Life Dimensions
May 2010
The Relationship Resource
Teaching the Dynamics of Healthy Relationships
In This Issue
Books In Review
Blueprint for Success
Quick Links



The wise old owl lived in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spok;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why can't we all be like that bird.

                        --Edward H. Richards



Ah!  To listen or not listen: That is the question.  Or rather, the answer.  In my counseling practice of over twenty years, that often seems to be the answer for so many.  "I just want to be heard."  "He doesn't listen to me."  "How can I make her understand!"  Being listened to is a profound desire in all of us. It means we are valued and important to another. 


I know counseling and therapy can be criticized for making things worse.  More often, it is thought to be utilized only for crisis, pathology, damage control or mental illness.  Unfortunately, counseling is overlooked for one of its most important contributions: a safe space to be heard.  I look at it as "sacred" space.  We all need a safe environment to share thoughts and feelings about life's meaning and purpose as well as to examine behaviors that affect us and others for better or worse.  Sometimes, people don't think such a place exists at home, work, places of worship and elsewhere.  In the counseling office, there is utmost respect, genuine acceptance, and positive regard for the whole person.  Counseling in this setting is about personal growth and integrity that can impact, influence and improve one's relationships.  To know better is to do better.     


Give the gift of counseling.  If someone you know could benefit from a listening ear in a safe space, offer them an opportunity.  It is not unusual for a family member or friend to buy an hour for someone else.  Parents give it as a marriage or anniversary gift to help their children be better spouses and parents.  Friends do it to help alleviate some stress in a home or help someone in their workplace.  


I would also encourage anyone reading this to pay attention to your listening skills.  How good a listener are you?  Do you provide a safe space without judgment and distractions? Are you comfortable with silence; do you always have to fill it up?  In a world full of wires and wireless we need people to listen.  Listen!


If you or someone you know could use some sacred time and space, call me at 303-692-8006 or contact me via e-mail:  I also give referrals.


The minister was giving a sermon one Sunday, when two girls could be heard in the back giggling and disturbing people.  He interrupted his sermon and announced sternly, "There are two of you here who have not heard a word I said!"  That quieted them down.  When the service was over and he was greeting the people afterwards at the door, three adults apologized for going to sleep in church, promising it wouldn't happen again.


Book In Review


The Lost Art of ListeningSome years ago, I read The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols, Ph.D. (1995).  I appreciated his clinical wisdom woven into practical advice about improving our most important relationships by our ability to really listen.  That genuine listening can improve and repair broken connections.  He now has a second edition.  The Lost Art of Listening: How Listening Can Improve Relationships, 2009. The book is an excellent reminder to stop what you're doing and listen to the important people in your life.  He gives the real reasons people don't listen.  For example, there is an inability to suspend our own needs, hearing only what we want to hear and overreacting with our own emotions.  This is a good book to sharpen your listening skills.                    





The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and talk the less.              


                                              --Zeno, 3oo B.C.


You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.

                                                --M. Scott Peck


Big egos have little ears.

                                                --Robert Schuller


The first duty of love is to listen.

                                                --Paul Tillich


Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.

                                                --1 Samuel 3:9


Blueprint  for Success 

Blue Print for SuccessMary Ann Van Buskirk is a  keynote speaker and author and has been selected from a nationwide search to be featured in Blueprint for Success, a highly successful book series from Tennessee based Insight Publishing. The book features best-selling authors Stephen R. Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager.) Van Buskirk, Blanchard and Covey, are joined by other well-known authors and speakers, each offering time-tested strategies for success in frank and intimate interviews.
Mary Ann Van Buskirk, M.A., M.Div. is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and co-founder of Positive Coaching with over twenty years of experience as a counselor, trainer and national speaker. People who have worked with her report vast improvements in their abilities to relate in healthier ways at home and at work. Success is a result of healthy relationships.

Workshops & Seminars

Mary Ann offers workshops on a variety of relationship topics. 
For more information visit:
or call
303-692-8006 today!


Mary Ann Van Buskirk
Life Dimensions