When we open our hearts, I believe we attract the people we need most in our lives. The day before my Dad passed, I interviewed Susie Itzstein for the Journey of the Heart Journal online class. The timing could not have been more perfect. Susie is a therapist whose focus is on working with couples. Susie says it well, "All life is about being in relationship - whether it is with our partners, children, family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours and also ourselves ...it's about communicating and truly connecting."
This is one interview I know I will be listening to again and again as it is filled with so many practical tools, tips, and wisdom that we can use daily to nurture loving relationships.
One of the many take-a-ways from this interview is the importance of being present. In the last week, I had so many opportunities to practice. One day I took my father's wife, Nancy out to lunch where we sat in a beautiful setting. It was just the two of us. At times Nancy would sit quietly lost in thought and I sat patiently, watching her. When she came back and looked up at me, I smiled gently and in a way that no words were needed. When she was ready to talk, I listened and didn't try to fill the space with chatter or cheerleading. I practiced being fully present.
My brother came into town for several days for the funeral. I was so lucky that he stayed with me. We stayed up late on most nights talking. Once again, I found myself deeply listening as he shared what was on his mind and in his heart. I found being patient was easy as I really wanted to hear what he had to say. One of my favorite phrases is, "meet people where they are at" and in these moments I was careful not to fall back on old assumptions of what I "think" of my brother. In my listening practice, I discovered that my old habits of interrupting didn't happen. After listening for a while there came a time when it was my turn to share and I received the gift of being heard.
This morning I had time for just me and my 17 year old son. I pulled out a deck of virtue cards to use as a guide for our discussion. I had my son pull three cards and read each one out loud. After reading each card I asked him what words or phrases caught his attention. As he talked, I practiced listening, really listening. I asked him questions and then listened some more. I pointed out his strengths, and positive characteristics. I mirrored the words he used as he talked about his challenges and I encouraged him to be mindful of these things in the next three months. I learned so much about my son in this one conversation and I now feel an even greater connection with him. I could see that my son felt heard and my mother's heart swelled with love.
The practice of being present, the focus on connecting, and the tools of mirroring and asking questions are just some of the many lessons in this one interview that I put into practice this week. There are a total of six interviews in the course and each one is packed with so much wisdom and so many practices that we can use in our journeys.
I hope I have you intrigued and interested in joining me for an incredible 6-week journey that begins on June 10th.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Journey of the Heart Journal online course and to register.
CLICK HERE to sample the course by downloading the first chapter.
Here's to the journey and savoring it's many lessons.