Harbors of Grace

June 7, 2015

Harbors of Grace

by Molly Davis

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A dear friend is moving to a town in Maryland named Havre de Grace….Harbor of Grace.  It is a perfectly named town for her new home, as she is a grandmother raising one of her beloved granddaughters who, without the need for any shared details, has found in her grandmother’s love and devotion, a harbor of grace in which to live for a few short years.  As a card I recently read said, “A ship in a harbor is safe.  But that is not what ships are made for.”…..We are not meant to live in the safe waters of a harbor forever either.  But, we all have need of shelter in our storms.  Ours is to know when to seek the safety of a harbor, and when to provide that for someone else in need.

My best friend Kristine’s almost 90 year old momma, Darlene, passed away yesterday.  During the days and hours and moments before she left us, harbors of grace showed up everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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She Said…

December 19, 2011

She said she couldn’t do it. She said that she would rather die than leave her home. She said that she was so lonely she just couldn’t imagine facing another day. She said that if we took her car away she would just buy a new one. She said that, that dent in the front of her car was not her fault because she didn’t remember hitting anything. She said that she was not as old as all the old people in the dining room. She said that she was afraid she couldn’t keep up. She said she didn’t want to live like this. She said she wanted to see my father one last time. She said she hadn’t slept in nights. She said she slept like a baby. She said she still couldn’t find the bathroom. She said she learned to Wii bowl. She said she missed her own kitchen. She said the food was really good. She said the Girl Scouts who came to carol were adorable. She said she couldn’t wait for baby Eloise to come visit. She said she made a new friend. She said she thought this might turn out all right. She said thank you.

Love Is All That Matters

September 29, 2011

We are living in insane times. It is every where: record numbers of people living on the streets, going hungry. Our financial foundation compromised to it’s core: lost jobs, lost homes, lost dreams. AND YET…in-spite of what is hard, and painful and devastatingly real, if we are loved and truly love someone else, there is light at the end of any dark tunnel. After all, love is the one thing that at the end of each of our lives, we won’t regret, and wish there had been more of. My treasured friend, Hollye Dexter says it all…”love is all that matters”.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

Lessons Learned At A Funeral

     I’ve been to more funerals in my life than I care to count. And I have sat bedside with critically ill friends at the ends of their lives. Although it has been painful, I consider this a privilege, for they have taught me valuable life lessons.
My dear friend of 25 years, Phyllis, was like a second mother to me. I loved her with all my heart, but she was a difficult woman. She was tall, strong, a force to be reckoned with, but she spent a lot of her life being offended by people. She was prickly and cantankerous. I’d had a few run-ins with her over the years, and she’d made me cry more than once, but always we came back to a place of love. The last time I saw Phyllis on her deathbed, all her hard edges had softened as she began to wither away. She looked so vulnerable, like a tiny baby bird in a nest of hospital blankets. She was peaceful, finally. Soon she would join her husband and son in the afterlife. The last thing this tough woman said to me before she died- “Love is all that matters.”
     A year later, I would watch my friend John die from a brain tumor. At the end, I sat holding his hand while Troy played John’s beloved baby grand piano. The tumor had robbed him of his ability to speak in sentences, but there was no need for words. What mattered was clearly present in that room. John looked into my eyes, took my hand and squeezed it tight. With his other hand patting his heart, he said “So much…so much…”
     This Sunday I attended yet another funeral; a sad, tragic funeral of a woman who died much too young. Andrea was Dani’s little sister. I can still see her sitting cross-legged on her bed at thirteen years old, talking about her boyfriend, as Dani and I were putting on make-up, getting ready to go out to some party or High School football game. Andrea, just a little girl in my memory, with her long wavy hair, and a whole life ahead of her.
Now she is ashes.
     There had been hurt and misunderstanding between Dani and her sister over the years, and some of Andrea’s life decisions caused her to distance herself from those who loved her. Yet, on the last day of her life as she lied comatose in her hospital bed, Andrea opened her eyes and smiled at Dani. Nothing needed to be said. What was left at the end, above all the broken hearts and hurt feelings, was love.
     At the funeral on Sunday, Andrea’s two teenage daughters, now orphaned, stood up and spoke about their love for their mother. Her oldest, Megan, lamented about all the time they spent fighting over petty things. That time could never be regained, time which could have been spent loving each other. I heard that message loud and clear.
Since Sunday, I have witnessed a lot of anger amongst my friends and family, some of it at each other, some at me, over small things, which will one day be long forgotten.  But Sunday put things in perspective for me. I don’t intend to waste a second of my precious life, which I am so lucky to have, quibbling over small things. I want to spend the hours of my life loving my family and friends, and helping others to do the same. I won’t be swayed from this.
     People often comment on my relationship with Troy, how much in love we are after so many years. The reason our love has lasted is not because we don’t fight. We do. It doesn’t happen much anymore but in the early years, we almost didn’t make it. What saved us, time and again, is that we always come back to a place of love. Always. The love we have for each other is larger than either of our needs to be right or to be vindicated. The love outweighs our egos.
My friendship with Erin is that way. We are a couple of strong-willed broads and we’ve collided spectacularly at times, but again, what I love so much about Erin is her great heart, which prevails over everything else, as does mine. As does Dani’s.
     Life is rattling my cage pretty hard right now, testing me, challenging me to walk my talk. I ask myself, if I were lying on my deathbed, would these issues matter?
My life’s mission is to live a life of integrity, love and honesty, and to help others do the same. No matter what is thrown at me, I will stand strong in that mission, unshakable. For I know what will matter on my own deathbed is the love and kindness I shared with people.
     Phyllis said it, John said it, and an eighteen year-old girl who’s had to grow up way too fast said it best. Love is all that matters.
(truth and consequences blog by hollye dexter)

