Friday, December 18, 2015

Do you hear what I hear?

We all have our favorite quotes. By far, the one that has stuck with me the most, and that I think of most often is one I heard the first time from Tony Robbins at an Unleash the Power Within weekend. I don't think he was the original "author" but I attribute it to him as it's his voice I hear when I think of it. 

Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.
This week, I hosted the 2nd annual Inspiration Awards for the Chicago Chapter of Over 40 Females.  It is definitely my favorite event of the year. I can't plan for all the fun crazy moments that come out of the little awards I make up based on what I hear over the year. 

Only this past year was it brought to my attention that this is my gift. I hear people say they things they don't even say out loud. I don't claim to have any magical ability or anything, I just think I pay more attention than most people. 

I'm so thankful that I learned the art and skill of active listening so that I can be fully present in the company of some of the most amazing people I have ever met. It is amazing what you can learn and appreciate from those around you if you only stop to listen. 

Listening tips which are great this time of year (and pretty much always) when you're at lots of parties and gatherings. 

1. Let go of your agenda.
2. Stop waiting for a moment to share that great story, the moment will come or it won't.
3. Don't look over the other person's shoulder at everything else going on in the room.
4. Allow yourself to take in what the other person is sharing with you, all of it. The words, the tone, the timber, the thoughts and the emotions behind it. People say SO much more than the mere words convey, it's easy to miss half the conversation if you're not focused.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What do the Holidays Mean For You?

My immediate family is pretty small. I have 1 sister, my Mother has 1 sister and my Father has 2 brothers and a half brother. When I was growing up, I had the joyful blessing of spending the holidays with my extended family. 
My maternal Grandma was one of 8 siblings, and most of those had more than 2 children, so my Mother has loads of cousins. I had the extreme blessing of my Great Grandma until I was 18 years of age (something rather unheard of) and so until she passed, we had a huge family holiday celebration at her home. 
For me, that came to define the holidays. Family. Optimally, lots of family crammed in a home that just barely large enough to contain them all. 

After my Great Grandma passed away, the celebrations got smaller as we didn't get together with my Mom's cousins any longer, but now I had 2 cousins and we still had that warm family feeling. Over the years, we had a few different iterations of inviting friends that were like family to join one holiday meal or another. 

Time changes as all things do, and I remain the "last man standing" in the midwest as all the rest of the family have moved to warmer climates. Luckily, I have the new blessing of my husband's family which is robust on both his Mom's and his Dad's side. We still have a holiday meal filled with family around a table where you're bumping elbows with your neighbor and making bad jokes. 

But I always think back to those Holidays at Grandma Brieschke's. I long for the whole family to be in one place, and I wish that things didn't have to change. My Mom and Sister tend to be the weepy ones in the family, but every year around this time, I find myself getting misty at warm family movies and commercials. 

What comes up for you around the Holidays? I'd love to hear your stories!