Please Listen to Me

I write every now and then about Right Speech practice and especially how I love the aspect of Right Listening. This is some great insightful stuff.

Living, Learning and Letting Go

When I started my psychotherapy practice in 1987, I hung a poster titled “Please Listen to Me” on my group room wall. Even though it is no longer on the wall, I think of the content often. I believe it contains important information for everyone, but might be especially helpful to those of you who are participating in this week’s Challenge for Growth prompt.

Please Listen to Me

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

All I ask is that you…

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Reminiscing, finding threads…

I finished putting together my playlist — took a few things off the original list and finally found my way to a missing thread I’d had trouble remembering and finding.  Been listening to the playlist quite a bit.  [I’ve not been able to get Spotifiy’s embed codes to actually embed the list, but you can get it here.]

Part of my criteria for the list was everything had to be from the era in the 70’s when I was in college and graduate school and hanging out with hippies.  The original impetus came while listening to someone’s playlist of  current stuff and remembering how much music at that time was influenced by folk and country and fused in various ways with rock.  In the end I’m not sure whether anyone else would find a line from my list to the list that inspired mine…

I felt like there was a thread to follow musically speaking but as I trailed the music and then really listened to it, I found other threads as well.

Much of the music was so familiar when I encountered it again, but I’d not listened to it in years.  Quite a few came to me originally as recommendations from friends and I liked the music at the time but listened to it a lot for a while and then not again.  Those old songs brought dear friends to mind but didn’t have strong emotional associations.

Some of the music was stuff I adored at the time and listened to so much I can still sing every word.  And I realized with a giggle how much of it was sad, depressive stuff.  At that stage of my life melodrama ruled and I especially loved to wallow in melancholy, listening to sad love songs, etc.  Even though some of the music is great and stands the test of time quite well, I’m just not such a drama queen any more nor do I enjoy wallowing so I tend not to listen to such music.

What a long road I’ve traveled from that melancholy girl, pining for some imagined fairy tale prince who was never coming…

The Universe decided to do a little orchestrating so I suddenly received a long letter a couple of days ago from my college roommate and long-time friend after she’d been silent for five or more years.  It felt so amazing to hear from her in the midst of listening to this music and noting a number of the recordings were things she played in our apartment all the time.

Another piece involved so many memories of the magic of those times.  I loved being a hippie (not sure I ever stopped :-) ) and hanging out with my friends.  Loved our fervor for changing the world, our thirst to know how things really worked…

Central to all that at Northwestern in those days was Amazingrace Coffeehouse, started by some of the hippies a class or two ahead of me during my freshman year.  They started with local Chicago scene folk singers in a basement in the old student union and then were given their own small building (ironically the former ROTC headquarters), at which point the parade of talent grew broader in scope and brought in small-scale national talent as well.

So much about this thread of folk/country/rock fusion traces back to acts I saw there, recordings my friends from that scene introduced me to, etc.  And I see the start of the path I’m still on as starting there.  I alternate between moments of teary-eyed nostalgia and pleasure at seeing the growth since then and how it really started there.

Some years back a friend from those days who’s still a little more cynical and strident, as we were then, and a little uncomfortable with my path, asked me what got me started on this spiritual journey given where we used to be. I thought for a moment and told him that I see this as the natural progression from the longing for peace and justice we had then.  The only thing that shifted is that I no longer believe in a revolution in the streets, I believe in a revolution in our hearts.

Otherwise, the same longing for a better and more peaceful world still drives me…  I have more to say about a couple of these threads so there will be more…

And seguing back to the music, I’m still a little sad about losing my recordings of so much of that great Chicago music –most of which never made the upgrade to CD or MP3 — and that I was unable to include any but a couple of Steve Goodman recordings (thank goodness for those!).  I really wished that I could find a way to put up some Redwood Landing, a long time fave of mine.

Several years ago Amazingrace had a 40 year reunion week full of concerts in the Chicago area, including a reunion of Redwood Landing for what they claimed would be their final concert.  I got to go and was able to buy a couple of CDs, so I do have that music but I couldn’t figure out any way to get it on here.  But trying to figure it out led me to discover that someone filmed the reunion concert and there are lots of clips on YouTube, so I can’t resist closing out by sharing some of their great music:


Playlists and fun and peace time…

Liz over at, has been posting playlists for a while now.  As part of my try-new-things writing and playlist listening venture (see post for the first part of the story), I’ve listened to a couple of her lists and one of them (I forgot to note it, so I’m just guessing it was this one)* sparked my own list creation adventure.

I’d not heard of pretty much any of the artists nor the songs, but I found the general style reminding me of a lot of music from the 70’s that fused folk and rock, country and rock, folk and country…  I started hunting around on Spotify and wound up creating my own list.