Love is all That Matters

September 29, 2011

We are living in insane times. It is every where: record numbers of people living on the streets, going hungry. Our financial foundation compromised to it’s core: lost jobs, lost homes, lost dreams. AND YET…in-spite of what is hard, and painful and devastatingly real, if we are loved and truly love someone else, there is light at the end of any dark tunnel. After all, love is the one thing that at the end of each of our lives, we won’t regret, and wish there had been more of. My treasured friend, Hollye Dexter says it all…”love is all that matters”.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

Lessons Learned At A Funeral

     I’ve been to more funerals in my life than I care to count. And I have sat bedside with critically ill friends at the ends of their lives. Although it has been painful, I consider this a privilege, for they have taught me valuable life lessons.
My dear friend of 25 years, Phyllis, was like a second mother to me. I loved her with all my heart, but she was a difficult woman. She was tall, strong, a force to be reckoned with, but she spent a lot of her life being offended by people. She was prickly and cantankerous. I’d had a few run-ins with her over the years, and she’d made me cry more than once, but always we came back to a place of love. The last time I saw Phyllis on her deathbed, all her hard edges had softened as she began to wither away. She looked so vulnerable, like a tiny baby bird in a nest of hospital blankets. She was peaceful, finally. Soon she would join her husband and son in the afterlife. The last thing this tough woman said to me before she died- “Love is all that matters.”
     A year later, I would watch my friend John die from a brain tumor. At the end, I sat holding his hand while Troy played John’s beloved baby grand piano. The tumor had robbed him of his ability to speak in sentences, but there was no need for words. What mattered was clearly present in that room. John looked into my eyes, took my hand and squeezed it tight. With his other hand patting his heart, he said “So much…so much…”
     This Sunday I attended yet another funeral; a sad, tragic funeral of a woman who died much too young. Andrea was Dani’s little sister. I can still see her sitting cross-legged on her bed at thirteen years old, talking about her boyfriend, as Dani and I were putting on make-up, getting ready to go out to some party or High School football game. Andrea, just a little girl in my memory, with her long wavy hair, and a whole life ahead of her.
Now she is ashes.
     There had been hurt and misunderstanding between Dani and her sister over the years, and some of Andrea’s life decisions caused her to distance herself from those who loved her. Yet, on the last day of her life as she lied comatose in her hospital bed, Andrea opened her eyes and smiled at Dani. Nothing needed to be said. What was left at the end, above all the broken hearts and hurt feelings, was love.
     At the funeral on Sunday, Andrea’s two teenage daughters, now orphaned, stood up and spoke about their love for their mother. Her oldest, Megan, lamented about all the time they spent fighting over petty things. That time could never be regained, time which could have been spent loving each other. I heard that message loud and clear.
Since Sunday, I have witnessed a lot of anger amongst my friends and family, some of it at each other, some at me, over small things, which will one day be long forgotten.  But Sunday put things in perspective for me. I don’t intend to waste a second of my precious life, which I am so lucky to have, quibbling over small things. I want to spend the hours of my life loving my family and friends, and helping others to do the same. I won’t be swayed from this.
     People often comment on my relationship with Troy, how much in love we are after so many years. The reason our love has lasted is not because we don’t fight. We do. It doesn’t happen much anymore but in the early years, we almost didn’t make it. What saved us, time and again, is that we always come back to a place of love. Always. The love we have for each other is larger than either of our needs to be right or to be vindicated. The love outweighs our egos.
My friendship with Erin is that way. We are a couple of strong-willed broads and we’ve collided spectacularly at times, but again, what I love so much about Erin is her great heart, which prevails over everything else, as does mine. As does Dani’s.
     Life is rattling my cage pretty hard right now, testing me, challenging me to walk my talk. I ask myself, if I were lying on my deathbed, would these issues matter?
My life’s mission is to live a life of integrity, love and honesty, and to help others do the same. No matter what is thrown at me, I will stand strong in that mission, unshakable. For I know what will matter on my own deathbed is the love and kindness I shared with people.
     Phyllis said it, John said it, and an eighteen year-old girl who’s had to grow up way too fast said it best. Love is all that matters.
(truth and consequences blog by hollye dexter)

