Last weekend was my annual garden party. It's a "ladies only" affair. We do crazy girl stuff, like eating decadent food that we shouldn't, have costume contests, listen to chick music from "back in the day" (1960's) and talk, and talk and talk..
This year, the party had a different kind of feel. Each year has it's own flavor, depending on the mix of folks, and the weather. Rain was the back drop this time and while you would think it would put a damper on things, it didn't. Instead it made for a smaller group with a more intimate feel and here's the deal, PEOPLE LISTENED.
Once again, I sat in awe of the women around me, sharing their life stories. I was reminded of this thought that I have told my children for years, "Everyone has a story, and that story, their history, has shaped them and made them into who they have become."
We choose how we allow that to happen in our lives. We can be a victim or a victor. We can hang on to the negative or rise above it. OR, we can ignore those things that we've experienced and refuse to acknowledge that any of our past has affected us. But in the end, every one of us has a story.
What happened on this recent rainy, intimate, Saturday was one of those times that I sat in the middle of a group of women and marveled at their experiences and who they have become because of them. I'm blown away by their strength, their character, and overwhelmed at the privilege of sitting in their presence in that sacred moment. We have experienced loss, poverty, illness, abuse and moves to and from other countries. We've experienced marriage and divorce. We've changed careers, gone back to school, we've seen our kids through illness or other trauma's and we have lost our parents "...AND STILL WE RISE !" *(Maya Angelou)
I marvel that women still get up every morning and choose to put one foot in front of the other and keep going..and going..and going!
So, the next time you are with your lady friend, stop yourself, be present and listen. Just listen to WHERE SHE CAME FROM. Listen to her telling you WHO SHE IS. ALLOW yourself to be engulfed by the beauty of that miraculous creature and HER STORY and the HISTORY OF TOWANDATUDE IN HER LIFE.
I don't know if you are like me. I make little lists of things I want to improve in myself. These are some things I'm trying to be more diligent about and implement in my own world. While I have not mastered this BY A LONG SHOT, I'm trying hard to be a better listener. Here's a formula for hearing some awesomeness and really knowing someone else.
3).LET IT BE ALL ABOUT THEM.
4).Try not to think of what you are going to say next while someone else is speaking, really listen.
5). Don't try and "one-up". Just listen, drink in the words of another. Think of the person who is speaking, and what a privilege it is to be invited into this moment, to hear their story.
6).Don't start a 'sideline' conversation with your neighbor while someone else is speaking. (this one is a pet peeve friends have told me really urks them)