Part of the fun arose from the fact that, while these were all artists and tunes I liked at the time, most of these fell by the wayside for me as I grew older.  While I still listen often to the old Bonnie Raitt and Carole King recordings, many of these folks I’d not listened to since, say, 1975…

A little bit of not so fun was that some of the lesser known artists –particularly a number of Chicago folks who recorded on small labels — have not had their work switched to CD nor digital formats and so are unavailable on Spotify or, in some cases, at all.  Since much of my old record collection was wiped out in a basement flood about 10 years ago, it’s disheartening to realize my old Chicago faves and a few others won’t be replaced.

Back on the enjoyment front, it was so fun to hear all these tunes I’d just about forgotten.  The list will probably change as I need a few more listens to decide if some material should be pulled off and given a different playlist.  And I might add to it…  But the current version can be found here.  It’s best listened to with “shuffle” as I just made my stream-of-consciousness way from one group or artist to another, sometimes prompted by Spotify’s suggestion of similar artists and sometimes sparked by one artist to think of another; I stuck them on the list as I found them.

Liz, btw, very kindly types up a list of songs and artists and puts it in her posts along with the link to the Spotify list.  I’m way too lazy.  If there’s a way to copy and paste the list from Spotify, I have yet to crack the code.  And I’m too lazy to figure it out :-)

Two pieces I really wanted to have on the list and couldn’t find on Spotify were from the late Mimi Farina (with Tom Jans) and the original (pre Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham) Fleetwood Mac, whose album, Bare Trees, has long been a favorite, with Sentimental Lady high on my list of all-time favorite songs.

This little writing and listening practice has had a wonderful side effect.  I’m so energized when I finish that I’ve been doing yoga or riding my exercise bike afterward and then I feel drawn to do the Ego Eradicator and sing chants.  It winds up being an hour to an hour-and-a-half of renewal/me time and I can’t express how much it’s doing for me.  And if on any day I’d told myself I had to start spending that much time at once it never would have happened.  All arose because I was willing to spend 15 minutes writing and listening to music…

In the meantime, it’s Sunday — don’t forget to find some time to BE PEACE.

*Not sure that anyone listening to her list will see how I got from it to mine — I think it might be one of those you have to be in my head things :-)

now there comes a time (audio poetry 3:06)

be whole now

For the last couple of months I have been bringing through
images of angels. This one is “Grounding Angel.”

Grounding Angel Drawing

There comes a time when you will meet your self in a new way
You will not be who you were, and who you are right now
may also be but a temporary situation
What you once believed
you can no longer embrace,
Company you once enjoyed,
may now feel scratchy and out of tune
Without warning, you may find yourself aghast
at your surroundings and your daily routines
Your body will ask for food not in your cupboard –
more greens, more yellow, more orange
Your skin will yearn for a new environment –
more sun, more rain, more trees, more canyons
Whose life am I living now? you may wonder

Cracking and crumbling, outworn ideas and patterns
will evaporate and leave you feeling untethered for a time
How you…

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Working on a new normal


A few months ago I wrote about trying to do both (1) some different things and (2) more in general.  I’ve been in quite a rut over the last few years of struggling with my unwinding muscles and their serious disruption of sleep.

It’s been an up and down process.  With every spell of sleep deprivation, I lose the will to do more or try new activities.  But the first steps in getting moving created so much more energy and overall sense of well-being, I keep pushing myself to get out more, create new grooves, etc. whenever I’m feeling well enough.

So it was interesting when I took Linda’s suggestion (litebeing post here) to watch Matt Kahn’s video, Energy Upgrade.  One of the main things he emphasized was how change, even in a small thing, creates energy upgrades.  The best way to create a new life/new you is to keep saying yes to new things.

I got a kick out of realizing that my little forays out of the house or into trying new things felt so good because I was upgrading my energy.  Here I thought it just felt good to get out of my rut.  I guess it’s both.  So now I’m making more of a point of changing it up.  I’ve had a couple of days lately when I didn’t feel great and didn’t much want to get ready and go out but made myself run an errand and felt so much better for being out and about.

I’ve been talking for a while about getting back to writing longhand.  And feeling drawn to spend more time hanging out on our sun porch.  Then, the other day, when Mimi over at Manger posted a Spotify playlist that looked pretty good, I first thought I’d probably not get around to listening to it.  Just because I usually never do.  Which led me to think about how many playlists I’ve passed up mainly because I’m in this rut that doesn’t have a space in it for checking out playlists.

