Remember the Sugar-Apple
We began 2018 by setting an intention to celebrate the “wabi-sabi” nature of life - celebrating life as it unfolds, recognizing that life is perfectly imperfect.
As we look forward to 2019, we invite you to join us in offering up an intention to listen + speak mindfully.
What does it mean to listen mindfully?
When we listen mindfully to someone, we are giving them the gift of our full attention, the gift of our undiluted, caring presence. We are offering them the chance to feel truly heard. Doing this takes practice. Specifically, we practice:
listening with the heart as well as the ears, letting go of judgment of the speaker while they are speaking;
listening to what is being said, and what is meant but not said, sussing out the needs that the speaker may be expressing directly or indirectly;
listening to hear, not to rebut and not just to fill the time before it is our chance to speak;
refraining from forming a response while the speaker is speaking;
acknowledging the emotional reality of the speaker.
Mindful listening can also take place when we listen to ourselves, bringing awareness to how we speak to ourselves - would we speak to a loved one in this way? Noticing what needs may lie unexpressed within us; listening to the stories we tell ourselves so that we can decide which to believe and which to gently set aside; listening to detect when we are letting narrative or story slip in between us and our actual lived experience; listening to our bodies with kindness as they send us messages about our emotional states or areas that need attention, or are at peace.
Listening mindfully and with caring presence can be most difficult when messages are wrapped in difficult packages: delivered in a way that makes us feel guilty, attacked, disconnected or in some way uncomfortable. In these instances, we can remind ourselves of the sugar-apple, also known as the sweetsop, or custard apple. This fruit has a hostile-looking exterior - almost like a hand grenade. And yet inside is a sweet, custard-like filling surrounding beautiful, gleaming black seeds. In moments when listening feels difficult, we can learn to pause and ask ourselves, “What sweet fruit lies inside this message?”
We hope you will join us in 2019!
We have one session left this year: Wednesday December 26th at 12PM at New Canaan Library.
May all beings everywhere, without exception, feel heard.
With gratitude and loving kindness,
Your friends at CMP