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December 2014 - In This Issue:
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The workshop participants paired up, with one designated as the speaker and the other the listener. I asked the listeners to do so with an open heart. For five minutes the job of the listeners was to giveundivided attention to their partner. They were not to give an idea, opinion, or advice.

If you have tried this, you know that it is challenging. Some of the workshop participants didn't do it. I heard them in conversation despite my reminding the listeners of their job. We all love to give advice or talk about our own experiences and how these relate to what the speaker is saying.

When I asked the speakers what it was like to be fully listened to, one said it was weird, one said she was honored and heard, and another appreciated being able to talk without interruption.

At the next session of the communication workshop, I asked who had practiced this listening exercise and what had they noticed. One woman shared that when her adult daughter called her, she decided to fully listen to her and not give her advice. It was challenging, and she felt proud that she had listened without comment.  She noticed her daughter open up and come to resolution on an issue she brought up.

Five minutes after they hung up, her daughter called back. She said, "Mom, thank you so much for listening to me. I really appreciate you!" Everyone in the workshop clapped.
How can you listen with an open heart during this holiday season as we gather with family and friends? What might you hear? What might you experience in a new way?

May your holiday season be filled with love and light,

CULTIVATING A MINDFUL LIFECultivating a Mindful Life book cover 

Cultivating a Mindful Life, a collection of 35 stories, is an e-book

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"I highly recommend Sue Schleifer as a leadership and life coach. Her integrated "whole person" coaching approach and straightforward dialoguing technique helped me enormously to better understand where I was in my life and where I wanted to go.

Sue worked with me to clarify my priorities and establish a few clear doable personal and professional goals which we periodically discussed and which I achieved for the most part. Our coaching calls were invaluable in helping me work through and problem solve sometimes difficult and complex work issues. Her knack for seeing through my occasional b.s. didn't hurt either."

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Zen and Travel Stories of Trust - Book

The Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust is a book about inner and outer journeys. It is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon and Smashwords. And, if you have read the book, please consider writing a review on one of those sites.  


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Sue Schleifer 
Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting 


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