Thank you for reading this week’s post – whether it’s the first one or the 52nd one you’ve read (or anywhere in between!).
This marks the one-year anniversary of my writing a weekly blog titled “Listening with Heart”. (To read my first blog post “Back to School Mindfulness” which is timely again, please click here.)
If you’ve been reading, you know in my blog I have focused on how mindfulness can help you to have a more open-hearted, peace-filled life, and I’ve suggested ways to make it accessible every day.
I have deep appreciation for your reading. You’ll find your special gift near the end of this post.
I believe mindfulness can be helpful to everyone in their relationships, parenting, work life, personal sense of well-being, and in dealing with life’s difficulties, losses, fears and anxieties; and of course, in dealing with the larger world we live in – troubled as it is. And I am passionate about helping people figure out the every day moments and practices that are available to help bring mindfulness into their lives.
I hope you have found even one thing helpful to you and your every day life from any one of my posts this year. I’d love to hear from you about what’s been helpful, or what you struggle with around bringing more peace and open heartedness into your life.
For more about what it means to me to have written these blogs; some changes coming to my blog; and a celebration gift I want to share with you, please read further here…
First, a personal look at what writing my “Listening with Heart” blog means to me:
Writing this blog has been a very personal and meaningful experience for me. I have gone from feeling like ‘I have nothing important to say; and who would want to hear me anyways?’ To, ‘I have lots of ideas and things to share, but I’m no expert – so many other people could say it better than I – who am I to think I have a particular wisdom to share?’
I have been self doubtful, and afraid to put myself out there. I have been afraid of the technology, which trips me up every time. And I have been afraid of rejection, or humiliation or just not being good enough. Maybe you know how paralyzing that can be – to be gripped with the fear that all the ways you don’t measure up will be exposed?
I have moved to ‘Wow, I have lots of good things to share that I know are really helpful to others. I want to share this so they can benefit in their lives; so their suffering is eased.’ And ‘I want to share, more than I feel afraid.’
Along the way I received some very significant positive feedback from people who know me and care about me. I have taken risks to put myself out there, and I’ve not been rejected. I’ve even received feedback that says my words are very important and helpful to people. I have built confidence. I have integrated this process as a very important part of my journey.
This has been a transformative process for me – it has helped me to come out of myself; to be proud of stepping out of my comfort zone (as my niece likes to say when she tries new things); I have worked hard and learned a lot, and I feel more mastery about something that I had so many doubts and lacked confidence about early on.
Throughout this process, I have had lots of opportunities to feel the feelings, and keep going. I faced many blank pages with anxiousness; or sometimes my blog-idea-list with excitement. Sometimes I’ve wondered what my point was, or forgotten what I wanted to say; or felt fluid and expressive when I couldn’t stop writing as my pen flowed across the yellow pad, page after page. I’ve poured my heart out and written what I believed to be the best blog post ever; only the next day to read it again and feel it was really the worst one ever. I have edited, and re-edited and strived for the perfect way to say something – and other times just let it flow as if I were talking directly to you, without making any corrections.
Even through the doubt and hesitancy to put my voice out there this way (my job is to spend more time listening than speaking after all), I have felt transformed from the inside out. I have meditated more; I look at the world differently; I believe in myself more; I have cultivated my voice – sure, sometimes I still struggle with meeting my own deadline to publish – but ultimately I love this opportunity and honor that I have to write something helpful or meaningful to you, my reader.
…All of this is just a snippet of what goes on when someone undertakes a new experience in the direction of growth or working toward some desired accomplishment. I’m sure you know how challenging the road toward something meaningful in your life can be – filled with ups and downs; satisfactions and disappointments; joys and fears; highs and lows.
I take this first anniversary of my blog day to honor this growing experience within myself – and with you. I know you have had many growing learning and becoming times in your own life. Maybe you haven’t taken the time to reflect on them; journal; note your own feelings and experiences, and honor them in some way before moving on to the next project. I encourage you to give some attention to, reflect upon, feel your feelings, and celebrate any journey you have taken through growth and change.
Thank you for reading any of this and sharing in this journey. To help you acknowledge your own milestones, I offer you this special gift – a lovely 5 minute film by Brother David Steindl-Rast, in conjunction with Louie Schwartzberg, titled Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. I hope you enjoy it and have a really good day.
Please accept this special gift from my heart to yours:
Finally, I wanted to let you know of a new feature I’ll be adding to my blog. In the last week of each month, I will offer ‘Heart-Full Moments’ which will be a collection of the wisest words and best things I’ve read or come across each month, that when reflected upon, will add meaning and solace to your life.
Watch tomorrow for the first installment.
If you or someone you love is facing something difficult in your life (like loss, parenting, marriage problems, anxiety, depression) please contact me for individual or couple therapy support to get through your journey with compassion and meaning.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.