The Art of Living Attuned

A Surefire Route to Happiness Now

I recently came across an interesting stat:

One third of Americans are dissatisfied with their lives. That’s 100 million people – living in a developed, relatively free and peaceful society.

A lingering sense of dissatisfaction when all of one’s basic needs are met can be linked to a variety of things. The most common biggies seem to be:

  • living life based on others expectations
  • allowing money or guilt to trap you in an unhappy situation
  • letting fear run your life
  • having less money or love than you think you need
  • an inkling that you’re not living your life fully
  • a pervasive feeling that you’ll be happy “when…”

As you become more and more mindful in your life and focus on navigating through these challenges – there is one immediate antidote to unsettled feelings that you can apply right now: a big healthy dose of gratitude. It is impossible to hold a grateful thought and feel dissatisfied at the same time. Impossible. Try it.

Here’s an interesting experiment:

Commit a full day to direct observation of this principle at work. Make it a point to notice each time you feel a sense of dissatisfaction arise, for any reason. Here are just a few possibilities:

  • an unexpected expense
  • not enough time
  • someone not complying with your idea of right behaviour
  • stuck in traffic, in line, in a less than ideal encounter
  • a project not going according to plan
  • wrong weather, wrong response, wrong choice…

There are sooooo many things that show up to mess with our peace.

Notice them as they arise, and for each one find something to be grateful for in that exact moment. Sincerely, authentically grateful. Then watch what happens to your state of being.
Here’s a moving 10 minute vid to fire up your imagination:

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Good to ponder:

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” – Buddhist proverb


How Not to Have an Engaging Conversation

This clip of two robots interacting with each other is both hilarious and disturbing. Hilarious because what they are saying is “not computing”, disturbing because it is not that far from how a lot of our conversations go. We either don’t listen, or we interpret what we hear through our own filters, even when the speaker reflects back that they have been misheard.

(If you are viewing this post via email and can’t see the video or link, please click the live link at the top of your email to view the post online.)

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I love the video because it stimulates so many avenues of thought to explore. Here are just a few:

  • What about human conversation, high quality human conversation – is different from this one?
  • What gift does conversation hold for us?
  • What if your life depended on completely understanding the next thing someone said to you? Would you listen differently? What would you bring to the listening besides your ears?

Good to ponder:

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia


The Power of Vulnerability

We don’t like it. Feeling vulnerable. Our brains are absolutely convinced of this fact. Convinced – and they’ll remind us at every opportunity.

Be cool, maintain the illusion, don’t risk. It’s an ongoing mantra.

And yet I keep seeing in the world that when given the opportunity – if the environment feels welcoming, if the natives seem friendly – people are dying to share their fears and hopes and dreams with each other. We are longing to truly be seen and accepted for exactly who we are in any given moment.

When we share our truest selves, we touch the truest self of those we share with. And we offer them the opportunity to be seen in return.

If you haven’t found her yourself yet, I’d love to introduce you to one of my all time favorite speakers, Brene Brown. She’s done a whole lot of research on how our unwillingness to be vulnerable causes us to close off huge sections of our lives to avoid pain. Here’s the catch: we can’t numb selectively, so we isolate ourselves from joy in the process. Her talk is 20 minutes long and well worth making time for:

Good to ponder:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon

butterfly photo credit: Amanda Rhodes


3 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Listening

How well do you listen?

How much space and presence to you bring to your listening? We may tell ourselves that people don’t really notice if our listening is a high quality one – but let’s check it out. Do you notice when you’re being listened to? My guess is you are absolutely clear when someone is fully with you, and when they’re even slightly checked out. We may dismiss it, but it matters.

Almost everyone I know realizes that there is room for improvement in their listening skills. Having the intention is half the battle, but some key pointers can help bring power to your intention.

Bring Yourself Fully to the Listening:

When someone is speaking to you, make a decision to be there with them. Not thinking about what you forgot to do that morning, some unresolved issue that is unrelated to this person or moment in time, what you’re going to make for dinner, where you’re going on holidays next summer, something across the room that’s catching your attention. And do I even need to say cell phone? Be here. Now.

Clear Your Mind and Get Curious:

Even when we’re fully present, we’re often busy formulating opinions, assessing whether the speaker’s thoughts are aligned with or contrary to ours, planning a response, likening it to our own experience. When we do this, the focus is still on us, not the other person. Instead, bring an open-hearted curiosity to who this person is, and what it is that they’re really saying – instead of your idea about it.

Be Spacious in Your Listening:

One of the best things I learned in my coach training was to ‘leave one moment longer’ before responding. When you have asked a thought provoking question, or someone has said something that feels important, instead of rushing in to fill the space – hold it in silence a loving heartbeat or two longer.  That space is where the speaker understands they are truly being listened to. It’s a precious gift that we have the opportunity to give everyday in our lives.

Here’s a little challenge: Bring this kind of listening to 3 conversations in your life in the next week, and notice what happens. If you want to share any glimmers of insight from the experience, please leave a comment back here.

Good to ponder:

“Most people do not listen with the intent to learn and understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.” – Stephen Covey


Love This!

Found on FB – had to share.

Good to ponder:

“Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future, but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way.” – Eileen Caddy