Tempest

September 6, 2011

Your breath flows through me

breaking every bone,

ending every sentence…

I’m falling up now, as through water.

Head, then shoulders

collar bones filled with sand;

Tiny stones splitting my skin.

and I’m sinking

sinking, sinking upward.

What a perfect manner in which to stow away an epic;

deep into a dusty corner on your lowest shelf,

along with all your classics.

The sea echoes in my chest

slow, undulating waves wash away the land.

Somewhere in the lazy, hazy days of summer

my ‘self’ slipped from me.

It was replaced with the callouses on your hands

with your humming in the shower,

your furrowed brow reading the morning news;

your favorite ice cream, your fears, your sleep talking

you, you, you.

and gone, myself, whom I’ve traded to have you

http://katevanraden.wordpress.com/


It seems that lately, I just can’t stop crying.  Pain is everywhere.  Sadness abounds, and grief is abundant. It just seems to be a very, very, very real part of life.  In fact there are days, weeks, months where it seems to be the central character in my story.  It isn’t that I have a sad life, or even that I have experienced an abundance of personal tragedy.  But there is, no doubt about it, a very deep well filled with heartache.

The funny thing is, I don’t think that this is a bad thing.  Not that I love to cry until I can’t see or breathe, nor do I look forward to the days that pain and sorrow fill my heart till I think I might actually die.  But I have come to believe that pain has a purpose.  It can, if I let it, become the doorway to compassion and kindness, love and tenderness.  As I sit with the hurt, and just let it wash over me, I am able to understand that this is part of what makes each of us human, and, that it is part of the richness of life. It makes it possible for me to see, understand and connect to the hurt in those around me.  And hopefully it helps me to sit with them in the midst of their pain.

There have been times when I have done everything I could to avoid the hurt.  I have tried to buy my way out of it, redecorate it, medicate it, sleep it way, sweat it out, and just plain pretend that it wasn’t there.  But it is.  The truth is, I live with a hole in my heart. I think we all do.  It comes from past regrets, choices that we would give anything to take back, unexpected loss, wounds inflicted by others, and the shadowy glimpses of what is no longer possible.  Some days the other part of my heart, that part that is whole, and strong beats louder.  And other days,the sound gets sucked into that hole, and I follow it right down into the depths.  I’ve quit trying to hide from it, because it is all part of the heart that is mine.  Trying to have one without the other is like trying to separate the waves from the ocean.

I am absolutely not a poet.  Never have been, and most likely never will be.  But years ago, sitting in my college dorm room, lonely, homesick and heartbroken, the one and only poem I have ever written came spilling out.  It seems that even back then, at some level far, far below my consciousness, I understood that pain was important.  Here is what I wrote;

Pain and love go hand in hand

One often leading the other

But the led need not struggle against the leader

For they both travel to the same place

They go to the clear, bittersweet pool of human experience

Where each may drink freely from one cup

Having once looked into such waters

one will never again settle for the cloudy, shallow pools of comfort,

which do not reflect, but simply swallow the reflection

When you seek love

look also for pain

and welcome it

that you too may drink deeply.

