AuthorJef Keep

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Are You A Good Listener?

In a world moving at warp speed, we have lost many of the finer aspects of communication. Many of us grew up in families in which getting a word in edge wise was an Olympic sport. We didn’t even realize that there was another way of communicating other than everyone speaking at once or talking over whatever was being shared. Good communication is a two-way street: speaking and listening.

Photo Credit: Lea Dubedout

Listening doesn’t mean just not speaking. To be an effective listener requires certain behaviors and attitudes. Listening is an action word. Listening is also an act of generosity. Being a good listener is a gift we can give to other people.

Letting someone know he or she has really been heard is one of the finest things we can do for each other.

In our monthly event Developing Alliances: Professional Gathering for Extraordinary Women, we have two activities designed for communication, which includes sharing something, business or personal, and being received by the person actively listening.

Often ladies are moved to tears by the experience of being fully received, acknowledged, without being interrupted.

Find out how good a listener you are by answering the following questions:

  1. Listening means paying attention. When I listen to someone, I focus my attention on the speaker. I look directly at him or her, and concentrate on hearing what he or she is saying.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  2. Listening means accepting what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I withhold judgment and accept what he or she is saying “as is.” I acknowledge what the person is saying without labeling it right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  3. Listening means being interested in what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I invite the speaker to give his or her opinion, say what’s on his or her mind, or say how he or she feels about the topic or issue.
            

    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  4. Listening means confirming and clarifying what I believe I heard. When I listen to someone, I ask specific questions such as “What I heard you say is … is that right?”
    or “I think I understand what you said, but will you elaborate on …?” or “When you say …, do you mean…?

    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  5. Listening means being empathetic. When I listen to someone and I begin to feel defensive or impatient or angry, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and appreciate what he or she might be going through.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  6. Listening means letting go of control. When I listen to someone, I don’t jump right in with a solution, or try to fix things, or have to say the “right” thing.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  7. Listening means not judging the speaker. When I listen to someone, I do not get distracted by the delivery, I allow others to find their way through their communication.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  8. Listening means withholding any rebuttal until the speaker is finished. When I listen to someone, I listen to the entire message before I begin to share my feedback. Then, I wait a beat or two before I begin speaking to make sure I’ve let the speaker finish, and I am centered in my response.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  9. Listening means paying attention to the whole message. When I listen to someone, I take in their non-verbal messages, too — facial expressions, gestures, eyes, tone of voice, and posture because I understand these can contradict or confirm the words that are used.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

     

  10. Listening means being present. Sometimes I’m unable to give my full attention to someone. When this is the case, I let the person know by saying something like, “I would like to give you my full attention and now’s not a good time for me to talk about this, can we discuss it later?” then agree to a specific time to have the discussion.
    ALWAYS ______ MOST OF THE TIME _____ SOMETIMES _____ NEVER _____

 

After you have scored each area total your responses.

  • If you scored highest in most of the time or always, congratulate yourself. Make a note of the areas where you could be even more effective
  • If you scored highest in sometimes or never there is much room for improvement.

Remember, just because we’re born with ears, doesn’t mean we start off life as good listeners. Becoming a good listener is a skill we learn, and like other skills, it takes practice to get better.

Inspired Action Step: Choose one area that you will focus on to ensure that you a good listener. Celebrate your success and choose the next area of focus until you are very satisfied with your score.

I’d love to hear from you, if you’d be willing to share at info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and blessings,

Choosing To Be Surprised and Delighted

With each new day you see and experience many things all around you, too many to count, really.

From the moment you open your eyes in the morning you are looking at a new canvas, even if you are in the same room you have slept in for years. The light will be different each day based on the seasons and the outside weather. If you are well rested, your vision will be clearer, or a bit foggier if you struggled through the night. The more familiar the surroundings the less you really see. You get locked into what you expect will be there and not really, “see” at all.

Remember a time in your life when you lay on the ground doing nothing but watching the clouds floating by in the sky?  Suddenly, much to your delight, the cloud became an angel, dog, horse, and then gently shifted back into being a cloud once again. When you seize the opportunity to slow down and be with what is all around you, the ability to see is enhanced.

This is also true of seeing the people in your life. How often do we stop and gently take in the presence of the people we intimately share our daily lives with?  It would change how we appreciate each other, seeing each other fresh each day.  The greatest gift you can give another is to really see them, not through the eyes of what you already know and expect, rather with curiosity asking, “Who is this divine being today?“  Go one step further, and share with love what you see; relationships will deepen because of this.

Photo by Adrian MendozaOn New Year’s Eve, I met with a friend from my hometown that I had not seen for at least 40 years. It was easy to meet this man and really see him for who is now, without the imprint of past impressions.  We enjoyed coffee and conversation, reconnecting and finding much in common.

He is a photographer, a camera bouncing off his hip as he walks. On the way back to the car he snapped a photo periodically; I wondered what caught his eye.

