How to listen deeply

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I came across this phrase ‘behaviour is communication’ and it struck me how deeply true this is and also how much we fail to understand or listen, or understand what we are being told.

One of the cornerstones of mindfulness is listening deeply to self and others, to understand all is to forgive all (an old french proverb) and we cannot understand if we do not listen.

So often I have said something and realised the other person is only listening so they can respond, they are not deeply listening to me, considering my words to them, wanting to understand…

A three words memoir exercise, a prose poem of sorts.

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We loved deeply. We rarely fought. We worked hard. Hard as anyone. Hard like stones. Muscles ached frequently. Perseverance endured throughout. Until it didn’t. Too much now. Need for rest. Need for space. We still love. We still play. The house continues. The gardens grow. So do weeds. So do fruit. So do vegetables. Flowers get picked. Mistakes get made. Storms unpick progress. We step back. Take deep breaths. Now start again. Always start again. A new day. Always start again. Exhaustion grows deeper. Equanimity grows thin. Take a break. More needs doing. Guests bring troubles. Fault-finding wounds. We can’t…

An exercise in deepening family relationships

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You arrived to some considerable chaos surrounding us all, the final member of our family of four.

Your brother, older by thirty-one months, was still running me ragged. He was always unable to sleep at night. We later found out why, his neuro-divergency issues as yet unrecognized.

And me, carrying you, so large, so much water, such a large head to birth, your delivery forced by pessaries and enemas so the midwife could go on holiday. But I loved you so much anyway.

It was not that instant hit of a first born like the one you I experienced when…

A poem from the dharma

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What is enough?
So there is no room for more,
a surfeit, a bounty hoarded,
a bulwark against subsistence or death.
Love perhaps, too little?
Can we have too much?
Replaced so often
by addictions, isolation, food.

To know love
one must understand
what love is not.
To have enough
one must know
enough in one’s heart
To know enough
one must understand
not enough,
for others and self.

Compassion means reaching out
to support those others
who have yet
to understand enough.

The tragic billionaires,
the sad hoarders
of more than enough
still locked into lack
‘I must have more

Is winning really worth that much after all?

Photo by Pietro Rampazzo on Unsplash

Most people tell you how to win or succeed, be the best. Best sellers and inspirational speakers tout new formuli for instant heroic status.

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel

Perhaps it is what we all want? After all nobody loves a loser, everybody loves the winner. They have the sexiest or most attractive partners, the biggest houses, the fastest cars, classiest careers. Perhaps these winners have everything.


Superficially perhaps, if you are one of these winners, others may find you attractive, intriguing to be around…

A submission for Medium Writers Challenge

‘So glad you didn’t die, I was really worried,’ my husband said, hugging me.

I’d just got back from the hospital, feeling wobbly still.

I’d had a bee-sting, not unusual for beekeepers, except this went nasty. I ended up in A&E, being told to be very careful in future if I continue beekeeping. The next one might be full anaphalaxis; death without immediate medical attention.

This was just one step away.

It happened so fast my husband had only just coped in his usual calm, mindful way. He was deeply shocked by events.

It hadn’t occurred to me to consider…

Sharing my experiences of healing and transformation through this tradition.

Photo by AJ on Unsplash

I had been desperate to free myself of a PTSD reign of terror, which culminated in a total breakdown that had gone on for over six years and I didn’t think I could take much more of it. I decided to book myself onto four Plum Village (PV) based retreats over four months. My anxiety about going on my own, guilt at leaving David behind to manage the business and everything else, and fear of being paralysed by triggering whilst travelling alone, was huge. But I also knew I had to do something to make this locked in terror shift…

A meditation on impermanence

Photo by Babak on Unsplash

Looking through the window I see the swing hangs, silently.

It once was surrounded by laughing children, and should be still, but things changed. It hangs loosely, the seat worn away; it no longer holds its ropes taught, becoming weightless as it ages, hanging unused.

Maybe I should plant roses around each leg and encourage them to climb and adorn it with colour, or perhaps sweet briars instead, for the wildness that once emanated from its environs as children played.

Just occasionally, in high wind, I hear its voice once more, rattling within its cage to be released. Should I…

Sylvia Clare MSc. Psychol

Mindfulness teacher, poet, author of ‘The Well Mannered Penis’, ‘No Visible Injuries’, ‘Living Well and Loving ADHD’ ‘Julia’ and others.

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