Monthly Archives: September 2013

Active Listening

A little Birdie Told Me (click here!)

Sometimes when I am talking to someone and I am really needing them to hear me and my perspective, I can feel them waiting to jump in with their advice before they really even understand where I am coming from.

I have been on both sides of this conversation.  I have been interrupted many times with a solution that I didn’t ask for and if they had taken the time to really hear me, they would know this didn’t fit.   I have also been guilty of wanting to fix the problem for someone else, jumping in myself with the answer and seeing the disappointment when they hadn’t been heard.

I strive to be a good listener.  Mostly people just want to be heard.  They want us to know how they suffer and how they struggle with their inner demons and outer demands.  Mostly people want to hear, “That sucks!” or “Wow, that sounds really hard.”  before they can hear any kind of helpful ideas.

When we listen, we really listen, we hear our loved ones pain.  We can see their inner child reaching out for compassion.  Their words tell a beautiful story.  If you can hear the specific words a person chooses, you can see their perspective.  You can see what drives them.  If you listen closely, you can hear how they talk to themselves.  Sometimes that is very sad.

Nothing is more irritating than the husband who is pretending to listen.  Many scenarios follow, but I don’t like any of them.  One, he agrees to something he has no idea he just agreed to.  Two, you can tell he is not listening by the one syllable responses, the monotone voice or the dazed look in his eyes.  A big clue is when he is falling asleep when you are talking.

I learned a long time ago, when my daughter was a teeny bopper, if she was having  a tantrum, she just wanted to be heard.  She didn’t want any logical perspective or advice.  She just wanted to hear that it sucked and for me to mirror her anger or despair.  I could spend an hour trying to talk sense into her and she would get more and more frustrated, or I could listen and say almost nothing and she would calm down and figure out the perfect solution for herself.

Whew!  It took me a long time to learn that.  My husband taught me that.  When she would be laying on her bed crying, he would go in there and lay next to her, put his arm around her and not say a word.  Pretty soon, she would stop crying and all would be well.  That was a powerful lesson for me.

Nowadays, I try to be a good listener and catch myself before I interrupt.  Hmm… maybe the next one can be about the difference between being “hard of hearing” or “hard of listening”.  😉

Big Brothers

blades-of-glory underwear shotMy older brother was the craziest kid around.  He tortured me unconditionally, made me the tough girl that I am today.  He would sit on top of me with a spit ball hanging from his mouth.  It would s t r e t c h really long, I’d be screaming…  Then quick!  He would suck it up.  Gross!  Especially when he didn’t suck it up fast enough and it landed on my eye.  Ewe!  “Me eye!   Me eye!  I can’t see!”

Then it would be time for a tickle fest.  Tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle… You see where I am going here?  How could I not pee my pants?  Then, to shut me up, I might need a dirty, stinky sock stuffed into my mouth!  Or perhaps a great, aromatic fart 1 inch from my nose!

Ya, he was great.  He was really funny when he was trying to impress my girlfriends.  One time, he had his bathrobe on and my friends were over.  You know that Prince song that says, “I got a lion in my pocket and baby, it’s ready to ROAR?”  Well, that was my brother!  He had on these guy bikini underwear with a lion’s face on the crotch.  He would fling open his robe in front of my friends and say, “ROARRRRR!”  They thought he was funny, but I was horrified.  “MA!!!”  She was of no help.  She was laughing so hard, she had tears all over her face.

Then there was the ceremonious lighting of the farts.  Are you familiar with Blue Darts?  Well, it truly is a great past time to light your farts.  As long as you have farts, you have something fun to do.  Careful!  Be sure to keep your underwear on, even if it is a mankini!  My brother decided it would be way more cool to light his fart without his underwear on.  A very dangerous decision indeed!

He lit that sucker and that’s exactly what happened.  The flame followed the fart cloud and got sucked right into his butt!  He was howling in pain!  That was another time Mother and now sister were of no assistance.   We were busy laughing and crying.  Terrible!  He really was in pain!   Really kids, don’t try this at home!

Besides, don’t you know that when you smell a fart, you really are breathing tiny particles of poo into your nose!  Gross!!

lion roaring

Let’s Talk About HUMOR

laughing faces                             hands over mouth laughing faces

At this point in my life, I really believe a good sense of humor is one of the most important qualities to have.  Looking back on my marriage, our humor got us out of all kinds of stress and pain.  Humor has always been a healing balm in our family and helped us get through many hard times.

Humor was there to soften the blow when we lost our house and our business.  Humor was there with lost jobs, injuries, and deaths.  Humor was there with us to raise the kids and make them more cooperative.   Humor stood by our sides like a life long friend always there to help us swallow that bitter pill.  Humor was present when we were afraid.

When we can laugh at ourselves and feel free to be silly, we free our bodies and minds from stress.  It reminds us that laughing can lighten the load and just because things might not be the way we want them, doesn’t mean it is all bad.

Just the other night, I had to take my daughter to the emergency.  I knew she was scared and her stress was making things worse.  So, I made sure to make her laugh.  It really did help her to stay calm so she could hear what the Dr. had to say.  When the Dr. was explaining the sphincter was weak and not functioning properly, at the expense of letting the Dr. think I was a complete idiot, I said in a very serious voice, “Oh boy, you better do some kegels on that thing!”.    My daughter started laughing and you could feel the stress begin to evaporate.

