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Resolution #1: Listening In

January 6, 2010

This is not chaos by Lisa Kattenbraker

I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.–Pearl S. Buck

I have been thinking long and hard about how I want to transform my life and habits in 2010. So it’s taken me a while to figure out the 6 changes I want to focus on, but this one I know for sure is numero uno: LISTEN.

I have been working on my listening skills for a few years because I know for a fact I was once really bad at listening, so I have been actively, intentionally working on it. My bff, Randall said once upon a time that I was the best listener he knew (I think his assessment may have changed when we lived in the same town for 6 months last year!). Now, I may have gotten a little better at it over the years, but I need lots and lots of work. (Here is where my husband nods emphatically).

My resolution focus is more on Listening In because this past year was pretty hectic with moving to a whole new world (from the Northwoods of WI to the metro area of Columbus, OH), starting new jobs with my freelancing/music/teaching stuff here and here and here and here, and all the insanity and excitement that comes with relocating a family of 4 across the country.

So listening in, which is also the title of a great song by my friend Nate, means specifically turning inward to that “still, small voice.” I have a wonderful teacher who once told me that Life is Meaningful, It Just Takes Practice and as I saw this past year, more than ever, it is extremely vital to practice listening inward, especially when it is hardest to do so.

So I slacked on my meditation practice this past year, no biggie, I am picking up where I left off and renewing the commitment to practice meditation once a day, starting with 10 minutes. In fact, this morning my kids fought over the timer and climbed all over my lap during those 10 minutes I sat, because I woke too late and was determined to sit anyway. I think in the middle of the sitting I actually yelled at them to stop fighting! CLASSIC! Well, who ever said meditation was pretty? Or peaceful? I don’t think those people ever really tried it .. .

I am a working mom, wife, creative, entrepreneur who tries to fit it all in, and meditation is no different. But meditation is also imperative to my well-being, I have found. I have studied in online classes with Buddhamom author Jacqueline Kramer of The Hearth Foundation for many years and love her take on meditation, mindfulness, and motherhood. And as my friend Lisa so aptly describes in her visual batik poetry above


How do you listen in? Let me know your thoughts!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2010 5:06 pm

    sweet entry – useful, real, helpful reminder.

    and nope, nothing changed. you’re still the best listener i know. you being a better listener makes me concerned that you’re closer to nirvana than i thought – we should maybe see each other before you achieve instant satori.

    love you,

    • heidihowes permalink*
      January 6, 2010 5:10 pm

      LOL! You are the best!

  2. Nate permalink
    January 6, 2010 5:36 pm

    Wonderful, Heidi! You caught my attention with the title. 🙂 I’m glad to know that you’re going to work harder on “catching the wo-ids from a distance!” ;P

  3. LaughnDream permalink
    January 6, 2010 5:39 pm

    Good stuff, Heidi – thanks for all the sharing! “Listening in” definitely belongs in the number one slot — I find when I forget to do that, then everything else is for naught. It’s amazing how much there is to hear, when we do tune in, isn’t it? Paying attention to dreams is one way we do that, too, I think….

    Another favorite “listening” phrase I try to employ is “listening FOR” — kind of like setting an open-ended intention with regards to listening. Internally, I might listen for truth or clarity. When listening for in dialogue with others, it helps when I intentionally listen FOR their greatness or light (without such intention it seems I often listen for their issues or wrong-ness! ha!).

    I’m inspired by your blog resolution – to post at least once per week. I think I’ll play, too!


    • heidihowes permalink*
      January 11, 2010 4:01 am

      Can’t wait to read your new posts, Robin! And I am listening for the messages too!

  4. January 6, 2010 6:38 pm

    I eavesdrop on conversations held on the bus or at the table next to me when dining out. This kind of listening can be useful as a type of divination practice. It’s interesting how often overheard bits and scraps of other peoples talk relates to my own inner experiences.

  5. Doug permalink
    January 7, 2010 12:30 pm

    Your meditation description reminded me of when I took a parent-child meditation class with my kids when they were in kindergarten and 3rd grade. More stressful than rush hour traffic. I recall the futility of hissing “Sit down and think” at my son as he threw the yoga mat at his sister…

  6. January 7, 2010 9:55 pm

    I had one of the girls on my back and the other by my side doing yoga yesterday. When I meditate, like you say, I’m suddenly a bean bag to jump on. Kids are so fun…sometimes

    • heidihowes permalink*
      January 11, 2010 4:03 am

      Wow, James, I am so glad to know I am not the only one with this, er, problem!

  7. Judith aka juju permalink
    January 13, 2010 9:43 pm

    Really hard to do a lot of the time! It is so tempting to be formulating your response to what is being said. And then important things get missed and you have to start all over again. The Power of Now helps me stay in the moment when I can remember it!

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