 

THEY say that if you pay attention, your children will teach you as much or more than you can possibly teach them. I was reminded of this last night while watching various acceptance speeches during the Oscar’s…One gentleman, fighting back tears, thanked his wife and infant daughter…”who will surely teach me more than I could ever possibility teach her.”

My children are grown. They are living independent lives of their own creation. Naturally as a parent, I had ideas of just exactly what their lives should look like. While I am anything but disappointed, their lives have turned out differently than I imagined. I realize more and more  that one of the most sacred lessons my children have taught me is to let go: let go of expectations, plans…shoulds, coulds and so many many “have too’s”.  My children have taught me that perfectionism isn’t a measure of happiness or success. They have taught me to care as much about my own needs as the needs of others. They have taught me that the stress and anxiety manifested through out my internal being isn’t a desirable trait or a cherished outcome by those I care about most. They have taught me that perfect for them doesn’t have me a wild wreck trying to get every last detail in order. They have convinced me that my stress, no matter what wonderful thing is the  justification, is never a gift for them. They would rather have a relaxed me, than a perfect scenario.

LETTING GO OF OUR ADULT CHILDREN

BY ARLENE HARDER, MA, MFT

A Perfectionist Mother Trying to Do Things Right:

“When I began motherhood, I was fairly liberal politically but fairly rigid in how I viewed my role as parent. This was partly the result of my temperament and partly the consequence of a childhood in which there were many “shoulds,” “oughts,” “rights,” and “wrongs.” Although I didn’t insist on spotless floors and neatly made beds, being a perfectionist permeated many facets of my parenting.

As a child I never questioned whether I was being asked to be perfect; my siblings were also perfectionists in one way or another. Our parents’ high standards left little room to question the reasons for their rules and values – an attitude typical for that generation. When a child was told to jump, she was expected to say, “How high?” and not, “Why?”

As a recovering perfectionist I can see why perfectionism is a common feature of the human character. After all, perfectionists give the best they have to offer. You can generally count on them to do what they say they’ll do, even if it means giving up their own needs to be sure you’re satisfied. On the other hand, I now realize that the standards of perfectionists are usually those others consider “right,” not necessarily those the perfectionist herself would choose – if she could freely follow the dictates of her own heart.”

While raising our most cherished sons and daughters, we teach them to follow their hearts. One of life’s greatest lessons we as their parents/role models/advocates need to learn, is to follow our own…

Rain Again???

February 21, 2011

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

WHAT WOMEN WANT

…oh god!  Wasn’t that the title of Mel Gibson’s movie? Okay, forget Mel…his ex-wife and battered girlfriend are trying to.

What women want. True women. Not girls. We used to be girls and back then our wants were different. Take Mel for example. How many of us wanted Mel? Sat in the theater and listened to that accent accompanied by that rugged charm and imagined ourselves doing the nasty with Mr. Gibson? We were girls. Bad boys had a certain appeal; guys who made us wonder if they would stay the entire night, call again or spend time in prison.

Girls want excitement, thrill, game and uncertainty. Girls wait for the brief attention of a BAD BOY, while letting the GOOD BOY hopelessly dangle. In our household we call this phenomenon EXCITED MISERY.

I admit I had my share. My choices though were more specific. I mooned over the BAD (stupid) BOYS. Bad Stupid Boys are a separate sub-category. These guys are bad; and selfish, often addicted to something. They don’t call cause they can’t remember your name let alone your number and they are definitely serving time.

Now, we women, those of us who have grown up and moved on, want something different. Can we say HELL NO to Mr. Gibson and any of his bad boy brothers? Yes We Can!

I have been blogging for two years. My husband recently submitted his first and only comment on one of my last blogs. The blog itself was decent, but it was his comment that drew the most attention.  He is a man of few words…and even fewer words of bubbling, enthusiastic adoration. This has been a slight issue for us…forever. I am a gusher. He is a quiet, deep in the ground, private rumbler.

So when he publicly gushed, I was shocked. The comments from all of you shocked me as well. Then I realized that this is what women want.  We long for the occasional explosion of public adoration; seeing or hearing words of praise, appreciation and love declared with total abandon for all the world to see. We don’t want stuff. We don’t want Excited Misery. We want to know we matter to those who matter most to us.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day…a day laden with STUFF. My suggestion? Let those who matter most to you know that what you need, what you want is a genuine expression of  how you matter to them.  Feel Free To Have Them POST IT RIGHT HERE, FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE.

