Hello Dear Friends,
It has been some time as I have been busy cooking up fall classes and offerings. I will be the featured author at the Shuswap Writers Group coffee house on September 22nd as well as Thursday Mindfulness class starts this week (see all details below). My long-awaited book “Mindful Breathing: Simple, Powerful Tools to Heal Anxiety, Stress and More’ should be available by the end of next week as there were some publishing delays, but you will be the first to know! It is a collection of tips, stories and tools that I have learned from 25 years of counselling and searching for what really works to help people over the long term. The icing on the cake is that a portion of all proceeds go to support a school in India that educates the poorest girls (iimpact.org). Now on to the blog…
“A wise person listens and adds to their learning.” Proverbs 15:31
In this time of seeming chaos in the world, whether it’s political, natural disasters or just plain old busy-ness, there has never been more of a need for wisdom. We need clarity, calm and leadership that supports and sees the bigger picture. This might be in a school, a home or a country.
But what exactly is wisdom? It’s not knowledge or education. It has nothing to do with IQ, but a lot to do with EQ (Emotional Intelligence) which is a key quality of successful people. In fact sometimes formal education can make the mind narrow and when the mind narrows we stop learning. Wisdom is an all-encompassing ability to see all sides and then ‘do the next best thing’. Wisdom is the ability to pause, and gather information. It is the ability to listen with curiosity. We all have endless wisdom available right now. That’s right, it’s in you right now!
Not only do we become wiser when we listen, we make the world a more interesting place.
With mindfulness we begin to become aware of how we judge and categorize without complete information. Our minds want to leap at a conclusion so we can put people or situations in a box and say ‘that’s how they are’ or ‘they always do this’. The truth is that we can never have all the information. We will never, ever know or understand fully another person’s actions or experience.
Curiosity is wisdom. I remember when I was at a gathering a few summers ago in NYC. A man sat down beside me and struck up a friendly conversation. He began inquiring about where I was from and what brought me here. As we talked, his questions got more and more interesting until I was discovering things about myself and what I do and why I do it. I was so wrapped up in the conversation that our lunchtime ended without me even getting his name. It turned out that he was one of the foremost writers and speakers in his area in the US at that time. Now, that was wisdom. He was learning.
Nelson Mandela needed to listen to and learn from the whites and the blacks and everyone else to be a wise leader.
Martin Luther King needed to really hear the struggles in order to have a dream of something different.
They didn’t take the victim path of blaming and complaining. They replaced the energy of complaining with curiosity. They asked questions about people’s experiences. They got as much information as they could to see the bigger picture before they tweeted it out :))
How can you become wise? Become a student of yourself and your own life. Ask questions. Interesting people are interested in life.
What are you struggling with? Is it a busy schedule, a difficult person, chronic pain, feelings?
What are you really, truly struggling with? Is it lack of control, helplessness, fear, boundaries?
Pause, ask yourself questions. What am I learning from this? What part of me needs to come forth? Is there someone to guide me? Do I need more information? What feelings or past trauma are holding me back? How am I jumping to conclusions?
Above all, the most important question that will always guide you is: What is the next best thing to do?
Have a good week and I may see you at an upcoming event,
Mindfulness Class: Thursdays, 12-1pm, Askews Uptown Community Room, $5 drop-in. This class is for regular practitioners and newbies who are curious. Each week is a different topic and all are welcome.