REFLECTION: Many of you are smack dab in the busiest years of your lives – with work, family and community obligations filling your hours and days. In mid-life when you find yourself trapped in the midst of the busyness, it can be a challenge to reach out for help.
A couple of years ago, I dropped in for a visit with my dear Aunt Eileen. At over 80 years (or at any age for that matter) Eileen was one of the most loving, supportive and accepting individuals I’ve ever known. By that time in her life, she had lost her husband, faced several health challenges, and after a lifetime away, relocated to her home province. Here she was surrounded by family, but short on friends. In a word, she was lonely.
As we shared a cup of coffee that day, she read my face and asked, “What’s wrong?” Although I hadn’t intended to burden her with my woes, it wasn’t long before I found myself spilling all. She listened with care, commiserated, and offered a positive perspective on how things might unfold for the best. It lifted my heart considerably.
As we hugged goodbye at the door, I expressed my appreciation for her ear and shoulder. Her reply? “Thanks for sharing your problems. It made me feel useful.”
ACTION: I’ve thought a lot about that exchange.
It seems to me that in shielding others from the tough truths of our lives, we rob ourselves of a chance to receive the kind of genuine support and caring that could lift our spirits and give us strength to carry on.
We also rob those around us (friends, family and colleagues) of the opportunity to act from their best selves – to play an important and supportive mentoring role in our lives.
It’s these kind of honest exchanges that cement relationships and build community. In times of stress and challenge, what could be better than that?
With whom might you share the truths of your life today?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” – Dogen
MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL: It’s been a couple of years since I offered this Mother’s Day Special. Give a Mom (or yourself) the gift of ideas – a trio of my books – one copy each of Press Pause…Press On, WorkTips, and HomeTips for $45 (shipping and taxes included) – a total saving of 25%. For more detailed info on the three books see: http://www.patkatz.com/old/resources/books.shtml
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: It’s easiest to speak life’s truth to someone who is a great listener. Eileen was just that kind of person. She’d have chuckled at the story at the beginning of this article on The Forgotten Art of Listening by Ed Brodow: http://www.brodow.com/Articles/ArtOfListening.html
READERS WRITE: In response to an earlier Pause message on Paying Attention, reader PM writes: “Thanks so much for yesterday’s inspirational message. As usual, it was right on the money. As I was walking across the University bridge on my way to work this morning, I had a great chance to see that the ice is melting and hear that the birds have arrived back for summer. It was just great to smell the spring air. It is amazing the effect this has on a person’s psyche.”