I got my best Valentine a couple of days early: 

February 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm e

my partner and brilliant wife…
every time I read one of your posts I am so impressed. I crawl into bed with you every night knowing that I am one lucky man. I hope I will never take that for granted. But, your insight into the world of “feelings” always leaves me speechless…sorry about that. You deserve to know that you make a difference in the world, none more than mine. I am grateful that I get to go thru life with you, side by side.

HELL YES!!!

January 20, 2011

The fear that stops you.

You know when you stumble on to a great idea? Or maybe a surge of confidence, or a step in the direction of your god given gifts…and no sooner are you filled to the brim with possibilities than a dark and damp whisper begins at the very bottom of your soul.

“Who do you think you are; you are ridiculous; everyone will laugh at you; you will never make any money; somebody better will do it and make you look foolish; what have you done to deserve something this good!”

Sound familiar?

I have these amazing human beings in my life. Some as close as a good walk; others a plane, train or automobile trip away. They have inspired me, taught me, loved me, saved me. In their presence I know I am in the company of greatness.

And yet they often struggle with their own greatness; find it hard to move, to carry on, to go forth and change the world as they know they are called to do. They give in to the dark damp voice of DOUBT.

If you believe in evil or not…does it make any sense that just when a magnificent human being is about to make a step forward that will make the world a better place, bring light, hope and encouragement to others, that “evil” says, Hell NO and perhaps uses that dark whisper to stop you in your tracks? End of hope…end of light…end of possibilities.

Time to listen to another voice…one that says…”I can be afraid and hold still, do nothing and live with this fear, or I can hear the voice for what it is and say, Hell Yes?

I choose for them and I choose for me and I choose for you…HELL YES!

http://charliephillips.net/videos/theater-3/nick-vujicic.html

THIS LINK WILL HELP YOU DO JUST THAT…

Raise your hand if you are a giver? One who gives out of your abundance, or from your lack thereof? Doesn’t matter, you give and give and give some more. You cheat your self when there is not enough food to go around; you drink the cheap wine so everybody else can have the good stuff; you give your new clothes to your daughter before they reach the hanger or have the tags removed; give up the front seat; give up time and resources, energy and peace of mind so that those around you are more comfortable…happier…content…safe and sound. Not really a big deal; not really a choice, just a lifestyle.

Well I say BRAVO…you are in good company with most of the females on the planet…

The other day I needed help…not lots, just a skosh….a ride, a snack, an open door. Could I ask…NO NO NO.

Fortunately I was in the company of my surest of SURES; truest of Trues, safest of Safes!

“if you don’t ask me, then I can’t ask you..and If I don’t ask  you , you will go stark raving mad. Here is a chance to save your own sanity.”

Okay, I need a ride.

Better?

Ask.

How many shopping days left?

OMG! … is usually my general state of mind at this point.  It seems no matter how far ahead I plan, or shop, or bake or decorate I am always behind. For as long as I can remember I have been the one descending the stairs with wet hair, struggling to button or zip, while welcoming my family and friends who managed to arrive on time. With the exception of being greeted by a composed hostess, they entered my well designed and executed Christmas “Set”. The tree, the decorations, the perfectly wrapped and terribly thoughtful gifts under the tree; the scents of abundance, candle light and just the right holiday cheer.

I assume I am not alone here when describing the scene. The  cast has arrived, the set is decorated and the performance begins. Usually I am so exhausted and/or stressed out that I am numbed to a great deal of the magic I have worked so hard to create.

Every Christmas Eve since my kids were babies, our family and friends sit down before dinner and listen to my husband attempt to read a lovely little book, A Certain Small Shepard. It is a simple story about a motherless family who tries to make the most of Christmas given the cards they have been dealt. One particular Christmas Eve an unexpected miracle arrives…but instead of being the recipients, they are in-fact the gracious and most generous benefactors

For 30 years we have read the same story and for 30 years there is not a dry eye in the room. My husband always starts, but rarely makes it past the first couple of pages. Seeing his eyes well with tears and a tenderness envelop him have been some of the dearest moments associated with Christmas. The book is then passed to me, and I give it a whirl. On more than one occasion one of the girls takes over, or my father or my beloved nephew. It takes a village to get thru this small work of art. Yet every Christmas Eve we all gather around again to give it another go.

