Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: Noticing the People You Love

It’s easy to move through life looking at people without really seeing them; hearing people without really listening to what they have to say; even existing in our body without really experiencing what it feels and needs.

Yesterday, I realized that although my daughter had been speaking to me quite a bit, I hadn’t really heard her. Although I had looked at her, I couldn’t tell you what she was wearing. I only noticed the multiple demands on my attention. My focus was on managing the current moment and planning for the one to come: where I needed to go, what I needed to do before getting there, and what was coming after that.

Well, I must have paused long enough to realize I was feeling stress. So I took a deep breath and noticed my shoulders were tense, my jaws were clenched and my back was fatigued. I then looked over at my daughter and asked her to repeat what she was trying to share, as I admitted that I hadn’t truly been listening as attentively as I should have. Her eyes lit up, her tone of voice changed. She had so much to share. I noticed her joy, her excitement and her compassion. I noticed the light color in her beautiful brown eyes, her cheeks that always stay so rosy. Her cute little outfit that she had clearly worked hard to pick out that morning. It honestly felt so good to stop and truly see her. The satisfaction I felt in connecting to her in that moment felt good and I must say, it gave me a little more energy to return to the demands and tasks at hand, with a little more joy.

What would happen next, would completely amaze me. After about 15 minutes of sitting back down at my computer to work, she looked up from her book, over at me and said, “Mommy are you okay?” She didn’t just look at me, she saw me. She must have seen my body language expressing exhaustion and a desire for rest. She didn’t just look at me, she saw me. She came over and gave me a hug and said, “You know mom, I know how you feel. Yesterday when I was at school working, I felt tired too. Sometimes, we all just need a hug.” At that moment, I truly experienced the importance of pausing to connect and more importantly, I noticed how what we choose to give our children always seems to come back to us ten fold.

Make it a point today to truly see the people in your life. Don’t just hear them, but pause briefly to listen to them. Listen enough to ask a question or figure out what they must feel. Shift your awareness to the people you love. Shift your awareness to the body you live in. Taking care of ourselves and the people we love gives us the energy we need to take on the world, truly fulfilling God’s greater purpose in us.

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