Putting the three together, I’ve started taking my Transformer tablet (for Spotify), a writing pad and a pen out to the sun porch for 15 minutes of timed writing while listening to a playlist (it already turned into a longer stretch, but my commitment is just 15, making it easy to carve a space for it) .  Really liked the jazzy 50’s mood of the first–Manger– playlist.  The next one I tried was full of songs and artists I’d never heard of and much of it was country stuff I didn’t much like, but even though I kept jumping forward to the next song and the next to get past tunes I didn’t care for, I heard a few new things I did like.  Whether I liked them or not, I could feel the opening from just being willing to hear some new material.

I’ve also made a promise to myself that this doesn’t have to be a daily practice.  In general I’ve been in the mood to keep changing things.  I’ve been back to exercising more, but instead of settling on one or two things to do regularly I’ve been switching around amongst many favorites from hatha yoga to kundalini yoga to the Eight Key Breaths, to my exercise bike, etc. (which, btw, I started some time before I saw the video).

And that’s what I’m drawn to in general right now–do the meditation or exercise or new thing that springs to consciousness each day without worrying about consistency or frequency.  The ups and downs of muscles and sleep occasionally still interfere with keeping a schedule; I find it less defeating to avoid making myself promises about regularly scheduled activities.  But for right now, I like my little writing practice/playlist, sun porch time so I plan to continue.  At least until I have some other new direction to try…

My big take away on this is that each small decision to do one tiny thing that’s new or different can carve a path out of a stuck place.  I find, when particularly stuck, that if I think too big (which doesn’t have to be really all that big) I become paralyzed, which roots me more deeply in the stuck place.  But I can decide to go sit on the porch.  Or to listen to a playlist.  Or to go run an errand to make myself get out of the house.  And those little things give me such a boost.  The more little steps, the more I feel I can move forward.  And the more I feel my energy upgrading :-)

J2P Monday: semi-break

Bright sun

Since I started the series of ruminations on health and environment, I’ve struggled a bit.  This is one of a growing number of arenas in which I have a very strong “knowing” and a lot of feeling tones about connections but I don’t have words for the feelings.  It’s been hard to write these posts and when I started trying to write one for today, it just wouldn’t come together.

A couple of questions that kept drifting through my mind:

For those who would never think of littering the ground or dumping toxins into a river, are you just as careful about what you put in your body?

For those who fight to preserve wilderness, save streams, clean the air, etc., do you fight as hard for yourself?  for your body?  for your eternal spirit?

Do you want to save yourself as much as you want to save the world?

J2P Monday: Judging and the environment

English: Heart and Earth

English: Heart and Earth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve noticed over the years (I started recycling, etc. 45 years ago, so lots of years) that environmentalism seems to produce more and more self-righteous folks who decide what you should do and how you should live if you’re a “good environmental citizen” and then look around and judge others on whether they’re “doing it right” or not.

Beyond just pointing fingers at other people, there’s even more finger-pointing about whether governments or corporations are being responsibly green.  There’s something about this issue that lends itself to feeling righteous about the right and wrong of it.  So even among people who say they’re living by principles of not judging, being compassionate and loving, etc., there’s still a lot of righteous judging when it comes to this issue.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the context of how our behavior affects the earth (see earlier post).  A couple of threads keep showing up for me.  One is about how it affects the world when people by the millions are constantly borderline hysterically repeating over and over “we’re destroying the world”, “the world is dying”, “the air is poisoned”, etc.  Does it help to keep affirming those things or does it create more of what is being affirmed?  I’ll revisit that one in some future post.

The other thread involves people judging one another (including me eyeing them for doing it…) and the underlying reasons behind such strong feelings of fright and/or outrage.  And how all those issues impact the health of Earth.

  • Is it only fear of “the end of the world” that drives feelings about this issue?  What lies beneath?
  • Why the fear that “others” will cause destruction by the doing or not doing of certain things?  Do we feel a lack of control in the world?  Over our own lives?  That others have power over us and what happens to us?  What’s the source of feeling powerless?
  • Do you offer your own body and health the same intensity of feeling that you feel toward the dis-ease of the earth?  If not why not?
  • Do you feel the same lack of power or control over your own body that you feel regarding the health of the world?
  • Do you feel the same love for yourself that you feel for the earth?  Do you feel worthy of being loved that much… by yourself?  by others?

So many possible ways to heal with ho’oponopono or whatever method of healing you prefer.

  • For all the ways in which I judge others about anything, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For loving what’s “out there” more than I love myself, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For the fears within that I haven’t addressed, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For not loving myself as much as I give love to people and things outside me, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For all the ways in which I do not feel the love around me and for me, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For all that I have not healed within me, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For all the ways in which I fail to offer love instead of judging, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you