My car was in the bank parking lot, one I use often. I noticed he had taken a photo and I glanced in that direction. I saw a wall of brick and wood and was sure he must have taken the shot of something else.  At that moment he said, “Look at this.”  I gasped when I looked at the photo.  It was of the wall I initially looked at, although I had not really seen it at all.  In the photo there was an ornate pattern that was stunning, created by the shadows of the trees nearby. In that moment I realized how much I missed what was right in front of me and began looking at everything differently. I am now seeing the colors, angles, shading and so much more.  A whole new experience has opened up for me from that one special moment.

We are in the initial days of a New Year, 2014 is ahead full of promise. Often, the year’s intentions are strong and compelling in beginning of January.  All too soon the routine takes over and we find ourselves back in the life that we were so determined to change just a few short weeks ago. What if you do it differently this year? Keep bringing yourself back and stay in touch with What Truly Matters to you. The Universe provides opportunities every minute to surprise and delight you if you open your eyes to see. I invite you to begin today, what do you see?

           

Love and Blessings,

What Are You Attracting?

"There’s a spring in ‘Marissa’s’ step, and she simply radiates positive, upbeat, can-do energy. She’s “in the flow.” Good things continue to happen in her work and personal life with seeming effortlessness. 

Contrast this with ‘Elise,’ who puts in twice as many hours at work—super-long, hard hours every day—yet rarely achieves what she’s striving so hard to create. 

What’s the difference? Hint: It has to do with Marissa’s ability to attract what she wants. However, this kind of attraction has nothing to do with looks.

Rather, it’s about Marissa’s ability to attract abundance by living in a way that’s in tune with her purpose, her passions, her most vital and alive self.

By now you have heard of The Law of Attraction. It’s not just some woo-woo theory, it’s scientific: like matter attracts like. It’s similar to a radio broadcast: when tuned into a particular station, you will only hear (attract) the frequency of radio waves that match that station’s signal. And when that happens, everything seems easy, not a struggle.

“Once you change the way you are inside, the outer world changes,” writes Joe Vitale, author of the best seller, The Attractor Factor. Focusing on What Truly Matters sets you on a path of ease to be creating the life you want to be living, rather than just getting through the day.  Here are the key ingredients for attracting into your life what you want:  

  • Get clear on what you want and why. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. You can’t get what you want until you know what that is!  Getting crystal clear is where the “magic” of attraction all begins. 
  • Imagine it. See it as happening. “Conscious change is brought about by the two qualities inherent in consciousness: attention and intention,” writes Deepak Chopra. “Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life.”
  • Keep yourself receptive. Exercise, eat healthily, play, and relax. Stress, exhaustion, sluggishness, etc., can all interfere with attraction. In the radio station analogy, they become the “static” that interferes with the “frequencies” of what you wish to attract. Though taking a day off to relax, rather than working frantically, may seem as difficult as stepping off a precipice, it can be just what is needed.    
  • Listen to your intuitive nudges. Attraction isn’t about sitting back and waiting for it all to come to you. Action is always required to meet goals and make dreams come true. Your job is to ask for what you want, and then to act on the inner nudges you get to do things, like make phone calls, write letters, visit a certain person, or whatever. Don’t worry if your “nudges” don’t make immediate sense. The “why” will reveal itself in due time. 
  • Surrender control. Surrender is not a negative word, this means to let go and trust. Let go of the particular way in which things will happen. Let go of fear, doubt, worry and disappointment. Let go of the notion of struggle. Trust that the outcome will be just right. 

When you are focusing on these key areas you automatically put yourself in the flow. So whether it’s a job promotion, landing that huge client, buying a new house, or deciding to take time for yourself, claim your dream. It’s waiting for you right now, you are meant to live fully.

I invite you to share your experience as you focus more fully on your dreams.

Blessings,

Creativity is Calling You????

Tree_in_palm_of_hand__iStock_000004633733XSmallThe sound may be faint as the stirring of butterfly wings or as loud as a brass band on Fourth of July. Or you may not hear a sound at all, but feel an urging, an inner pull, a sense of excitement and longing that resonates from within. This is the call to create, and it is universal, bidding each of us to bring something new into being.

“Creativity is the Self searching for itself,” said George Gamez, Ph.D., author of How to Catch Lightning in a Bottle. We create in order to express our unique visions and perceptions. We create to communicate and to form a bond with our fellow human beings. Creative expression helps us feel connected to the world and builds bridges of understanding. It nourishes us and helps us grow, provides insights and deeper understandings. Creativity is fun, exciting and playful. It relieves stress and releases tension. It provides a way of communication when normal channels may be blocked or are insufficient—when we must speak in colors and textures and shimmering visions and music.

Creativity is love expressing itself; it heals and renews. Our creations are mirrors in which others may see themselves and the signature of our lives that says, “This is how I saw it.”

Everyone is Creative; yes, especially YOU!

No matter what you may have been told, every one of us is creative. It is as much a part of us as our voice and breath and fingerprints. Creativity isn’t just about making “art.” Cooking, gardening, handiwork and crafts, keeping a journal and spiritual practice are all creative acts. Arranging flowers or rearranging furniture, painting a picture or painting a room, singing or dancing on stage or singing in the shower—these are responses to the call.

Creativity is a way of living. It is being spontaneous and playful, exercising the imagination, finding solutions, and embracing possibilities and doing it all with passion. Creativity is the moment you are in the flow with yourself.