I think that soulfully infused should be a thought provoking blog.  But, I also think that it should have crazy humor that makes you laugh out loud and cover your mouth with surprise!  I don’t want to offend anyone, but I believe that raunchy humor is part of a healthy, soulful life!

I have a story all ready to post about my brother when we were kids…  I just wanted to preface that entry with this post about a good sense of humor…  I hope you like it…  🙂

“In order not to offend, we render ourselves and our lives humorless.  How dull.  I think it might be helpful to remember that our humor adds color to a world gone grey with inattention.” ~ Anne Wilson Schaef

Obama laughing




Psst… Come join me in my secret garden.


When you are in the garden…”One doesn’t have to answer the phone.” ~Donna Tartt

When I was a little girl, I hated gardening!  It was a chore that we would have to do on the weekends and my Dad would always come out for “inspection”.  “You missed a spot here and there…” he would say in a critical tone.  He would never say what looked good.  Only that you had more to do.  I hated those days.

When I shared my business, my partner, Mary, told me I had to help garden the front of our massage center.  I was not happy!  But she taught me and helped me find the JOY that many people love about gardening.

Now, almost every weekend I can be found in my garden.  It’s my sacred space where my brain softens and my heart soars.  Each day, you can see a leaf uncurling here, a bud opening there.  It’s therapeutic sitting amongst the birds and bees.  (Maybe even the spiders, I am wearing gloves!)  I work out problems in the garden, come to peace with things that are out of my control and put things into perspective.

All that digging, trimming and pulling is so metaphoric for how we shape our lives as we go about grooming the present for a more pleasing and soul full future.

I have medicinal herbs that I grow and turn into healing medicine.  I learned from an herbal medicine course and then I took it to the garden and learned from seeds to plants, season after season, made into teas and tinctures and capsules.   I love to help my loved ones to heal.  (Two legged and four legged alike.)

I have beautiful flowers and a few fruits and veggies here and there.  It is so hard to grow a beautiful, healthy garden that is completely organic!  But, I would rather pinch off aphids and get snails at night by flashlight then subject my garden, family, medicine and the earth with chemicals.

It is symbolic of my journey to become more and more pure in my spirit, as my garden has become my oasis year after year with my loving care.

Happy Gardening!  If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for seeds or babies!

“…just a tender sense of my own inner process, that holds something of my connection with the Divine.” ~ Shelley


Gardening is like free counseling. Gardening is so peaceful and grounding.  Ahh…  it’s so beautiful and exciting.  You get down there, close to the ground… the dirt smells good, the herbs and flowers smell good.  The bees are buzzing. The little critters are around – cool as long as your gloves are on!  You see up close the leaves uncurling and the buds opening up. Every day it looks different.  The dogs and cats follow you around, curious about what you are doing.  Sometimes they like to pee in the hole you just dug!  Sometimes you kneel or put your hand in dog crap. Oh yea, that is not cool.

When I am gardening, it’s like the Brown Easter Egg Hunt that you don’t want to participate in.  Grab a weed, pull it towards you – “Oh look, squished dog crap!” Kneel down, get close to your work, “Ewe, what’s that smell?” Eye level poo.  Oops, squashed pancake poo on your knee.  Oops poo on the shoe.  Or shoe poo for short.  I garden and drag around a poo bag. 



Keepin’ It Real!


Photo taken by Tammy @Coastside Photography

“There’s always a little truth behind every ‘Just kidding’.

There’s always a little knowledge behind every ‘I don’t know’. 

There’s always a little emotion behind  ‘I don’t care’.” ~ Unknown

I saw this quote on Face Book the other day and it has been quite thought provoking.  Why do we think white lies are okay?  Why can’t we tell the truth?  Instead of mischieviously joking to get our point across in a passive aggressive way, why can’t we consciously say what needs to be said?  I like to use the “sandwich” method by truthfully saying something nice/loving and then talk respectfully about the problem and then say something nice again.  I try to use my words masterfully with the right timing and language so that I can be heard.

Sometimes saying “I don’t know.” is easier than explaining myself.  Sometimes I don’t want to voice my opinion or I am still figuring it out.  For me, I remember emotions and the basics of the facts.  I hear everything out, make my own decision and know that it’s right for me.  If I am questioned later about it, I can’t remember the details to back up my stance on the subject, so sometimes I say “I don’t know”.

When someone says, “I don’t care.”  I never believe them!  Even when it’s me that said it!  😉  I think “I don’t care.” holds BIG emotion.  When I say I don’t care (especially to my husband), that’s when I am thinking, “You have all the clues, figure it out for yourself!”  Basically I think when someone says they don’t care, if we care, we have the opportunity to try to lovingly draw it out for them and let them know that we care and we want them to care too.  We care about their feelings and their well-being.

I try to think before I speak and I try to make sure that people know I value them and that I care.  If I screw up, there is always the next chance to make it right or say sorry if necessary.

“Whatever foul mud might lie at the bottom of my private pond, it supports some healthy and useful growths.” ~ Claire Heimel

“It worries me that people see pain as an alien thing.  There won’t be any poetry written soon if everyone’s on an even keel.”  ~ Susan Sarandon