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The Mindful Key to Connected, Clear Communication

”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”Thích Nhất Hạnh

It can be incredibly frustrating when you are having a conversation and are left with the frustration that comes with feeling that something is missing. Perhaps it turned into an argument. Perhaps there’s the sadness that comes with feeling misunderstood. You wanted to share a message or an experience that somehow missed the mark.

I want to show you how you can quickly create a presence that will lead to clear communication that will leave you both with a sense that you care, understand and are understood. There is  a satisfying feeling of peace, connection, and possibility.

The key is Mindful Curiosity. The Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh says ”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” He calls this “Deep Listening”.

Curiosity helps you remain soft and receptive. It helps you establish a mindful presence with ease. You don’t need to “try” to be present…you automatically, naturally are. While you may have a message to transmit, you are also deeply interested in the other person’s experience and perspective. And without even trying, you happen to be fully mindful, attentive, and present. You are calm and there is a relaxed sense of inquiry to the interaction. There is a feeling of connection and wonder. You are not so intent on making your point that you ignore the other person’s concerns or perspective. And we’re not just talking about the content, but the feeling behind the words as well.

If I’m curious about what someone has to say, then I am trying to understand. I am clarifying what I heard the other person say to make sure I got it right. I am listening in between the lines. I am fully present because their words and gestures are not filtered by my agenda or need to be heard. And then, I find that they too are willing to listen. We are not defending our views and trying to convince each other (that typically deteriorates into an argument). We are wondering what is meant without out jumping to conclusions. And then again, I am clarifying to understand and I feel connected and interested.

And if I am presenting my views, I am interested in what you think as well. And you sense that interest, that respect, and the curiosity. It feels like I am with you, I am here. There is no need for either of us to defend, because right and wrong is not as important as simply understanding. Yes, we can press out point, but with respect and care.

If this communication has more to do with providing support, comfort or encouragement, then again, you can just remain curious, wondering about how the other person is feeling or thinking. Just listening and wondering what you will discover. And they end up feeling like they have company, like you care and understand.

And as Thích Nhất Hạnh said “…they will bloom like flowers.” Here you are not so much giving advice, as being present and trusting that they can see clearly if given the caring space to do so. And typically once they have some calm (which your curious, open presence encourages), they will find the clarity they need to sort things out. If they ask for advice, you give it as an option to consider…without the need for them to act on it. And they are more receptive as a result.

So your cultivation of mindful presence is accomplished by simply being curious. And communication becomes connected and clear.

by Michael Gusack

Breathing Practice for Optimum Health

Sympathetic Breathing Meditation Practice

A guided breathing practice that is designed to calm the part of your nervous system that is associated with the fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system). As the relaxation response is energized, a balance is established that can help you create a new level of functioning physiologically as well as mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

You are restoring balance to your nervous system in a way that synchronizes your heart rhythm. As this happens, various physiological systems alter in ways that are healthier and contribute to effective functioning. You are less irritable, less emotionally reactive, and less likely to jump to conclusions, and thus your judgment tends to improve as well.

Stress relief and relaxation can  lead to optimum health.

Gratitude…Antidote to Stress and Anxiety

Gratitude: Simple Things Become Extraordinary!

by Michael Gusack

Good Day (or evening) !

When you are distressed and anxious and upset with your current situation, you often hear that you need to  “count your blessings”. That is supposed to ease your concerns. Today, for a moment, consider this.

Gratitude can perhaps best be cultivated when you appreciate the simple things in life. The ordinary things. These are the things…or people…you normally take for granted:

* A bed to sleep in
* The ability to breathe in a breath of fresh air…your lungs, your mouth, your nose
* A car to drive so you don’t have to walk long distances
* The Earth your feet can touch…Thank You!
* Breakfast…Yes!
* Your children…especially the one who drives you crazy:-)
* Your life partner…Eckhart Tolle says “Relationships are not there to make us happy. They are there to make us conscious.” So many opportunities:-)
* Being conscious (while awake…no sleep walking:-)
* Sleep…Ahhh!
* Eyesight
* Your heart…what an amazing machine
* Hearing…my hearing aids help me appreciate what hearing I have
* A cool breeze

And so on. And if you are lacking something on the above list, then, certainly, the idea is to appreciate what you DO have in the interest of balance and perspective.

Here’s a practice I learned years ago as a walking meditation:

1. As you walk with each left or right step in sequence repeat 3 times
Thank You!, Thank You!, Thank You! (appreciation to the Earth for being there for your feet to touch…or, of course anything or anyone you appreciate for which your are grateful).

2. Then, as you step repeat 3 times
Yes! Yes! Yes! (appreciation to Life (GOD) for sustaining each step, each breath)

You can just as easily practice while you walk in circles in your living room as in your neighborhood or on the street or sidewalk or trail.

When you no longer take your life for granted, each moment is miraculous. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. Each moment is a gift. If you embrace all that you take for granted, it definitely takes the edge off your stress level, your anxiety, your upset.

And it’s best to practice this when “you don’t need to”…because you actually always need to. Best to be conscious of how precious are friends, family, health and peace (in any moment we have it).

Be Well,