You (and your husband) ((and God)) made a WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING! Thank you for doing the very challenging work of bringing hope and joy and sweetness into this world! And thank your mom for bringing YOU into the world. Take a second and realize that all this hype over your new baby is similar to the celebration over you when YOU came into this world. Though mom gets lost in the shuffle of caretaking BIG TIME, know that you are special, important, a miracle yourself and ALSO worthy of care, swaddling, and drinking every two hours if you cry hard enough.new-baby-feet
  2. Parenting is selfless and unconditional and rewarding and also SO VERY HARD. You will be shocked at how hard it is. I mean, you already know it will be “demanding” and “overwhelming” and “a challenge” and that you’ll “never be the same.” But dude. You are about to KNOW it. Please allow yourself to admit that it is hard. Remember that mistakes are OK and we all make them and none of them will be a deal-breaker—not even if she loves musicals and hates snow. You will make this parenting thing look easy but it’s okay if it turns out to be harder than you imagined. It was/is hard for EVERYONE at times. And if it’s not hard now, then it’s about to be.mother baby bird
  3. When you are tired and he is tired and you both need sleep and there’s none happening, and we are done with all the celebrating and excitement and joy and there’s just mess and stuff and needs and sickness and responsibility, do this: breathe in & breathe out and remind yourself that you can do this. If you are feeling defeated and alone and worn and done, remember there are others who feel and have felt how you do. Tell someone, take a nap and treat yourself. bethparkerartEvery day is Mother’s Day.
  4. Reality is the most creative, beautiful, original life there is—not Pinterest. Not Facebook. Not Instagram. As addicted as we all are to the “money shots” don’t forget that it is only a fraction of what is happening in anyone’s world. In my day we only had to deal with Family Fun magazine and Woman’s Day with the smiling perfection beaming with a perfect meal on the table and a spotless home. All I had to do was not look at the magazine and/or throw it away. Now we are bombarded with perfection and its easy to lull yourself into thinking this is what everyone is experiencing except you.  Remember that Life Online has been heavily edited.  As a friend once told me, “Lift Any Roof.” Inside every. Single. Home. you will find some non-postable issue with each and every man/woman/child/family. We are all struggling but are blessed with sharable moments. Great momsKeep sharing yours, but keep others’ in perspective.
  5. Let life change. It will not be what you expected. Repeat after me: IT. WILL NOT. BE LIKE I EXPECTED. Not the outfits, not the holidays, not the photo ops, not the meals, not the body shape, not the Sunday mornings. Nothing will be like you envisioned. Let it be. It will still be great…just a different great. nailed it nails
  6. Remember how loved you are. Take the love you have for that baby every moment of every day and bask in the brand new awareness that you were created by your Creator to help Him create. He gazes over you as you gaze over that sweetie. He has big plans for you and for her but it almost doesn’t matter at the moment because of all the love. Virginia LoveFeel it. Know it. Rest in it.
  7. Congratulations and welcome to the Crazy Fun Exciting Amazing Adventurous Parenthood Club! May the force be ever in your favor as you ease on down the road. December 1, 2015 is a great day to be a family!