I’m a snob. I admit it. Every time I hear the word “mindfulness” I immediately stick my nose in the air. I’ve always thought it was New Age hokey. Until I read the first two chapters of Karen Ehman’s new book Listen, Love, Repeat.
Karen talks about listening to others, and being on the alert to heart drops they may make. What’s a heart drop, you ask?
“A heart drop is a concept my husband and I learned from our small group leader, Michael. It’s when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or her heart. It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness.” Listen, Love, Repeat Page 15
Now, here is the dictionary’s definition of mindfulness:
“the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.”
Wouldn’t you say that hearing a heart drop, picking up on another’s feelings or listening to those around you would qualify as being mindful of them? It’s an awareness of where you are and who you are with, and how they may be feeling.
And do you know what else? I’m a great listener. I am. Except when I’m focused on my to do list, or in a hurry, which seems to be a lot lately. “Smile and nod” is my motto at those times. Please don’t judge! I KNOW you’ve rushed into Wal-mart for one quick item, keeping your head down and eyes to the floor so you won’t see anyone you know. I KNOW you’ve quickly looked the other way when you HAVE seen someone, so as not to get into a long, involved conversation, when all you want to do is get home, take the make-up off, put the slippers on and relax. You have done those things, haven’t you?
Sadly, I have. And many times I feel guilty about it. But there is hope!
“Hearing a heart drop is an art we must lovingly cultivate. It can lead to the most wonderful times of encouragement as we make it our habit to listen and to love.” Listen, Love, Repeat Page 17
“Because near-narcissism and the too-busy lifestyle is the normal default, to become a person who thinks of others first takes great effort on our part. It requires us to live alert.” Listen, Love, Repeat Page 18
An art we must cultivate with great effort. Hmmm, anything worthwhile is hard work, right?
As I was reading, I had to honestly ask “Where does this leave me? The introvert who needs a break from interacting with people? How can I be on the ready to listen and respond to heart drops?”
Karen helped with that too!
“…we need to focus on the face in front of us. The email in our inbox. The appointment on our calendar. The name that rises unbidden in our thoughts. Even the all-too-familiar form that sits and sleeps near us every day. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Can you climb behind their eyeballs and see the world from their eyes, if only for a moment?” Listen, Love, Repeat Page 30
I can begin with those closest to me. Listening. Really listening. Loving them. And then repeating the process, until it becomes a habit. But I can’t stop there! I need to expand my listening, noticing and awareness of others until it reaches the stranger in line next to me at the store. Perhaps they need a helping hand. Or maybe just a kind smile. Maybe, they just need someone to SEE them.
Karen said she’d once heard that Jesus’ real ministry was the person He found standing in front of Him. How profound. I am now more aware of anyone near the three foot “safety circumference” that many introverts set up. I’m on the look out for those that may need a little kindness, a helping hand or a smile, pointing them to Jesus with my actions.
Can I be honest? I haven’t finished the book yet. But Karen has given me so many great pointers to begin my listening journey – I wanted to share with you. Matter of fact, I wish I could copy and paste the whole book right here for you. But I can’t. However, I CAN give away a copy!!! AND a study guide with DVD. YAY! Leaving a comment will enter you in this drawing (I wish I was more technical and could offer you a snazzy Rafflecopter entry, but hey, I’m not. Besides, I enjoy old timey things…). So, leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for Karen’s new book Listen, Love, Repeat AND a study guide with DVD. Be sure to tell your friends so they can enter too! Share the love!
Won’t you join me today? Let me know in your comment ways you will begin listening and loving. Then repeat. Can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Grace be with you,