Yet for all the joy and fulfillment it brings, some resist the call to be creative. In our culture the ideas that “Time is money” and “Art is frivolous” hold certain sway, and old messages such as, “Stay inside the lines” or “You can do better than that” have remarkable staying power. It takes courage to look beneath the surface of what we’ve been told in order to find our heart’s desire.

Creativity requires risk-taking. It asks us to surrender, to lose control and to trust. “Committing to our creativity is an act of faith,” wrote Jan Phillips, in Marry Your Muse. “A promise to believe in ourselves.”

Honoring the creative “Self” means finding time, making space, being patient and taking the chance of looking foolish. You cannot care too much what others may think or say. You must be willing to start over and stay with it; creativity takes stamina. There are no magical secrets or absolute rules. Creativity can’t be taught. You just do it. “Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us,” said Corita Kent.

Like the body’s natural urge for motion and the human need for connection and community, the spirit longs to express itself. So when you hear the call to create, answer, “Yes.” It is your self, searching for your “Self,” a movement toward being whole.

We would love to hear about what inspires your “creativity”. Send an email to info@whattrulymatters.com

What’s All The Fuss About Ascension?

I first heard about the advent of the New Age of Enlightenment when I was in my 20’s.  What got my attention the most were the words, “in your lifetime.”  At the time, I was deeply entrenched in the struggle that I had wrongly assumed was, “just the way life is on Earth.”  It had certainly been that way for our ancestors and their learning is passed along to us via the bloodline and the DNA, so we are programmed to expect the worst.  My father taught me the art of “making the best out of a bad job.”  He thought it was the secret to life.  Later, I realized that it assumed that life kept throwing us bad jobs!

A few years later, I learned about the possibility of getting onto the path of joy and ease.  I knew I was in trouble since I grew up in England where everything was hard and we were told, “We all learn our lessons the hard way.”  I decided that I better get started.  Every time I found myself in the struggle, I would stop what I was doing, take a breath and choose again.  If I resumed the task and found that I was still struggling, I took a short break, physically getting out of my own way.  Eventually, I noticed that I was always looking for the easiest way to get something done and if something was too hard, I assumed I had taken the wrong path and chose again.

I am so grateful for these early forecasts of what was to come.  Now, I understand that we have ended The Age of Darkness where we accepted government corruption, patriarchal domination, perpetual war, world hunger and slavery of all kinds as a way of life.  Locked into a 3rd dimensional world of duality, we have all been leading fear-based lives.  Scientists have told us that we have only been using 5-10% of the potential of the brain – we’ve allowed our negative thinking to terrorize and control us.  We have given our power away.  We either drag our past along with us as a justification of why our life can’t work out or project into the future hoping everything will be different while fearing that it will be just the same.  The day-to-day struggle for survival has disconnected us from remembering who we really are, from our true identities.

As energy beings, we create our reality from the vibrational frequency we maintain.  This vibrational frequency comes from the thoughts, words, actions and feelings we choose, as well as the quality of the energy stored in our chakras or energy centers.  The quality of this energy attracts matching energy – so many of us keep attracting more situations and relationships that disappoint or hurt us.  The more we accept that this is the way life is the more this will continue.

But now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to rise up or ascend from this 3rd dimensional world of suffering and struggle to the 5th dimension world of joy and ease.

We cannot be in the past or the future in the 5th dimension, because the only time that exists there is present time.  That means to create everything you have ever wanted for yourself you only have to be 100% aligned with it for it to manifest.

How do we take advantage of this opportunity, this invitation to ascend?  It’s very simple.  You are ready to ascend to the next dimension, which means to the next level of reality, when you are done with living a fear-based life, living in linear time, and in a world based on duality (right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t).  When you are truly done with this, you stop siphoning off the energy, provided for you to be happy in the present, into the past or future, and you recognize that all you need is provided in the present moment.  This requires releasing attachment to “your story,” your wounds, your resentments, your out-dated beliefs, your false identity, and as a result you lighten up your energy field in readiness for your ascension.

Many of you reading this have been preparing for December 21st 2102, just as we have.  For many others, you have not been aware of this opportunity or not making it a priority to do your work.  However, it is not too late…

December 21st in the year 2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar and has been predicted by many to be the end of the world.  It is the end of the world, as we have known it, – the end of life in the 3rd dimension for as many who are ready to embrace the shift.  Karen and I work with 20 Ascended Masters who are as committed as we are to supporting those who are ready into the new dimension.  To this end, our 12/21 Winter Solstice event, https://www.whattrulymatters.com/winter-solstice

Is designed to support all participants in making peace with their past, releasing all attachment to suffering and struggle and being ushered into the next dimension.  All you need is your willingness to let go of what no longer serves you!

As a final word, it must be said, all of us who incarnated at this time came with a commitment to be a part of this shift on Earth.  Many have decided that it’s too hard or have gotten distracted.  Will you keep your commitment?  It’s going to be a long wait for the next opportunity to come along…

Love and blessings,

Aimée Lyndon-Adams
www.whattrulymatters.com
aimee@whattrulymatters.com

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