This year I have listened and heard the whispers of my family above the cacophony all around. They don’t want the exquisite set, they want the real thing. They want less and they want to give more to those who really need a hand. They want less wasted food, and more time spent enjoying the simpler food we prepare together.

There is a Certain Small Shepard coming to our house this year, and I want to be fully present. I know most days of the year that what truly matters is the unconditional love I share with family and friends. Somehow though Christmas preparations tend to cloud what I know to be true. This year I want to accept the miracle being given to all who gather; to listen to a simple story, see the aging faces of grandparents light up when surrounded by those most cherished, and realize memories made that are in fact the gifts that we will cherish in years to come.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night…filled with the matters that truly matter to you.

  

 PEEC Presents:  WOMEN LIVING FULLY…INVESTING IN OURSELVES 

 

 Oct. 24 – 27 2010 

Imagine yourself nestled in beautiful, inspiring surroundings, your only goal to rest and indulge in self discovery.  Imagine meeting like-minded women who come prepared to explore the same questions that run through your mind constantly… “Now What?”  …“Who Am I?… 

 “How do I make the most of the life that is ahead of me?”  “…What is it to be a true friend – to have a true friend?”…“What matters the most to me at this time in my life?”… “How can I  make a difference in the world?” 

PEEC (Pocono Environmental Education Center, Dingman’s Ferry, PA www.peec.org) is holding this, their  first annual Women’s Retreat, and have invited  inspiring authors, experts in their field and other speakers who will gather to explore all of those questions and more. 

We all know that our lives and daily choices are best governed by ourmost deeply held values, beliefs and priorities.  Yet there is much to distract and dilute even our best of intentions.  This glorious three-day women’s retreat offers you the opportunity to reconnect with that which is most important to you and find new ways to live that are reflective of who you are and what your value.  This is an experience dedicated to women’s complete well being, both individuallyand collectively. 

 You will be inspired by award winning and internationally published authors and other experts, including: Amy Ferris: Marrying George Clooney: Confessions of a Midlife Crisis –   

 Kristine Van Raden & Molly Davis (www.mattersthatmatter.com) : Letters to Our Daughters  

 Monica Holloway Monica Holloway – Cowboy & Willis;  Driving with Dead People, and others.  

Gregory Anne Cox of  midlifewithavengeance.com 

Robyn Hatcher, Amy Litzenberger, Hollye Dexter…and more! 

This one of a kind retreat will provide an insightful and inspiring program highlighting the things that are vital to women in mid-life, and encourage living life to the fullest.  Topics range from living authentic and meaningful lives, financial well being, health and wellness to the need for women to move beyond competition and towards mutual support, completion and collaboration. 

Believing that learning can be a collaborative and supportive experience,  all offerings will be participatory and introspective, inspiring and challenging.  Sessions will include a combination of teaching, discussion and thoughtfully designed writing and thinking exercises. You will write, rest, eat amazing food, drink great wine, voice your ideas and opinions, reflect, rest and renew. You may even be cast as a character in the new play Common Threads…interested? REGISTER SOON, AS SPACE IS LIMITED 

  

You are invited to participate in an experience that will both inspire you and allow you to inspire others.   

Space is limited.  

Cost is $560. which includes lodging, meals and all workshops & activities.  

To register:  Call – 570-828-2319 and ask to register for Women Living Fully

Inspired

June 18, 2010

What is it about women? Those who see hurt and lend a hand…those who see pain and lend a shoulder, those who see possibility and commit to a cherished outcome? Where do they come from? How do they know that there is enough for everyone and thrive in generosity?I am surrounded by those women and inspired.

“When we are mindful, we notice that another person suffers. The other person may be a husband, a wife, or a child. If one person suffers, that person needs to talk to someone in order to get relief. We have to offer our presence, and we have to listen deeply to the other person who is suffering. That is the practice of love–deep listening. But if we are full of anger, irritation, and prejudices, we don’t have the capacity to listen deeply to the people we love. If people we love cannot communicate with us, then they will suffer more. Learning how to listen deeply is our responsibility. We are motivated by the desire to relieve suffering. That is why we listen. We need to listen with all our heart, without intention to judge, condemn, or criticize. And if we listen in that way for one hour, we are practicing true love. We don’t have to say anything; we just need to listen.      “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”    –Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you Quma Learning & Dennis Deaton